The Who honored in Los Angeles

July 13, 2008 6:46:17 PM PDT
The Who was celebrated at a special concert by a few bands outside of their generation.

The legendary band was honored at the Saturday taping of the third annual "VH1 Rock Honors," which will air Thursday on the cable channel. Celebrity guests such as David Duchovny, Mila Kunis, Rainn Wilson and Adam Sandler introduced The Flaming Lips, Foo Fighters, Incubus, Tenacious D and Pearl Jam, who covered songs from such Who albums as "Tommy," "The Who Sell Out" and "Quadrophenia."

Who guitarist Pete Townshend and lead singer Roger Daltrey closed the special concert at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion with a performance of some of the band's greatest hits. Original drummer Keith Moon died in London in 1978. Original bassist John Entwistle died in Las Vegas in 2002. Moon and Entwistle were remembered in pre-taped retrospectives during the over two-hour show.

"I have had a life of absolute privilege and wonder," Daltrey told AP Television News on the red carpet before the concert. "How could it ever be bittersweet? I miss old friends, but they are with me. When we start playing our music, John (Entwistle) and Keith (Moon) echo with us all the time, so it's kind of like they never left."

"The Office" funnyman Wilson, dressed as Elton John's character Local Lad from "Tommy," introduced The Flaming Lips, who performed a medley of songs from The Who's legendary 1969 rock opera. Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne began the "Tommy" set inside of a giant plastic bubble that traveled over the first few rows of the audience.

"It's an honor to honor what I consider to be the greatest band of all time," actor and Tenacious D lead singer Jack Black told the crowd before acoustically performing "Squeeze Box" with musical partner Kyle Gass. "Wanna know why they were the greatest? Because they were the first ones to really rock hard."

Sean Penn introduced Pearl Jam, who were joined for "Love Reign O'er Me" with an orchestra and "The Real Me" with horn players. Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder and lead guitarist Mike McCready respectively paid homage to The Who's penchant for destroying instruments by throwing a microphone into the audience and a guitar up in the air.

"We know that we're all here tonight because The Who never did sell out, unlike certain music channels," Penn told the crowd.

The Who wowed the packed audience with such tunes as "Teenage Wasteland," "The Seeker," "My Generation," "Two Thousand Years," "Batman" and "Who Are You." Townshend stopped the band in the middle of performing "Won't Get Fooled Again" because of an issue with his speaker and later started the song over from the beginning. Daltrey and Townshend closed the show with "Tea and Theatre."