In case you haven’t heard, to tide over The Who’s Roger Daltrey taste for performing while Pete Townshend figures out what he can and cannot hear (WHAT?!) Daltrey has been going on tour performing The Who’s ‘Tommy’. From what I understand, it is a performance of the album with a different band, performed completely in its entirety and in sequence, which reportedly The Who never actually did. Okay. There’s also some ‘new interpretations’ of old Who standards. Hmmm…
The tour started off as Daltrey performing the act for the Teeange Cancer Trust in March at the Royal Albert Hall, which turned into a European tour.
Earlier this morning it was announced that Daltrey and the band are taking the tour across the pond to America. Dates were announced this morning, and sure enough, Cedar Park (which is just north of Austin) is one of the venues. And I have mixed feelings.
If Pete were joining the crew, and it were a Who show (not strictly ‘Tommy’) I would be all over it! This would finally be my moment! The Who! It’s as close as I’ll ever get to the real thing. But something about only ‘Tommy’ and no Townshend makes me weary and kind of unenthusiastic. To be honest, I love ‘Tommy’. I think the story is rich and odd and beautiful, I think the music is fantastic, catchy and emotional, but ’Tommy’ didn’t change me like ‘Who’s Next’. That album, without a doubt, was INCREDIBLY influential on me. I went through break-ups to “The Song is Over” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, felt empowerd by “Baba O’Reily”, learned to play “Behind Blue Eyes” on a borrowed guitar (mostly by ear), had standards for love thanks to “Bargain”…and could go on forever about that album. If Daltrey were performing ‘Who’s Next’ in its entirety, I might feel more motivation to go.
But something feels…not Who-ish. And it has never ceased to fascinate me how Townshend can take a song originally released with Daltrey singing and remake it with his own voice and completely change the song. Townshend wrote almost all of the Who music and most recently said he wished he had never been part of a band, since I guess he does not “play well with others”, and only been a solo artist (Ouch, baby, waaayy ouch). He is very territorial with his music, very controlling, but he creates some absolutely beautiful and timeless melodies. I guess I’ve been thinking about Townshend recently as his memoirs are actually in the works (it’s about damn time) and my chances of seeing him perform live are straining more and more due to that hearing loss issue (seriously, WHAT?!? or in a British accent WHA?!).
I think that would be a big regret of mine (such a simple life, I know) that I didn’t go see The Who when they toured this last time, like in 2002. I still have hopes of someday shaking hands with Townshend, even if it were on accident, like if we were both in a highend clothing store (I would not be buying anything, of course) and he needed a nice, expensive shirt, and I was handing it to him and his hand brushed mine. Good enough.
Back to Daltrey’s tour:
Also, as a surprise show, Daltrey played on the Queen Mary 2–but he sang Johnny Cash and Hank Williams songs for the surprised crowd. *sigh* I honestly cannot decide if that is cool (which it is) or kind of sad (which it is).
All I know is that sometimes I think the whole better to burn out than fade away is an excellent way of becoming a legend. Not that he should die out in a blaze of glory, but perhaps not over-exposing himself as much.
But here is my bottomline: If someone loves ‘Tommy’, and it changed their life, and it defined them in the way that only music does, then what an opportunity! Or if you love the musical minus all the actors, then there you go! If ‘Tommy’ is your thing, then I see this as a great performance. But ‘Tommy’ ain’t me. And Daltrey is not my favorite Whooligan– Pete Townshend is. And I love their raw rock, their punk attitute (before punk), the way they pushed the envelope with their noise and sound, their mod rock music and how they defined a generation and a sound. Love it.
But you probably won’t find me in Cedar Park on October 11th–I’ll be auditioning band members for my Who cover band — “The Whom”!