“…so for us, it was a very difficult time indeed. This song kind of sums it up, really quite well. Tonight, I’m going to dedicate this song to Rex Tillerson.” Roger Daltrey’s intro to “Another Trick Day”, performing before a relatively intimate crowd at the Bob Hope Theatre in Stockton on Tuesday night, given that he is the front man for one of the bands most anyone would name as one of the greatest of all time. This was my first time seeing any incarnation of The Who live on stage, and I was struck by how much Daltrey seemed to enjoy it himself. A born performer with boundless energy and enthusiasm, he is also a storyteller, giving background, stories, contest and inspiration behind the music that he and The Who Band played for the crowd. And that crowd… one of the best ones I’ve stood among in some time, looking around, it would seem to almost be a religious experience for a lot of the people who turned out for the show.
“Right now we’re going to do one that we haven’t done probably in about ten years… it’s a fan favorite. It’s not necessarily a happy song…” James “J.Y.” Young of Styx, leading into their controversial 1981 song “Snowblind”, which was claimed to have been “Satanistic” by some anti-rock activists at the time (as well as claiming that it was one of the songs that contained hidden messages – only heard if played backwards!). Styx has recorded and performed music now for over four decades (with some break-ups along the way), and given the energy and enthusiasm coming from the stage at Bob Hope Theatre in Stockton on Sunday night, it is quite amazing how well the band has endured over the years as they continue to bring their unique style of music to fans, old and new. Judging by their interactions while on stage, they seem like they really enjoy working and playing together these days, which is very rare in the music world. Playing “an evening with…” style of show with no supporting or opening artists, they split their own set in two (with a short intermission) and played a solid 90 minutes of not only their own songs but some surprise covers and tributes as well. An excellent show and the kind of band worth seeing again and again, as they seem to have unique elements to their concerts to keep things fresh and exciting. An earnest and authentic group of guys, there was no pretense or arrogance… they seemed to acknowledge that their legacy is locked within those songs and albums and were eager to celebrate their music with the sold out crowd.