Concert Review: The Who Delivered at The Who Hits Back Tour

Moody Center ATX, Austin, Texas

by Ruben Morales
Legendary rock band The Who rocked its way into Austin’s Moody Center , a newly christened state-of-the-art venue which now houses the Texas Longhorn men and women’s basketball teams. The venue just had its grand opening and is already hosting the biggest bands out there!

THE WHO HITS BACK! Tour brought the younger and older generations together in anticipation of watching a piece or rock and roll history come to town. As John Kim(32) from N.Y. and his
friend Arthur Balagula(31) , stated, “We started listening to The Who in middle school. As musicians they are a major inspiration. We wanted to see them in person one last time and experience their timeless music in an arena setting the way it was meant to be listened to.”

The Who photos by Deni for Austin 101 Magazine

The concert brought many classics, as well as songs from their most recent album, titled WHO. The timeless music and iconic Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey – the remaining performing founders of the Who brought their band and a 48-piece orchestra consisting of local musicians. That’s a feat as every tour date consists of local musicians alongside regulars; soloist on violin, Katie Jacoby, Audrey Snyder on cello, and Billy Nicholls on backing vocals. The orchestra was conducted by Keith Levenson.

At first site you might think you were in the wrong concert
until of course the overture begins and the lights create the atmosphere for The Who and has the Austin crowd stoked and ready for what can be described as a rock opera that will play out for 2 jam-packed hours.

See all our concert photos from The Who on Austin 101.

Most of the songs played up front are from the iconic Who album Tommy. “1921”, “It’s a Boy”, “Amazing Journey” to start, as Daltrey in classic form warmed his voice up with these classic tunes while swinging his microphone into the air on occasion. Townshend took the reins on “Eminence Front” , from the album It’s Hard released in 1982, and had the massive Austin crowd singing every word with him.

The Who photos by Austin 101 Magazine

The orchestra, after 11 songs, was dismissed for a break as the Who’s core band put on a classic rock show playing mega hits “The Seeker”, “You Better You Bet”, and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. It was pure rock ‘n roll energy all the way through with the crowd standing at attention and enjoyed every minute of it.

The band is filled with amazing musicians with legendary ties and consists of SIMON TOWNSHEND (yes, ye’s related and is the younger brother of Pete) on guitar and back-up vocals, keyboardist LOREN GOLD, second keyboardist EMILY MARSHALS, bassist JON BUTTON, and drummer ZAK STARKEY (son of Beatles legend Ringo Starr) .

Pete Townshend engaged with the audience to let them know how pleased The Who was to be back in Austin. Even at one point stating (jokingly) I think you could have done without Willie
Nelson! Which of course we couldn’t as he is our local hero and the crowd gave him back a combination of hisses and laughter. Pure Brit humor I’m sure.

The last leg of the set brought back the orchestra , and so began hits like “Behind Blue Eyes”, “The Real Me”, “I’m One”, “5:15”, “The Rock” (a perfect song to set up the huge upcoming finale). The giant screens displayed an array of The Who’s history including photos of original members Keith Moon and Jeff Entwistle- cataloging their entire journey up until now. Reminding us of their years of blood, sweat , and tears and moments in history that paralleled their music.

The set followed with “Love Reign O’er Me” where Daultrey was in his zone. Listening to him perform this song was as if listening to the song on vinyl for the very first time. The power Roger
packs in his voice kept the crowd wanting more. The final song of the set was the classic (there are so many from this iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band) was “Baba O’Riley” released in 1971. The perfect song to end this 2-hour journey in which Katy Jacoby set the violin on fire with Pete Townshend by her side strumming along and windmilling his guitar.

For music lovers and rock fans, the night in Austin will not be forgotten any time soon.

See all our concert photos from The Who on Austin 101.


With Orchestra:
It’s a Boy
Amazing Journey
Pinball Wizard
We’re Not Gonna Take It
Who Are You
Eminence Front
Ball and Chain
Join Together

Band Only:
The Seeker
You Better You Bet
Won’t Get Fooled Again

With Orchestra:
Behind Blue Eyes
The Real Me
I’m One
The Rock
Love, Reign O’er Me
Baba O’Riley

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