The Who

The Blues to the Bush

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To many Who fans, the band was never the same after original drummer Keith Moon's death in 1978. After trying to fill the vacancy with ex-Faces drummer Kenney Jones didn't work out, the band called it a day in 1982. But during their Quadrophenia tour of 1996, the Who found a drummer that finally filled Moon's void properly -- Zak Starkey (son of Ringo Starr). While not as flashy as Moon, Starkey is more solid and powerful, as proven by his playing on the Who's 2000 live album, The Blues to the Bush, only available through the website Musicmaker.com. Recorded during four shows during late 1999 (the House of Blues in Chicago and the Empire Theatre in Shepherds Bush), the compilation mixes favorites with obscure material. While original Who members Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, and John Entwistle may be getting up there in the age department, the band (with longtime keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick in tow) hasn't sounded this vibrant and energetic in ages. While the double-CD's 20 tracks are all outstanding, the album-closing rendition of "My Generation" is an absolute must-hear -- few bands of the era can sound as fierce and vicious as the Who does here. You can't miss with great renditions of Who standards such as "I Can't Explain," "Pinball Wizard," "Baba O'Riley," "You Better You Bet," "Who Are You," "5:15," and "Won't Get Fooled Again," but lesser-known tracks like "Pure & Easy," "Getting in Tune," and "The Real Me" shine brilliantly as well. The Blues to the Bush shows that the Who's late-1999/2000 reunion wasn't just going through the motions -- they had something to prove.

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