Sunday, November 19, 2006

We Got A Hit

Great night at the American Airlines Center with The Who &
special guests The Pretenders last Friday.

Pretenders came on at 7:32pm. Really glad to be on time for this. A lot
of concert-goers missed it - probably stuck in traffic or finishing up
their chicken wings. The chicken wings on the table would disappoint
Chrissie Hynde - I had forgotten that she's a vegetarian. She thanked
the crowd for stopping by the PETA tables in the lobby. And she teased
the meat-eaters in the crowd by flaunting her great body. (She looks
fantastic - like a strutting Madame Tussaud's version of herself
preserved from 1980.) They played an hour - Martin Chambers flailing
away behind plexiglass and their very able guitarist Adam Seymour &
youthful bassist Andy Hobson. Chrissie is sassy & sweet. After "My City
Was Gone" she recognized the guitarist for his searing solos. "Don't
you all wish that you wouldn't have hidden away your guitar in your
closet in favor of a workaday life? You could have lived this life!"
She reveled in that.

Approximation of their setlist:

Up The Neck (? - I'm forgetting a song in here somewhere - and the song
order's not exact either)
Message of Love
Don't Get Me Wrong
Day After Day
I'll Stand By You
My City Was Gone (Way to go, Ohio)
Back in the Chain Gang
Room Full of Mirrors

I would have liked an encore from them - they have so much material
from which to choose - but they played a solid, hour-long set. Any more
and it would've shortened The Who set. Needless to say - the Pretenders
were an inspired choice for an opening act. FAR better than Unamerican
were anyway. Anyone from Dallas remember that? What were they thinking
there? Dreadful.

I've read both the Dallas & Fort Worth papers' reviews. No big
disagreements with either of the mostly positive reviews (Although I
prefer the Star-Telegram's review). Other than to explain to the rest
of the world how much a grump the Dallas Morning News' Thor Christensen
can be from time to time. He complains about Rog's vocal performance on
some songs. But no one came to this show expecting Steve Perry - we
don't need or want that. Who cares? It's ROCK AND ROLL - not an
Oratorio! And in complaining about Rog's voice on some songs, he
neglects to recognize its strength on some of the other songs - Mike
Post Theme in particular. He roared like a lion on that one - and the
crowd took notice.

Highlights: There were a couple of kids with their Dad in the row in
front of us. The little boy was no more than 4 or 5 years old. The girl
was maybe 6 or 7 tops. And they were singing along to the Who songs!
They knew all of the words - standing on their folding chairs! They
were really wonderful to watch - they were every bit as enthusiastic as
their dad was.

There were some young twenty-something hipster dudes a couple of rows
behind us - they were having a blast. Never without a beer in hand,
they parried to and fro in the aisle - teasing the ushers & dancing
their buns off. Between the Pretenders & The Who set - one of them, a
tall guy who happened to be a dead ringer for the Dwight Shrute
character on NBC's version of The Office, shimmied his way into the
crowd's heart - so much so that the lighting guys found him & put the
spotlight on him - very fun - we all cheered. I have to say, it's
refreshing to have a few rabble-rousers at one of these big arena shows
- this is what rock's supposed to be all about after all!

The band were tight on all the songs - surprises: "Real Good Looking
Boy" was a revelation - very sharp guitar from Pete - harder-edged than
the Then & Now version. Rog's voice was terrific - much better than the
last visit through Big D - where California's drought left his voice
bone-dry. Simon has really filled out the sound of the band - kudos to
him - his vocals were essential to the success of the evening - and I
really enjoyed the mandolin during "Endless Wire". "They Made My Dreams
Come True" is a real grower - it was one of my favorites of the new
songs - Pete & Simon harmonized beautifully to that one.

