The Who Edinburgh Castle review: Rock legends The Who hail Edinburgh Castle shows amongst ‘greatest’ of career

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Veteran band The Who put on a masterclass at Edinburgh Castle concerts

They came. They saw. They conquered the Castle. Twice.

The weekend’s Edinburgh gigs by legendary rock band The Who were always going to be that little bit special – and so it proved as Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and band delivered a musical masterclass. And it wasn’t just profoundly satisfying for the fans, as the beanie-hatted Townshend told the crowd on Sunday night that the band’s double-header at the famous Castle Esplanade – their first gigs in the city for over 40 years – were up there with the greatest of their entire career.

Joined by the Heart of England Philharmonic Orchestra, new life was breathed into the classic rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia, but the real highlights came during the band-only section of the gig when the veteran rockers knocked out blistering renditions of The Kids Are Alright, You Better You Bet, Cry If You Want, Behind Blue Eyes, and, of course, My Generation.

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Legendary rock band The Who played two memorable gigs at Edinburgh Castle at the weekend.Legendary rock band The Who played two memorable gigs at Edinburgh Castle at the weekend.
Legendary rock band The Who played two memorable gigs at Edinburgh Castle at the weekend.

All the hallmarks of a band who are undoubtedly amongst the all-time greats were present and correct. Daltrey, at 79 years young, still has an incredible voice, and when the eagerly-awaited scream in Won't Get Fooled Again arrived, the crowd went berserk. At 78, Townshend remains one of rock music's most dynamic performers, weaving the occasional windmill arm gesture into the mix. He also took time out to praise the venue as a “great use of space” and mentioned that earlier in the day he’d enjoyed a spot of people watching from his hotel room window, saying the people of Edinburgh looked “like a very nice bunch”.

All told, this was a majestic performance from The Who, and it would be remiss not to save the last words for the bright yellow-clad Zak Starkey, who was a driving force from start to finish on drums. He may have resembled a giant banana, but Ringo Starr's son can play.

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