On the first U.S. tour date of his first solo tour in 24 years, Roger Daltrey did something he’d never done before. He covered a Pearl Jam song.
The song was “Better Man” and it’s debatable whether it was a cover, considering Eddie Vedder appeared onstage sporting a smile as big as a kid who had found hidden Christmas presents. He polished off the final two verses for Daltrey before the two rock icons traded lines during Quadrophenia’s “The Real Me.” Both men had Cheshire grins and seemed to be living in the moment of sharing the stage together. It was a sight that would have melted the heart of even the snarkiest music blogger.
The cameo by Pearl Jam's Vedder, whose band is known to break out a mean The Who cover every now and then, was one of many highlights of Daltrey’s two-hour set. Throughout the night he showed that while his vocal register may be showing signs of age, The Who’s songs are timeless.
The set opened with an almost acoustic rendition of “Who Are You,” followed by “It’s Hard” and “Going Mobile,” which saw Simon Townshend’s (Pete’s brother) wah-wah pedal get heavy use. “Squeezbox,” “Baba O’Riley,” “I Can See For Miles,” and other Who hits and non-hits (“Tattoo,” “Young Man Blues”) were sprinkled throughout the night, but it didn’t feel like a greatest hits concert. The evening felt like an intimate, amped-down Who club gig that provided the opportunity to get up close and personal with a legend.
No, Daltrey’s pipes aren’t as powerful as they were in the heyday of The Who, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that the music sounded great, Daltrey was enjoying himself and the fans loved every second of it. The night ended with Daltrey playing a medley of Johnny Cash songs and “Bargain,” during which Vedder came back to lend an assist with both his voice and smile.
Here's a clip of Vedder joining Daltrey for "Bargain," shot by YouTube user jthorpe74.
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