on Thursday night at Allstate Arena. (Tom Cruze/Sun-Times)
Before the Who's encore Thursday night, singer Roger Daltrey pointed out that the band had played Chicago on the original "Quadrophenia" tour exactly 39 years ago. Pete Townshend seemed skeptical of Daltrey's facts -- "Who told you that?" he asked -- but Daltrey's right: Nov. 29, 1973, also a Thursday, the Who played the International Amphitheatre on South Halsted.
Back then, as Townshend explains in his new memoir, Who I Am, "Quadrophenia" -- the Who's second rock opera, less known but worlds better than "Tommy" -- had been born as a desperate attempt to revitalize the faltering band. "My idea was to take the band back to our roots," he writes. "I was also looking for a way to stroke four eccentric egos, generate a sense of optimism and rally us."
But in 2012, with two of those eccentric egos now long gone, a new "Quadrophenia" tour is less rallying cry than last-ditch effort.