What? The Who?

4 Dec

Last night was another musical adventure in Nashville. However, it wasn’t Country. It was Classic Rock from a band that I had never seen before. The Who, what’s left of it anyway, performed in a “not quite sold out” Bridgestone Arena. I don’t know much about The Who but thought I should see them because they are a legendary group.

Roger and Pete

Roger and Pete

As a historian, I should know better than to believe in legends. Either, they aren’t real, or they are past their prime. This concert was an example of the latter. They are on the Quadrophenia Tour, which I thought was just a cool name for a tour. Actually, it is the name of one of their albums, and the concert was designed to play the entire album.

This is where I should say that I have been to album concerts before. I saw The Eagles open a concert with the Hotel California album. More recently, I saw Roger Waters reproduce The Wall, an album with a message about the condition of the world. The Who tried to convey the same message but did not live up to the challenge. I would call it a poor man’s version of The Wall.

As the concert progressed, I was surprised that I didn’t know any songs. While not a huge fan of The Who, I know a few of the hits. As I looked around the crowd, I noticed that most of the people were in the same boat that I was. Only the ones wearing vintage t-shirts were dancing and singing along.

At the end of the concert, the band played songs that people recognized and inspired them to dance. It was unfortunate that it took that long for this part of the concert to begin. Before the hits, the best part of the concert was footage of deceased members Keith Moon and John Entwistle. In fact, they played and sang better than Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend.

All of this was very disappointing for a few reasons. First, the tickets were expensive. Second, The Who should be better. Third, the opening band was great. Vintage Trouble was a foursome that took the old and made it new. Think about James Brown being transported to the 21st Century to start his career. That’s Vintage Trouble.

Vintage Trouble

Vintage Trouble

The Who were not who I thought they would be. If they had started the British Invasion, then it would have been repelled immediately.

12 Responses to “What? The Who?”

  1. amber_i_am (@amber_i_am) December 4, 2012 at 02:47 #

    I liked the show, but I did find my mind wandering a little during the album portion. Trey is a big fan and told me about the songs on the album, so that helped. I really enjoyed Vintage Trouble also; I think my favorite of theirs was “Nobody Told Me.,”

    • Rick December 4, 2012 at 03:44 #

      Did Trey go too?

      • amber_i_am (@amber_i_am) December 4, 2012 at 17:17 #

        Yes he did. My parents bought him tickets for his birthday (back in September), then my mom won a pair of tickets from Hippie Radio, so he and I got to sit in the good seats.

  2. paintlater December 4, 2012 at 10:08 #

    Who knew?!

    • Rick December 4, 2012 at 13:41 #

      Nobody! That’s who?

  3. John December 4, 2012 at 14:40 #

    The Who have not been The Who for decades.

    • Rick December 4, 2012 at 15:19 #

      I found that out the hardway. I don’t know Who they are.

  4. Martin Lewison December 4, 2012 at 20:10 #

    I would think that a history professor would have done at least a tiny bit of historical research before shelling out the big bucks for a concert ticket and then complaining about the show because he didn’t know the songs. Not even a peek at Wikipedia? You could have minimally watched the Who’s movie, Quadrophenia, of which the album is the soundtrack, to at least get the storyline. It’s not one of my favorites, but Quadrophenia has made a number of “best albums of all-time” lists. The Who were in fact a central part of the British Invasion and have sold 100 million albums. You saw a shadow of the former group, but what did you expect when you bought tickets to see rock performers who are pushing 70? My recommendation is to watch The Kids Are Alright, the 1979 unnarrated-footage documentary of the band made around the time of drummer Keith Moon’s death. It’s a good portrait of the band in its prime.

    • Rick December 4, 2012 at 21:46 #

      Thanks for your comment. You are correct when you say that I should have done some research on the concert. However, I disagree with the idea that we should expect something less from entertainers in their later years. I have seen many people who are nearing 70. Eric Clapton. Rod Stewart. Robert Plant. The Rolling Stones. Roger Waters. Each of them performed with energy and passion. These guys just went through the motions. When a performer can no longer bring his best to the fans, then it is time to give it up. It is a bad sign when most people at a Rock concert are sitting down.

      Again, thanks for your comment.

  5. DyingNote December 5, 2012 at 16:37 #

    The Who should’ve just given it a rest. It’s just terrible to see someone you once admired fallen to decrepitude. Some inconsistency here, Rick – you’re comparing footage of Entwhistle and Moon when they were still on top (or reasonably close to it) of their game with the current Daltrey and Townsend. Or even your closing comment. In their prime, they would’ve made it stick if they had started the Brit invasion.

    • Rick December 6, 2012 at 14:50 #

      True. I just feel that musicians are like athletes. They have a hard time knowing when to stop.


  1. Through the 1970s and Beyond | Surrounded By Imbeciles - March 27, 2015

    […] Townshend is still living and is about to go on another tour. I saw The Who on their last tour but left the arena […]

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