Concert Review: Who Are You (The Music of The Who) @ The Linda 05/20/2023


Who Are You, a Who tribute band, blazed through an exciting 2 hour set before a decent-sized and appreciative crowd at The Linda Saturday night.

My biggest takeaway from what was a most enjoyable night was just how many great songs Pete Townshend has written. From classic rock standards to power pop nuggets to hard rock anthems to quasi-operatic ballads, Pete has done it all. Testament to his genius was the fact that WAY played 23 of his compositions, both hits and deep cuts, and you could have quite happily provided another set of equal length of notable Who songs that they didn’t play.

Like The Who, WAY set up with the classic/basic lineup of vocals, guitar, bass and drums, keyboard and brass parts were on tape and synced perfectly to the live musicians. This, too, echoed the band that they were paying tribute to; it wasn’t until later in their career that The Who started to incorporate additional session musicians into their live performances.

Handling vocals was Carl Dixon, described in their promotional material as “from The Guess Who.” This puzzled me at first as I knew of Dixon as the lead vocalist for the unheralded but very cool Canadian hard rock band Coney Hatch. After researching, I found that Dixon did indeed dep for a version of The Guess Who from the late 90s to 2008. This gig was brought to an abrupt end by a horrifying car crash that left Dixon in a coma and near death. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. Dixon recovered, and as well as continuing his musical career also tours as a motivational speaker. He was excellent throughout, wisely not trying to emulate Daltrey but confidently and powerfully singing these classics in his own voice. Not many singers can pull off the epic ballad “Love Reign O’er Me.” Ann Wilson of Heart is one. Carl Dixon is another.

Playing the “part” of Townshend was Garrett Lechowski. Kudos to him as he played the gig “sick as a dog,” as Dixon informed us, suffering from a cold and sore throat. This limited him vocally (he asked the audience to help him out in the “Don’t cry, don’t raise your eye“ part in “Baba O’Riley,” and we cheerfully obliged) but not his guitar playing, which was sharp-edged and on point. He also effectively windmilled his power chords for all he was worth and even broke out Pete’s goofy “airplane” dance move at times.

Playing bass, Brian Burd excelled at navigating the twists and turns of John Entwistle’s lines. “The Ox,” as he was known, was far from your average bassist, his fluid parts holding the whole band together and almost playing lead at times, dovetailing and weaving with Townshend’s slashing rhythmic attack. Burd and Lechowski proved they had a similar telepathic relationship with an electric version of “Sparks,” the rifftastic instrumental from “Tommy.”  

There was only one Keith Moon, a true original, as a drummer and as a personality. Like Dixon with Daltrey, John Kiernan avoided mimicking “Moon the Loon” but instead kept things moving and grooving with strong timing and a minimum of flash. There was an amusing moment in the set closer “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Towards the end of the song, the iconic synthesizer motif re-appears, as the band drops out, waiting for the famous fusillade of drums to bring in the big finish. Lechowski urged the crowd to clap along but came in hopelessly off the beat, which the crowd then dutifully echoed. Waiting for his big moment, trying to count it in whilst the crowd butchered the timing, Kiernan glowered at the guitarist, then turned to Burd, and they both cracked up. Kiernan then blazed into the drum fills perfectly, Dixon emitted that classic scream, and the two hours had flown by.

Somewhat off-brand, the encore was “American Woman,” a nod to Dixon’s time in The Guess Who, but still a song by The Guess Who, not The Who, by Who Are You, who were supposed to be playing the music of The Who, er, if you get my drift…

All in all, a fine evening’s entertainment. I’d call that a Bargain.

Set List:

  • Can’t Explain
  • The Seeker
  • I Can See for Miles
  • Baba O’Riley
  • Bargain
  • Getting In Tune
  • I Am the Sea (intro)
  • The Real Me
  • Eminence Front
  • Behind Blue Eyes
  • The Kids Are Alright
  • You Better You Bet
  • Pinball Wizard
  • Amazing Journey
  • Sparks
  • See Me Feel me
  • Who Are You
  • I’m One
  • 5.15
  • Sea and Sand
  • Love Reign O’er Me
  • My Generation
  • See Me Feel Me (Reprise)
  • Naked Eye (excerpt)
  • Shakin’ All Over
  • Won’t Get Fooled Again


  • American Woman
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