Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pete Townshend Needs Better Fitting Trousers

If you follow the blog I co-run with my sister, you know what kind of crazy-busy life I've been living these last two weeks. We'll be talking about some of the highlights soon enough, but I need to fangirl about something first.

I'll just be clear: we went to see The Who two days ago, and I'm having PCD (post-concert depression). I really enjoyed going to a show where I could inhale and exhale properly, had a somewhat normal pulse rate, and didn't feel the rabid need to scream; it was refreshing, actually, and I still have a voice after the experience. I also felt like I could look around a bit, and try to drink in the whole experience -- only occasionally, mind, because I was mesmerized by Pete Townshend's guitars. People have been arguing for heaven knows how long that Pete can't play, but I figure that those people have never actually seen him do so. All he had to do was fold his hands over the neck, and he was off in his own little world.

It was also good to see that Pete and Roger were still having fun up on stage; they looked like there wasn't anywhere else they would rather have been, and that made it all the more fun for the audience. Speaking of Roger, I think he was there, but, like I just told you, I was busy watching guitar playing, and windmilling, and leg wiggling, and shirts that were too short, and trousers that were too big, and pedals, and sheet music with little notes in the margins, and little cups of tea on double-stacked amps, and turning tuning pegs while playing, and messing with volume checks and distortion knobs, and spitting picks off the stage. I think I'm trying to say I didn't pay too much attention to Roger Daltrey. Oops. And Zak Starkey "got sick", so we had to make do with a replacement; I was reminded of the Barry Williams incident, and was quite peeved. I suppose that just allowed more time for windmill-watching, so I suppose it ended up better for me. I guess it's a good thing there are some fan pictures online.

The energy in the crowd was little to nothing, which was surprising. I'm more used to shows where people are either weeping/hyperventilating, or you know they are going to weep/hyperventilate sometime during the show and you know you will probably join them. This crowd, though, was the most sedate I can remember seeing. There wasn't any electricity in the air until the band made it themselves. Despite a crowd full of drowsy wrinklies, it was an amazing and historical experience, and I'm glad I was able to go. If you can go see them, do it, because it was a great deal of fun. That, and "Baba O'Riley" is amazing live. And Roger can still kill "Love Reign O'er Me".

The show did have an opening act; Vintage Trouble tried their darndest to get those new hip replacements going, but it didn't do much good. I don't suppose it helped the zoned out audience to be out past their bedtime by playing mellow pre-show music. That, and some of them were drunk before they even showed up; mix that with their prescription medications, and it's a recipe for disaster. Have I mentioned that most of the audience was somewhat old? And that's with my definition of old, not just their number age; they behaved like ancient grandparents whose laps you aren't allowed to sit on when you visit them, but the wizened one makes you, and their legs are too bony, so you feel unsafe being there. They may as well have pulled out the Evening Standard and their slippers, and settled in for a quiet evening with Amos & Andy. Going back to Vintage Trouble, though, they're an alright little group. The only thing I would say about them is that, for the kind of sound they're trying to emulate, they need to realize that distortion and reverb have their place, and I don't think that's it; have they never listened to the Lost Lennon Tapes? I'm always reminded of a quote from Lady Catherine de Bourgh in Pride and Prejudice when I start talking about these kinds of things, because I don't play music: "What is it you are talking of? [...] Of music! Then pray speak aloud. It is of all subjects my delight. I must have my share in the conversation, if you are speaking of music. There are few people in England, I suppose, who have more true enjoyment of music than myself, or a better natural taste. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient". I do listen intently to music, though, and to the artists, and to the artists' theories, so I feel I have a semi-informed opinion. In that vein, they're opening for The Who, and I'm out in the crowd, so what do I know?



One of the best parts of the show was the venue; BOK Center is where I saw Paul back in 2009, and it was just as wonderful a place to see The Who. We could see the seats we saw Paul in from the seats we watched The Who from. It was pretty cool.
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Paul seats from The Who seats.

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Hey! It's Paul! This is the gig where I screamed so hard, I started hacking up blood.

Fun connected story time. When we saw Paul, after we had gotten to our seats and freaked out about them, I noticed that some folks had giant soft pretzels.
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I thought about getting one, but there is no possible way I can eat directly after limo watch, and immediately before a three hour gig. It just ain't happenin'. This time around, I was bound and determined to get a damn pretzel. So, I did.
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It all came full circle. Well, full pretzel, anyway. This story sounded better in my head.


The pre-show music inside the arena may have been boring, but what they were playing outside the venue was lively. As the queue started to stretch around the building, and around the next block, someone was blaring great music; I know I heard Donovan, and Steeler's Wheel, amongst other great things. Somewhere in the mix, someone decided there wasn't enough pop punk, so they put on "All The Small Things". Is this becoming a trend now? To put that song on before a gig? It's played before every gig I've gone to for ages now (not Paul's, 'cause he's too busy playing "Temporary Secretary" remixes [why, Paulie-Pants?]). I'm not complaining about it, merely pointing it out. Regardless, I got some weird looks from the grandpa in front of us in the line when I started humming the na-na-na's. Well, pardon me for not hobbling in on my zimmer frame, sir. I'll be he fell asleep before the encore.
The next day, on our way back home, we stopped off at an antique shop, just for the hell of it. The older lady that ran the place was, as one might say, talkative. She asked all about our business, and we answered her politely. The fated question came from Antique Shop Sally: "what concert did you go to, sweetie?"
"We went to see The Who," I told her, still excited about what we had done the night before. "The last time we were in Tulsa," I added, trying to seem friendly, "we saw Paul McCartney."
"You're too young to like them," she said in an overly imperious tone.
This is not the first time I have been told something similar, it's just never been said in such a forceful way before. There was a part of me that wanted to tell her, in a similar manner, that she was too old to dye her hair that dark shade of brown...
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Unfortunately, I know I have to be nice to people, rather than saying what immediately comes to my mind (yet I'm still an unpopular party guest). I told her that, just because I'm young, that doesn't mean I don't have taste. I can go see The Who, and hum Blink-182 in the line if I damn well want to. It's those kinds of small minded people that are holding back the promise of the future, and the reason that I really need to move long and far from the tri-state region. I'll bet she would have wet her britches if I had told her that the last time I was in her city, I saw the Plastic Ono Band.
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This was our view, but taken the night before our show.


So, that's my fangirlyness. A fantastic set from The Who:

I Am the Sea
The Real Me
Quadrophenia
Cut My Hair
The Punk and the Godfather
I'm One
The Dirty Jobs (Simon Townshend lead vocals)
Helpless Dancer
Is It in My Head?
I've Had Enough
5:15
Sea and Sand
Drowned
Bell Boy
Doctor Jimmy
The Rock
Love, Reign O'er Me (followed by band introductions)

Encore:
Who Are You
Behind Blue Eyes
Pinball Wizard
Baba O'Riley
Won't Get Fooled Again
Tea & Theatre (Roger & Pete acoustic)



...and a big vafanapoli to the old-not-aged folks I encountered along the way.

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