The Who brought their 50th anniversary tour to a very familiar site Thursday: New York City’s Madison Square Garden, where the band has performed 30 times before.

The British rock legends delivered an inspired show that covered most eras of their half-century career, and included mini-sets devoted to their classic rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia.

Before the band hit the stage, The Who and Madison Square Garden paid tribute to the late David Bowie in a message displayed on the video screens throughout the venue.

The note, which also featured a couple of photos of the influential singer, read, “David Bowie. Friend of The Who. Son of New York. Tonight we will distinctly miss David Bowie, longtime fan of The Who. He’s told the story of how he climbed the fence at London’s Roundhouse to sneak backstage and give Pete Townshend a copy of his new 1969 album, David Bowie. He covered ‘I Can’t Explain’ and ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’ on his Pin Ups album.”

The message also points that Bowie would attend events at Madison Square Garden nearly every year and would sit “in the first row right beside the stage.” The tribute concluded by saying, “We’ll miss our friend, a true icon of music and art, and a brilliant innovator.”

You can check out last night’s set list and a fan-recorded video of The Who’ performance of the Quadrophenia instrumental “The Rock” at the band’s official Facebook page.


In other news, The Who were the musical guests  on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, on Friday night.  The visit marked the first time that the group has given a full-band performance on a U.S. nighttime talk show since their historic 1967 appearance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

You can see their Jimmy Fallon performance tonight in Australia on ABC2.

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