Friday night is the big concert of the week: The Who with special guests, The Pretenders. I'm a huge Who fan - have been for years. (I regularly lurk about the alt.music.who site). This will be their 9th show in our fair city. Saw them in '89, 2000, & 2002. (Here's a gig guide list of their Dallas shows with details such as setlists, local paper reviews, copies of ticket stubs & fan reports - very neat.) I'm excited that I'll be there for another great evening of rock and roll.
I'm particularly excited that they're touring with new material. My brother won't be happy about this. He'll protest a little too loudly for our comfort. "Stick to the classics. Yawn!" Then he'll look our way for a nod or some sort of approval. And he won't get any. You see, I prefer my favorite artists to sport new material when they come to visit. They don't need an album or single to be for sale. They just need to play the new stuff along with the classics.
One of the highlights for me of the 2002 show at American Airlines Center was the end of "My Generation" when they played a potent snippet of the Thunderfingers homage "Old Red Wine". It rocked more than any other part of the evening. (Roger complained about his voice being dry - but he always delivers.)
Pete's a contemporary of my father-in-law. And I suppose you could call him a sage. But he's a lot more accessible than Dylan. He's every bit as inspired as he was in the late 60's. I have been reading his website since at least 2000. I keep going back - I suppose to keep up with him - thrilled that such a rock legend would bother with such an immediate type of communication. Last year he used a blogspot.com blog to post a serial called "The Boy Who Heard Music". I was so excited that he was posting chapters & seeking input from fans. I didn't understand the serial but I posted a comment - nothing particularly helpful to him, I'm sure - just another "good on ya" like many others who posted. Certainly it wasn't anything helpful input-wise. But Pete managed to use the serial to crank out the mini-opera Wire And Glass. And now it's very pleasing to have the new Who album out as well. I hope it leads to more creative product from them on a regular basis.
He's one of my favorite rockers - he's always a sharp, literate interviewee. He isn't afraid to voice unpopular opinions. He's honest. He can be arty & difficult, cranky and cantankerous. But occasionally he's very sweet and reveals so much of his process with readers. (I hope to hear "How Can I Help You, Sir" on a B-side or something soon!) It's oddly reassuring to see him piddle about procrastinating at his studio. And it's refreshing to see him genuinely excited about his craft.
I'll let my brother make his impatient remarks about new Who songs. I do have fond memories of him driving us both to Sunday mass - listening to "Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy" on cassette. His clunky '76 Mercury Monarch seemed a heckuva lot cooler while listening to "I Can See For Miles" and crossing the Dallas County line over the railroad tracks. Knowing that "Pinball Wizard" awaited us after church made it easier to sit through the homily. And I couldn't wait to get my own driver's license.
Last night they played Denver. Hope Roger gets to rest his voice tonight & tomorrow!
Photos of "Pete Leap" & "Birdman" courtesy of photographer William Snyder. Found in the News section of PeteTownshend.com. It's from the show they just did Indian Wells, CA.