The band are in fine form at the Hollywood Bowl - and there's a few words for the recently deceased John Entwistle...

THE WHO made a triumphant return to the stage last night, despite the absence of founding member JOHN ENTWISTLE, who passed away last week on the eve of the band’s US tour.

Joined by replacement bassist Pino Palladino, whose previous experience includes work with both Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, the combo performed to a sold out crowd of 18,000 on the tour opener at the Hollywood Bowl.

Following a three-song introduction kicked off by ‘I Can’t Explain’, Daltrey was the first to pay tribute to their departed band member saying: “Tonight we play for John Entwistle. He’s the true spirit of rock ‘n’ roll and he lives on in all the music we play.” Guitarist Pete Townshend managed to keep a hold on his emotions at the start, but later appeared choked up before performing their seventh song of the night, ‘Bargain’.

“Listen,” he said, “We know for some of the fans that have followed us many years, this is going to be very difficult – a friend of mine in the front row just disappeared for five minutes and I thought ‘Awww!’ This is difficult. Even without that huge sonic noise that comes from that [stage right] side of the stage it’s sounding pretty good tonight.”

The group, which included Townshend’s brother Simon and drummer Zak Starkey, were well polished during their 17-song set and two-song encore. Their set list was largely made up of hits including ‘Pinball Wizard’, ‘Behind Blue Eyes’, ‘My Generation’, ‘The Kids Are Alright’, ‘Another Tricky Day’, and ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’.