Wilko Johnson ft Roger Daltrey, gig review
02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Wednesday 26 February 2014
Given the Maximum R&B maxim of The Who when they emerged in the mid-sixties, their frontman’s alliance with the former guitarist of Dr Feelgood, the group who lit the punk fuse in the mid-seventies, is indeed "Going Back Home".
Co-written by Mick Green, the Johnny Kidd & the Pirates guitarist who was such an influence on both, the Feelgood classic is also the title track of their joint album and the first song they perform together at this one-off event.
Daltrey brings his own moody intensity with a superb take on ‘’Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?’’, finger-pointing to emphasise the “so righteous” lyric of the Bob Dylan composition that has been in the Johnson repertoire since 1981.
The Bush may be Daltrey’s old manor but he feels his way into the material penned by Johnson, a disciple of the Chuck Berry school of succinctness with gems like ‘‘Sneakin’ Suspicion’’.
Daltrey takes the odd peep at crib sheets by the monitors, and loses his way during ‘‘All Through The City’’.
No matter, they end with a triumphant version of The Who’s debut hit ‘’I Can’t Explain’’ and a vibrant reprise of ‘‘Keep It To Myself’’.
Diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer over a year ago, Johnson sounds as vital as ever. Long live rock as The Who’s Pete Townshend famously wrote in 1971.
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