Roger Daltrey, lead singer for the Who, made a stop at Denver’s Paramount Theatre on Tuesday as part of his “Use It or Lose It” tour. The rock legend performed for a slightly-less-than full house, and those who could (and should) have been there missed a gem of a show.
While the 65-year-old’s voice has lost its ability to hit the highest notes of its former range, Daltrey’s signature passion and energy has not subsided. Where Who shows are defined by their raw power, Daltrey’s shows thrive on personal interaction with the audience and self-effacing humor.
Before launching into “A Second Out,” Daltrey told a story of Pete Townshend coming to him and saying he was tired of writing songs, and that Daltrey should start contributing more. When Daltrey came to Townshend with “A Second Out,” Townshend said “It’s crap” — or at least that’s the way Daltrey tells the story.
Daltrey greeted the audience and told them he had crafted his set list out of personal favorites from the Who’s expansive catalog. The audience was treated to classics, along with some deep and obscure cuts, including “Pictures of Lily,” which came just after the show’s opener, the Who’s 1978 hit “Who Are You.”
Daltrey spent a good amount of time engaging the audience between songs, talking about the Who and explaining early on that his voice was struggling to get back on track after a day off following his tour stop in San Diego, Calif. A funny moment came when a roadie walked on stage with a scarf for Daltrey after he struggled with a high note in the third song, “Behind Blue Eyes.” The audience was quick and eager to support Daltrey on the Who classic.
Daltrey also included a Johnny Cash song on his set list. According to a video on the Who’s website, Daltrey typically warms up in bathrooms prior to taking the stage by singing Johnny Cash songs (a habit that dates back to the earliest days of the Who, Daltrey said on the video).
On an interesting side note, Pete Townshend’s brother Simon is playing lead guitar on Daltrey’s tour. — Mark Osler
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Mark Osler is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Denver photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. See more of his work here.