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VH1 Rock Honors: The Who

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“That was the toughest bunch of opening acts we’ve ever had to follow,” noted Roger Daltrey midway through the Who’s set on Saturday night at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. It can’t be easy having to follow your own best material, but they did so anyway, capping off a spectacular VH1 Rock Honors taping that began with heartfelt tributes from Incubus, Tenacious D, Foo Fighters, Flaming Lips and Pearl Jam.

The annual Rock Honors program has had mixed results with its pairings of legendary rock bands and the young upstarts they inspired. Last year’s set included the dubious pleasure of watching Nickelback play ZZ Top songs, to name but one unfortunate example. Some Who fans were skeptical that the crew of relative upstarts could deliver the goods in the same room as their idols. All of them have been professional entertainers for somewhere between ten and twenty-five years; but in rock, middle age is the new youth. While the Who more than held their own against their disciples, they did get a good run for their money.

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