PRE-SCRIPT: A year ago tonight we were at the Staples Center seeing the Who, me for the first time in 40 years since Keith Moon’s last tour. What a great concert they gave and what a fun night with my friends Sandi, Patty and Ron. So I am repeating this blog. Don’t usually do that but such a fun time even getting to the concert. The Who will be playing Caesar’s Palace in August. It’s all I can do to keep from buying those tickets… stayed tuned.
My reasons for going to see the Who last night and going to see Bob next month are as different as the music itself. I saw the Who in 76 the last tour by Keith before he died. I thought about it a bit last month. In chance conversation, a friend asked do you really want to see them now? You can only be disappointed. I agreed. I think. Then it starts like an itch as most good things do. A tiny, shiny thought in the corner of the eye. You try your best to ignore it but you also know it won’t go away. The Who are playing this Wednesday aren’t they? I think of Tracker Russell telling me what an amazing show he saw last month in New York. What does he know? The last time I saw the Who, as I like to remind him, I would have taken you to the show but you were too busy being born.
A Sunday night Anaheim concert Facebook video and post by Chase, Andy’s son, of the iconic Daltry Won’t Get Fooled Again scream with the the caption, “Remember Roger Daltry’s 71” irritated that itch. This kind of musical endorsement from a 14 year old? Granted he’s got mad musical genes, but even that’s not enough to cause a teenager today to be blown away by one of the old guys! The itch spreads a bit. I talked to Andy on Monday and texted Tracker Dave too. Yeah, the show was phenomenal. Well that’s a unanimous great musical taste poll if ever there was one.
The itch now has to go. I got tickets for Bruce Saturday night on that Saturday morning. I have two days this time. How hard could it be to find people and tickets and not the damn Staples nose bleed seats either. But who?? I tend to like to select my concert mates from two categories. I like to use fanships rather than friendships but virgins are always the most fun. Some can be huge fans that have never been; too young maybe or they don’t need to be fans at all but have just enough curiosity that you know you can introduce them to something memorable.
A chance encounter on another topic with the musically magnificent Sandi Behar and I say, the Who? Wednesday night? You in? Of course she says. I start with my security buddy DF. His allowed ticket purchase gone but that man comes through again with t shirts and his crew badge for me at the end of the night, now sitting proudly next to my Bruce backstage crew badge. A few known corporate Skybox holders, too late or no answer.
And so I turn to the place I know best and most people like the least: Craigslist. Bingo. Four tickets in the loge for $95 bucks. Doesn’t make sense scalpers are getting a couple of hundred. I text, he answers. Are they hard tickets, will you sell only two? Yes and yes and a trip to Santa Monica Monday night. Sorry Bernie but Who tickets trumps a presidential candidate rally. Sandi and I agree if I don’t get killed or sold into white slavery we are on for Wednesday. Although I know she is thinking that if I did get sold into white slavery, they would give me back pretty quickly.
I honestly don’t get it. I have been using CL for years, to buy to sell etc. It is a great system. I hate the bad rap it’s gotten because people don’t take the right precautions and because you hear of the one or two really bad things happening amongst the 90 bazillion good transactions. It’s like saying you will never walk in the rain again ever because one guy one day got hit by lightening. Ok there’s my one digression.
I get these tickets from a 20 something kid who looks so much like the son of the big burly guy I got the Bruce tickets from it’s scary. He was adorable. Had me go to his house, I wait outside. (There’s a CL lesson for you right there). He tells me he wasn’t sure about going at all. He’s never seen them but he feels he really better cause you never know. He says they aren’t calling it a retirement tour or anything, but look what happened to the Eagles. Good point kid! As I leave I check the tickets for face value, I paid $90 but they are complimentary tickets free that say $1 Teen Cancer America. I don’t understand. What the hell? Did he just sell us like “Make a Wish Tickets” or something? Ok we’ll go anyway- I’m not giving up that seat in hell anytime soon apparently. I’m sure the money will go to a good cause and he’s not just some kid with cancer whose real wish is a pile of money and not a performance of Pinball Wizard. And just in case they are bogus as hell, Sandi’s Boy lawyer am sure can rescue us. The story could end there. Me and Sandi could go to the concert have an amazing time and this blog would end. But no, there was more itch left to scratch. Two tickets to the Who left over? Surely I can find more people who have to go. I send my go to partner in last minute crime Patty a message. Do you want to see the Who Wednesday night? YESSSSS! She has seen them before and is a fan. Then a random text from that friend who said maybe I shouldn’t go again asking me how the show was that night. I didn’t go yet I say the show is Wednesday night. O I am so envious of your ticket he says now (big light bulb over his head). It’s the WHO!! Have you ever seen them, I ask? He’s 40 something and a fan. No he says. Well if you give me $90 bucks you can on Wednesday and so we have our WHO concert virgin. I call Teddy Bear Carlos the next morning to get the last two tickets. He’s very happy. I ask him again how do you have these. They are industry tickets don’t worry about it. Just have fun! Works for me.
