‘Who’ takes Dome by storm


Courtesy Photo

Performing at the UNI-Dome in was “The Who” on Oct. 22, 1982. The original members include Pete Townshend (left) and Rodger Daltry (right).

NI Archives

Two days before tickets were to go one sale, the lawn in front of the UNI-Dome became the campground for expectant fans hoping to be the first in line to purchase tickets for the concert. This scene was re-enacted on Friday, Oct. 15, when for the first time and last time, the legendary rock group ‘The Who’ performed in the UNI-Dome. 

Most concert-goers were taken by surprise at the sight of the 40 foot high set which the Who was to perform in front of. Illuminated letters that spelled out “WHO” formed the proscenium of the stage and became part of the spectacular lighting effects throughout the concert.

By the time the opening act began to play, nearly 23,000 fans had crowded into the arena. “Novo Combo” served as a credible warm-up band for an audience that needed little to prepare them for the main attraction.

After a very irritating but necessary 40 minute delay for an equipment change, the crowd took to its feet as the lights of the Dome went down and The Who burst onto stage with a shattering rendition of “Substitute,” one of their early hits. Following right on its heels was another early song, “Can’t Explain.”

Unfortunately, the crowd seemed to be at times more content to sit and listen to the band unlike many of the “Who” concerts of previous years. 

Daltry seemed to re-vitalize the crowd on “Sister Disco” with the help of Pete Townsend, John Entwhistle, and Kenny Jones, and some rotating spotlights that searched the crowd and swept down over the stage. 

Almost as entertaining as the music were the classic and expected antics of the group. Though there were no guitars or drum sets smashed. Townsend managed to slip in quite a few of his standard windmills on the guitar and Dailty whipped the microphone through the air and feigned suicidal stabs to his heart with it. 

Stepping into the spotlight for a rare performance on guitar, was Daltry singing the title song from their latest album, “It’s Hard.”

The distinctive melodic strains followed by searching guitar and the frenzied drums of Kenny Jones, immediately brought a roaring response from the crowd. The audience took the bands lead, realizing that it was once again time to rock. Fans on the floor were a mass of swaying bodies and clapping hands. 

From “Blue Eyes,” the band moved deftly into a rebellious version of “Baba O’Riley.” Daltry defiantly reminded the crowd of the “teenage wastelands” reminiscent of the 60s and the earlier “Who” days. 

Perhaps the most refreshing selection of the evening was “My Generation.” The song, practically their theme song in fact, was reported to have been done at only a few stops on the current tours. This probably explains the remarkable energy the group injected into the number. 

Seemingly out of character for the group were two very low-key selections entitled “Tattooed” and “Cry If You Want To.” Though an unexpected and welcome surprise from the rockers, the crowd once again took to their seats for the duration of the two songs. 

The audience lull did not last long however as the band immediately changed gears and cranked out the famous namesake song, “Who Are You?” Featured on that selection were Townsend and Entwhistle harmonizing with the abrasive vocals of Daltry. 

Other highlights included selection from the rock opera “Tommy.” “Pinball Wizard” and “See Me/Feel Me” brought a long overdue hearty response from the crowd. 

Somehow, it seemed appropriate that the Who concluded the concert with “Long Live Rock” and “Won’t Be Fooled Again.”

Returning to the stage as a result of insistent fans, the “Who” started off a set of three songs with “Magic Bus” and then sailed into a an Eddie Cochran song, (Aint’ No Cure For The) Summertime Blues. 

Catching the crowd off guard, the Who concluded the encore with an early Beatles song, “Twist and Shout.” Townsend managed to rouse the audience once more with his “duck walk,” reminiscent of Chuck Berry, as Daltry relinquished the microphone and spotlight to Entwhistle. 

With the last concert tour of “The Who” comes the passing of an era. One group, the Beatles, went before them; one group still remains, the Rolling Stones. But as one fan put it, “The Stones can go to hell; there ain’t nobody like the Who.”