THE WHO - DALLAS, TEXAS NOV. 17, 2006 - Concert Review
Twenty four hours after seeing The Who play live in Dallas at American Airlines Arena, I am exhausted, amazed and renewed. I haven't felt this way after a show in about ten years, and I've seen The Who two other times in that ten year period. What made the difference this time? In a word, Pete. The previous two shows were a bit lacking for me, because Pete didn't seem totally into it. Trying to have a great Who show without Pete being on fire is like trying to have a thunderstorm without God. On this night, Pete was just magnificent. Say what you will about the other three talented members of The Who, but for me it's simply about Pete. The Dallas pop critic's main focus of his review was Roger's voice not being up to par., to which I reply, 'Was there someone named Roger onstage? I didn't notice.'
I arrived without a ticket, hoping to nick one off a bored scalper after the show started. This method usually works; it's getting late and the scalpers want to make a few more bucks, so they sell a few tickets at $10-20 each and go home. Try it sometime. But this night, there were no scalpers. I then went to the box office and amazingly, was given a pair of free tickets. How did this happen? It's a great story but if I revealed my magic trick then anyone could do it. I was utterly amazed when they slid those tickets to me. "Thanks, Who!" Seeing as how I paid $20 to park, I think I deserved a free show, don't you? Things got better from there. I asked the usher if there was a warmup group, and he said, "The Pretenders will go on in 5 minutes." I froze. The PRETENDERS?!? One of my all time favorite bands, and I had no idea they were on the bill. How f'n' cool is that! I sat down and they came on, and at this point I realized I was surrounded by hordes of drunk 50 year olds, screaming, talking, and singing along off key, as well as constantly switching seats with each other. It was a nightmare, but I focused on the band. They were in top form, and Chrissie, in addition to rocking flawlessly, made one hilarious wisecrack after the other. While playing tambourine, she said, "Hey, I feel like Stevie Nicks!" When introducing her guitarist she said, "Aren't you glad you put your guitar in the closet and got that job?" She also looked out at the crowd and said, "I'm glad to see so many old faces out there - you're making me look good!" This chick is what it's all about, and I'm still thrilled that I got to see her so unexpectedly. Thank you, Rock God! So The Who came on. Here's the short version of my review. They took the arena, turned it upside down so we could all fall to our deaths, smashed it onto the ground about 50 times like a moody Godzilla baby, picked up the money scattered everywhere, and stammered off to Houston to presumably do it all again. Nice job if you can get it. I've seen The Who on every tour since 1973 for a total of about 10 times. I would rank this show about 5th best. That may not sound like a compliment but it means they were still better than God on a good day. In 1973 (most people have never even HEARD of 1973) they basically took me out and shot me, and I've been going back to the firing squad ever since. You must understand that at a truly great Who show, everything in the universe disappears but Pete Townshend. He jumps only 2 feet up in the air and your whole world is thrown asunder. It's just a guy swinging his arm around - anybody can do it. But when he does it, all of rock history starts spinning and I get dizzy. I don't know why it is this way or how it works, but I will recommend you go out of your way to experience it if you never have. And if you're getting old and think he can't still do it and you can't still feel it, you are wrong my friend, you are wrong. The Who are still magic and there's every reson in the world to get yourself to that overprice rock concert one more time. If these are boring old farts then I'm in favor of aging, boredom, and passing musical gas. Roger Daltrey, from the looks of him, could kick my ass and I'm only 48. They are in better shape than ever and I hope have a few more years ahead because I want Pete Townshend to destroy me again. There were moments last night when I just disappeared. I wasn't thinking or screaming, I was just getting out of the way of my own overpowering sense of awe. I was stunned. It's like they were standing onstage spraying us with invisible machine guns while announcing, WE ARE BETTER AND COOLER THAN YOU. DIE!!
They are, and we did.
They have a very good new album out, Endless Wire, and played several songs from it. I'm glad they did because it injected a sense of New into the Nostalgia. From this album, "Endless Wire" is a wonderful country number, and "We Got A Hit" shoule BE a hit, whether it is or not
All the critics always like to criticize bands for being too old, insisting they apologize and retire. I would like to raise the question, what about the rock Audience? It's not aging very well from what I saw. The drunk 50 year olds around me were impossibly stupid throughout the entire show. Two of these idiotic bitches were actually passed out in their seats for most of The Who's show. I'm sure I saw these same two women passed out at a Foghat show in 1976. At one point the lady next to me spilled her beer onto the expensive leather jacket of the lady seated in front of her. They got into a heated exchange for about ten minutes and for the rest of the show they were both fuming. The question is raised; which is more important to rock and roll - the leather jacket or the spilling of the beer onto the leather jacket? Probably the spilling of the beer, but that's just my take.
About halfway through the show Pete teased the people in the front rows. "Do you want some guitar picks? Of course you do. But you see, I'm using them at the moment. You people also like to raise up things for us to sign during the show. If you haven't noticed, we're playing a gig!" An hour later, at the end of the encore, Pete, after throwing his Gibson acoustic in the air and not catching it (woops!) went back to the same group of people and asked, "Would you still like some guitar picks?!" They all raised their hands and screamed, so he took all the picks off his mike stand and threw them into the crowd. About ten rows of people actually collapsed into the darkness of the floor as about 100 people scrammed for 10 guitar picks. It was a violent mess and surely somebody got hurt, and this from the man who was there that night in Cincinatti. Pete put his hands on his hips, shook his head, and said into the mike, "YOU SAD FUCKERS!" And that, my friends, was my perfect evening with The Who.
By the way, in case you thought Namedropper was just about me meeting rock stars, it's not. I tried to meet Pete, through his management, which I've done before, and was roundly ignored, which I understand. It's not easy doing this, and much of the time I fail. It didn't work out this time, but I will absolutely try, try again. But I do give Pete credit. He runs a great website, and in the 70's and 80's he used to answer much of his fanmail. He wrote me fourteen letters in the 1980's, and I sold them in the 90's to help pay for recording sessions. Send me another letter, Pete, I'm making a new album and the rates have gone up.
Thanks for reading, Bucks Burnett
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