Wednesday comes and we meet at LA Live for dinner. Sandi finds a 16 year old boy next to us celebrating his birthday with his Dad waiting to go to the concert as well. She gives him a big birthday hug (I have no idea why- he’s a perfect stranger) and the next thing we know we are all eating Truffle fries out of the Dad’s dish. A starchy mess I often don’t see but very good. We leave Ron at the table for a few minutes while we girls use the powder room only to find him staring like a deer in the headlights at some lovely but random stranger girl talking to him in earnest. Great, I think he needs to meet a nice girl and go on a date. Well apparently the date was with Jesus and she was there to tell him Jesus highlighted him or something to her. Those yellow markers sure come in handy for all sorts of things huh. I imagine it’s easy to be highlighted though when you have hair like 1982 Blackie Lawless. Patty and I at least were well behaved during dinner.
We sit through the annoying opening band. That is really no reflection on the talent of the act itself at all. I just HATE opening bands at concerts. No matter how good they are I am irritated that the main act hasn’t started yet. It’s a time efficiency thing with me.
Finally! The setlist was great. Pictures of Lily is a song I probably haven’t even thought about in decades but have always loved. Suffice it to say they played all my favorites which was pretty much the entire setlist. “ O that’s my favorite Who song”! I must have said like all night long. But Baba and Blue Eyes and Reign still remain the top three .
Were they different than 40 years ago? Well unless I was transported to the concert by Dr. Who himself how could they NOT be? Do they sing the songs slower now, yes of course. Is that age or no more speed? We’ll never know will we. Am I talking about them or the audience? You’ll never know will you. But here’s the thing. Do we really want to go to a Who concert and see them singing anyone else’s songs? Hell NO! Do we want anyone else singing their songs? Hell NO!! And that for me is the difference and the expectation between seeing the Who and Bob (see previous blog in the event of total confusion).
Roger looked and sounded amazing in the context of his life. Hell he can even wear the fringe vest with nothing underneath and no lady in the audience would have minded a bit last night! Hilarious though was his yelling at the audience to stop smoking the damn pot cause he is so severely allergic he can’t sing if they continue. Then Pete gives them the suggestion that if they stick the pot up their ass it gets you higher quicker. Pete was just well Pete. Brilliant and funny and cool and guitar perfect.
The whole night was amazing with a rendition of …Reign.. that took your breath away. Magically perfect in every note. The entire show was a beautiful retrospective of their 50 years. The visuals and the reminiscing were beautifully done. But most of all you didn’t care and you didn’t need to compare them to their former selves in any way. No caricature here, thank you very much!! They paid great tribute throughout the night to Keith and John and John and a great many other events and people and things of the past half a century. Surely those two band members are sorely missed but you have to give baby Ringo credit he did a great job and his Dad in the audience am sure was pretty proud of him last night.
I am reasonably certain that our virgin friend enjoyed the evening immensely and that it mattered not in the continuum of this band where one falls or fell in terms of seeing them live. I loved the show last night. I was more excited than I even imagined I would be to go. Sandi at five times seeing them and with the most exposure for comparison adored it as evinced by the pure rapture on her face at times. Patty too seeing them before also was very thrilled to say the least.
I think Tracker Dave said it best “ It’s just right for 70 year old rockers”.. And that I think is a testament to the longevity, the talent, but most of all the life these songs have lived for all these years. Their songs are in your face anthems and not just one or two of them either. Whole damn albums of them that have stood the test of time and aging with perfection.
Who’s next? No literally. Who have I not wanted to see perhaps because of my phobia of seeing bands with dead members, which I am pretty sure I cured last night. It’s Paul. It keeps coming back to Paul McCartney. I have not been a post Beatle Paul fan but seeing him play Maybe I’m Amazed live is something to make the trek for . And here’s the thing, I don’t want to see him just because he was a Beatle for God’s sake. I want to see him because he is PAUL. He is still the same one with the most gorgeous face and voice beyond compare we all fell in love with the most. I also think Paul is another one who is getting it perfect as a 70 something year old rocker. To hear that voice live is surely a dream come true I think. We change and so do our heroes if we are lucky enough to see them into old age. This is a tricky time I imagine for the baby boomer heroes of our musical youth in terms of what they can or can’t offer. And I for one don’t want to miss anything good that’s being offered. It’s that simple for me. So what if there are a lot of Beatles fans in the audience. I read the set list from this tour and I was astonished to see how many Beatles songs he does. Seriously, am I to miss him perform And I Love Her, one of my favorite all time Beatle songs ever live just because I don’t know every song on Red Rose Speedway (although if he did Get On the Right Thing, I wouldn’t mind a bit). I don’t think so!! Seems to me Paul doesn’t mind one bit how many old Beatles fans are in the audience. He is not doing a concert this year strictly of solo material with a smattering of Beatles thrown in with Yesterday. No, to me it seems he is embracing those of us who parted company with him all those years ago as well as his legion of post Beatle fans. And that’s why I’m on a mission to make him next. He’s PAUL for God’s sakes! So I want to be a Paul virgin this year. It goes without saying his show will be great and he may never pass this way again.
And so another magical musical night comes to an end. The tickets were good. The seats were great. We didn’t get arrested. Teen Cancer America is Roger’s charity he started because of his daughter. They were the sponsors of the show last night. And just in case I’ll be making a donation to them this week. Heard from Teddy Bear Carlos the ticket boy this morning and he loved the show as well. Thanks for being this concert’s ticket fairy godmother, Carlos. And to those marvelous musical mavens Sandi, Patty and Ron who said yes with like 24 hours notice thanks for joining me. WHO luvs ya?WHO