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In Pictures: The Who rock Belfast with Quadrophenia performance

By Michael Conaghan

Has there ever been a better time to see your rock 'n' roll heroes? Those who are still with us anyway. Chances are they're off the drugs, and modern technology means they sound as good as ever.

 

For it was a combination of those factors which stymied The Who's live presentation of Quadrophenia first time round, chiefly via an ailing Keith Moon and some faulty synthesiser tapes.

But the world has now caught up sufficiently for the 1973 album to be the centrepiece of The Who's current campaign.

What's missing of course, are two key chiefs of staff.

Fear not, Pino Paladino is well up to Entwistle's swooping bass, and a substitute standing in for an injured Zak Starkey temporarily inherited the mantle of being "the best Keith Moon-style drummer on the planet".

Even for those of us who know and love the album, the prospect of playing it in its entirety is problematic. It's the band's least well- known major work. How long before an impatient audience starts hollering for My Generation?

No chance – from the shattering opening chords of Can You See The Real Me, this was an overpowering experience.

We always knew Daltrey could sing, but the revelation was Townshend, whose newly acquired vocal gravitas added edge to ballads like I'm One and melded perfectly with Daltrey on a powerful Helpless Dancer.

Ghosts abounded. John Entwistle videoed in a bass solo during 5.15, and not to be undone, Moonie reprised his role as the put-upon Bellboy.

The impressive visuals often had Daltrey and Townshend interacting with their younger selves. But somehow that wasn't the point.

This was a night which celebrated the band as a living breathing entity, doing justice to their undoubted masterpiece.

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