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  • Teach These Devils

Blossom Music Center hosted a full house in perfect weather Sunday night as The Who singer Roger Daltrey performed the band’s classic 1969 album, Tommy, in its entirety, backed by our world-renown Cleveland Orchestra.

A mixed crowd of baby-boomers, music geeks and classical genre aficionados came together in great spirits for a night of nostalgia that was anything but old and tired. At 74, Daltrey is still buff and still belting….and still swinging that mic. Boomers got to experience the timelessness of Tommy, and The Who’s music in general. Music geeks got to see a conjoined performance between two groups of musicians regarded as the among the best in their field. Classical music fans got to see just how far outside their own genre an orchestra can go.

Photos: Kimberlee Vaughn

New orchestral arrangements for the rock opera, written by David Campbell (Beck’s father) refreshed the sound of classic songs like “Acid Queen” and “I’m Free”. A notable highlight was the haunting re-working of “Eyesight To The Blind” that featured the Cleveland Orchestra strings.

“Pinball Wizard” introduced guitarist Simon Townshend on vocals, filling in for his brother, Pete (no windmills, sorry, guys.). His voice emulates his brother’s enough, and by blood alone, he’s the proper replacement. The orchestra provided an extra layer of melody to the already full-layered track, and the energy in hills of Cuyahoga Falls reached its peak.

Who fans were treated to an encore that included “Who Are You?” and “Baba O’ Riley”, the former of which became almost a new song when the orchestral accompaniment gets added in, to the pleasure of the musicians and classical fans in the crowd. Everyone got what they came for.

And the man’s still got it. With the exception of a few missed notes and the fact that he actually had to work some to reach the more significant vocals, Roger Daltrey was spot-on He’s been Daltrey for so long he can do him in his sleep – a complete, all-around entertainer.  

“The exodus is here, The happy ones are near.

Let’s get together, before we get much older…”

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