John Entwistle died yesterday.

we saw 3/4 of the who back in 1996 when they performed “quadrophenia.” prior to that, we saw roger daltrey, s t r a i n i n g to hit a “razor line” at wolf trap. i never saw them all with keith moon, as i only got to see my first concert in 1980 (still the very best show ever, Brooooooce on The River tour, with a close second seeing Bruce front row, center, thanks to a charity auction, in 1999), so this is as close as i ever got to seeing the entire group together. my friend leifer got me completely hooked on the who when i was in high school. i still remember his altar to pete (which also became an altar to elvis costello, but that's another story.)

quadrophenia is one of my most favorite LPs. (you can tell i'm old; i still insist on calling albums LPs or records.) only an idiot (like my freshman year roommate) could not understand and appreciate pete townshend's total alienation and utter emotional bankuptcy in the work. (and when said roommate went with me to see the flic, she wouldn't talk to me for two days afterwards. no great loss.) this album is one of the few albums i put on when i want a really good wallow. joni mitchell is good for depression, but quadrophenia? a stark portrait of someone who really, really feels alone. it makes me realize that i surely do have a lot, in spite of what i sometimes might think.

anyway, seeing quadrophenia live was a trip. they trucked in real-life alleged pedophile gary glitter to be uncle ernie (how's that for type-casting?) and billy idol to be cousin kevin. each kept trying to upstage the other, which made for amusing yet sometimes sad moments. john was always so dignified, even when ancient roger's voice would crack or when pete was, well, glum old pete. i am merely glad that townshend hasn't tried to disney-fy this one like he did to Tommy. i thought the broadway version of Tommy was a travesty. all clean and pink and devoid of the scary, unpleasant, and basically sounding like Muzak had bought it and covered most of the album.

let's see: the who has lost its drummer and bass player. the beatles have lost their lead guitar and rhythm guitar. maybe we can put roger and pete together with paul and ringo (well, maybe ringo's son, zak, as he can actually play the drums and has toured with the who before…) just a thought. the aging be-whos.

damn. i better have some coffee soon.


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