Pete recognized the missing Texan in the band - keyboardist Rabbit &
asked that we pray for his wife Sue. He introduced Rabbit's keyboard
tech (he emphasized that he's really only a technician!) - Brian Kehew
- and praised him for coming to their rescue. Then he introduced Pino
by saying that he came to their rescue when John died back in 2002 -
filled his boots & then, thankfully, took them off - to which the crowd
cheered. And then introduced Zak - monster applause.

Between Mike Post Theme and You Better You Bet, Pete had a pointed
exchange with some of the front-row crowd. Apparently they had been
bugging him to sign some poster & give them some guitar picks. He
really sounded peeved - his body language said it all - exasperation -
as if to say "How am I supposed to play this show AND sign your
bleeding posters & toss out picks?!?" And he called them out for
spending a ton on front row seats then acting like beggars for a stupid
pick or an autograph. "Fucking savages? What do you expect me to do?!"
But before he got too severe with them, he turned his attitude around
180 degrees & said how much he loves us - and that the next song is
about them loving us. He was clearly keeping his temper in check. It
was almost "It's not a fucking tea party!" time - but he showed great

The new songs were fantastic. I miss Quadrophenia, yes - but I'm so
grateful for the new material. Not everyone was - a lot of people sat
during the mini-opera. They clicked away at blackberries until Baba
O'Riley - then they all stood up in unison. Pretty funny to observe -
like a school of fish.

They then played feverishly through the rest of the regular set - big
riffs, guitars & drums blazing. Pete seemed to be using "Won't Get Fooled Again" to
exorcise whatever misgivings he had about the pesky goldfish in the
front row. After a short break - they came back for an encore with the
Tommy suite - and it was inspired. The songs felt brand new - Rog
sounded great and was twirling away like a dervish with the mic cord.
Pete seemed to be channeling an old blues man fused together with an
ornery pirate during the Captain Walker part of Amazing Journey &

Setlist courtesy of the German site: The Complete The Who Concert Guide
The Who
Fri, 17. November 2006:
Dallas, TX, American Airlines Center

Lineup | Go back

I Can't Explain, The Seeker, Substitute, Fragments, Who Are You, Behind
Blue Eyes, Real Good Looking Boy, Sound Round, Pick Up The Peace,
Endless Wire, We Got A Hit, They Made My Dreams Come True, Mirror Door,
Baba O'Riley, Eminence Front, A Man In A Purple Dress, Mike Post Theme,
You Better You Bet, My Generation, Cry If You Want, Won't Get Fooled
Again, (Encore) Pinball Wizard, Amazing Journey, Sparks, See Me Feel
Me, Tea And Theatre

Roger Daltrey
Harmonica, Vocals, Guitar
Pete Townshend
Guitar, Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Pino Palladino
Zak Starkey
Simon Townshend
Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Backing Vocal
Brian Kehew

Set list not confirmed

Last update: 2006-11-18 13:55:36 - # 62

Ft. Worth Star-Telegram Review

Dallas Morning News Review

Top photo courtesy of Dallas Morning News Special Contributor Jason Janik

Bottom photo courtesy of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram Special Contributor Mike Fuentes

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Who in Dallas Friday!

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 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 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 It's from the show they just did Indian Wells, CA.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lost Discussion Deficiency Syndrome

Our pal Mari sent in this clever vid clip to Pablo's Point... a very nicely produced homage to big pharma TV ads - it acknowledges the casual viewer's difficulty in following the hazy, labyrinthine plot mechanics of "Lost". J.J. Abrams is brilliant for devising the mid season "finale". It allows for his Hawaii-based, drunk-driving cast to dry out for 2 months. And it gives Lost's writers time to figure out plot-lines for February-May. The writers must wrestle with the delicate balance of how many cliff-hangers they can get away with in one season vs. delivering the occasional "fish biscuit" to the loyal "Lost" viewership. We will eagerly devour tonight's episode hot off the DVR. But how much longer will the spell last? Only Desmond knows.

My favorite big pharm TV ad is for the sleeping pill Rozerem.