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Despite Entwistle’s death, The Who returns to stage

By Larry McShane, The Associated Press
Saturday June 29, 2002

NEW YORK – The two surviving members of The Who decided Friday to resume their scheduled three-month U.S. tour despite the sudden death of bassist John Entwistle, their bandmate of nearly four decades. 

“The band decided to recommence the tour beginning at the Hollywood Bowl (a Monday night show),” according to a message posted on guitarist Pete Townshend’s Web site. 

The first show will serve as “a tribute to John Entwistle,” the band said in a separate statement. 

Pino Palladino, a British session player who has worked on Townshend’s solo projects, will fill in for Entwhistle, the Web site said. The band intends to complete the full tour, and will reschedule two dates postponed after the death. 

The band’s name will be the same, but it won’t be the same Who. 

Whenever the band took the stage, Roger Daltrey provided the sound and Townshend the fury. Off to the side, frozen except for the fingers flying across his fretboard, stood “The Ox” — Entwistle. 

Entwistle, a player of restraint in a band of excess, died Thursday of an apparent heart attack at a Las Vegas hotel. An autopsy was scheduled in Las Vegas to determine the exact cause of death, with the results of blood and lab tests expected to take two to 12 weeks, said Clark County Coroner Ron Flud. 

But Las Vegas authorities said there was no sign of trauma, no sign of violence and no drug paraphernalia in Entwistle’s hotel room. There was no word on funeral arrangements, and Entwistle’s family issued a call for privacy. 

Entwistle, who was on medication for a heart condition, was 57. Thirty-eight of those years were spent with The Who, which he co-founded as a London teen. 

Entwistle was “probably the most influential bassist in rock music,” said rock critic Bruce Eder of the All Music Guide. Total Guitar magazine named him as bassist of the millennium in 2000, selecting Entwistle over contemporaries Paul McCartney of the Beatles, Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. 

“The quietest man in private but the loudest onstage,” Wyman said of his late friend. “He was unique and irreplaceable.” 

Entwistle’s death came one day before the band was scheduled to open its tour in Las Vegas. That show was postponed, along with a second show set for Saturday night in Irvine, Calif. 

Fans in Las Vegas turned out at The Joint, the 1,800-seat theater where The Who had been scheduled to perform. The Who movie “Quadrophenia” was playing instead.