who’s at verizon? the who, that’s who

today’s my birthday (i’ll save that for another post). for my birthday, my husband got me gorgeous earrings and tix to see the who at verizon, which we dutifully attended last night. we had amazing seats, just to the side of the stage. would that they weren’t near a person with incredibly pungent B.O. as well as a gentleman who thought that if he kept his cigarette low that no one would notice the smoke (didn’t he learn anything from his days hiding from his parents in the bathroom with smokes? room spray doesn’t mask anything, dear. smoke is smoke.) but i digress. after all, i should be able to critique a show like my dear cousin, a former rock critic for the NY Times and peer of folks like Lester Bangs and Liliane Roxon, did. here goes.

i love the who. i have seen them when three of them were still around (performing quadrophenia, no less); i felt it my civic duty to see them while two of them were still kicking. (we’ve also seen roger daltrey sing with an orchestra at wolftrap. that moment probably inspired rod stewart to embark on the most recent part of his career. oh rod the mod, why, why, WHY?) anyway, they’ve a new LP they’re promoting, endless wire, the first album they’ve done in 24 years.

first of all, i *heart* zak starkey. there aren’t a lot of people who could take on keith moon in the drumming department (well, i suppose there are in the zany antics, car-driven-in-the-pool department). yet he doesn’t imitate moon. he really puts his own stamp on things. additionally, starkey truly controls the stage. (he probably learned to do that thanks to his gig with oasis. the gallagher brothers probably need a leash.)

i had an epiphany while watching him: the who is missing their drummer and bass player; the only remaining beatles are a bass player and a drummer. they ought to get together and make one insane band. then, i thought to meself: gee, maybe we could just let zak stand in for his dad — he’s a waaay better drummer. (and i adore ringo starr; i am merely talking about his technical ability, or lack thereof.)

anyway, the one HUGE irritant of the show: could somebody PLEASE make sure the keyboards are in tune with the rest of the band? i was nearly ready to brain myself — the keyboards in baba o’reilly, won’t get fooled again, etc — totally out of tune. and what was up with roger and his harmonica? it was like he was playing in a different key. you know, people are supposed to do more in a soundcheck besides talking to the dipshit teenager sitting in the front, guys.

most people groan when they have to listen to the new material from an artist’s album. i look at it as an opportunity to “try before you buy,” so to speak. so i was interested in hearing what they’d play. pete townshend, a man i have forgiven since he created the broadway musical tommy (which i thought was the worst, most disney-fied musical i ever saw, and i’ve seen some pretty awful ones) said that they waited to bring this album to us, the audience, for 24 years because it should have “it”. (whatever that means.) to be very honest, the material from wire and glass wasn’t bad; but it did sound like recycled musical motifs from other who works. i’ll have to give it another listen, but i figured, shit — after 24 years, THIS is what you pull out? i know pete townshend can write songs in his sleep (which he also noted on stage), but can he wake up and write some original stuff, as he has done on many of his excellent solo works? sheesh.

speaking of tommy, the highlight of the show, in my book, was the tommy medley of sorts. sure, they always pull out see me feel me/listening to you, but how often do you get to hear amazing journey and sparks live? it was thrilling, except for the out of tune instruments. yes, i am screaming for those of you who wondered.

you better you bet is a sentimental favorite of mine (when we were first married, i used to quote that when BS said he loves me i said “you better!” yeah. we’re america’s sweethearts, all right.) of course, you can tell two people are married for a long time when they both state the same thing simultaneously, and this moment was no different. roger was croaking the line:

but my body feels so good and i still sing a razor line everytime.

at the same time, right during the pause, BS and i screamed “no you don’t!” yep, statler and waldorf are alive and well and living in arlington. poor roger. he’s 60-something years old, and his voice simply doesn’t have the range it used to — and a lot of the who classics require an incredibly muscular voice. i wonder if zak can sing? (G-d help us all if he sings like his dad.)

anyway, it was fun to see the who. the assembly looked more like an AARP convention, but i guess that’s what happens when a band is around for over 40 years. still, i’d see them again if they’d bother to tune properly. cos who knows — there’s always the chance that pete might whack that whammy bar.

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5 Responses to “who’s at verizon? the who, that’s who”

  1. Happy Birthday!

  2. Happy birthday, man! I’m jealous that you got to see the Who. I

  3. thank you, thank you!

  4. Happy belated birthday! I haven’t been blogsurfing as much as I’d like, so apologies for not pinging you in a timely manner. Sounds like you had FUN!

  5. […] soundtrack. he was in pretty fine form. he tried a bit more than roger daltrey did when we saw the who back in march. his drum duet with chester was jaw-dropping, and i loathe extended drum solos. but […]

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