Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I worship at the altar of The Who.
For more than a million reasons, they were the most influential band in my formative years. As a product of the 80’s, I’m sure you’d expect that answer to be Duran Duran or Cyndi Lauper. Don’t get me wrong, I was into that too, as well as Blondie, The Ramones, Sex Pistols and many others. But, for me, The Who is home. Listening to Roger Daltrey for me is always the right fit. No matter the mood, no matter what is happening, there is a song to fit. In a happy mood? Try “I’m a Boy” or “Pictures of Lily” on for size. In the mood to kick ass? Well, I have just the ticket, squeeze into “Long Live Rock” , “Won’t Get Fooled Again” or “I Can See For Miles”. A calm mood? “Amazing Journey”, “Love Reign O’er Me” or “Blue, Red and Grey”. No matter the era of their career, whether it’s “Can’t Explain” or “My Generation” of the 60’s, “Baba O’Riley” or “Slip Kid” of the 70’s or even “Athena” or “You Better You Bet” of the 80’s – this band has it all.
Recently, VH1 had “Rock Honors – The Who”. With me being over in Europe, I didn’t get a chance to see it until today. I have to say- I was mesmerized though the entire show. The number and caliber of people who were there to pay homage was great. The opening montage is various people explaining how they feel about the band. From Sting, Noel Gallagher, Tenacious D, Coldplay, Eddie Vedder and Conan O’Brien, Joan Jett, Harry Shearer, Slash and Wayne Coyne. The opening number was The Foo Fighters, doing “Young Man’s Blues” which totally sent chills up my arms it was great. They bring out Gaz Coombes and whip out “Bargain”. Gaz… was… brilliant.
Incubus roll on out and tear up “Can’t Explain” and “I Can See For Miles” and do both songs in their style but totally worthy.
The Flaming Lips were next, Wayne comes out in his usual ball and walks around on people and then they do a Tommy medley. Which was good but I’m no Lips fan but they were intro’d by Rainn Wilson dressed exactly as Elton John’s Pinball Wizard.
Tenacious D stroll out and do acoustic “Squeeze Box” and got more applause than the Lips.
The next band to sing their praises was Pearl Jam who has always been very upfront about their love for The Who and they came back full force into my good graces by doing a perfect rendition of “Love Reign O’er Me”. Pure poetry- “On the dry and dusty road, the nights we spent apart alone. I need to get back home to cool cool rain. I can’t sleep and I lay and I think. The night is hot and black as ink. Oooh, God I need a drink , of cool cool rain”. Eddie Vedder belted that shit out as if his life depended on it, it was a sight to see. Pearl Jam could have done that one song and ruled my world but they followed it up with another piece of heaven in “The Real Me”.
After Pearl Jam left the stage and left everyone breathless, Adam Sandler comes out and does his little song in the tune of “Magic Bus” a nice little tribute ditty. Nice little way to bring The Who out because when he started singing “Do you want The Who” they walked out and the ditty abruptly stopped, the green lasers started and the opening keyboard riff of “Baba O’Riley” started. Rog started twirling that mic like it was 1975 and I was in love all over again. Hard to believe he’s 64 years old, that’s just.. unbelievable. He puts that nasty ass Mick Jagger to shame. That harmonica came out of his pocket and he was going to town. I will admit to horribly missing John Entwistle though. 8 songs in total did they play but only 4 were televised, damn it! “Who Are You”, “Behind Blue Eyes” ,”My Generation” and they closed with just Pete and Rog doing “Tea and Theatre”. I could watch this all day, in fact I think I will. I think after this, I’m going to watch Quadrophenia, The Kids are Alright, Tommy and Amazing Journey.