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Ten Fascinating Observations About The Who’s Super Bowl Performance

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I read all the previews telling me (warning me?) about The Who's "medley" of hits but nothing could prepare me for seeing them actually perform it in front of many, many people. I remember the good ol' days when they let women briefly expose themselves during the half-time show and now I've got what looks like something from the gag reel to Grumpy Old Men.

I know these large events require musical acts that have legendary status and mass appeal, but could the music industry please work on promoting someone who will still be around in 20 years? (And I don't mean to insinuate that the remaining members of The Who won't be around in 20 years. I mean to suggest that today's young people deserve the chance to have their own careers tended to with the patience once shown the Who. But, yes, I don't want to see Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and the other guys in another 20 years. Onstage, that is.)

Thanks to Will.i.am for the unnecessary "My Generation Remix" and to my local ReMax agent who must've spent a bundle getting that last slot before the Halftime break. Sell, Sell, Sell!

Anyhow, I decided to write down my 10 most, uh, fascinating observations about this performance.

10) The Who Sure Are Old: It's not a cheap shot. It's the truth. I do believe the line goes "Hope I Die Before I Get Old," which they managed to sidestep by not playing it. It's impossible to age gracefully when your act is based on behaving like youthful idiots. I don't blame them for taking the money or the supermarket vouchers or whatever they got paid for this opportunity, but I need to sit down after watching these folks. (And they are definitely folks at this point.)

9) These Songs Sound Better Selling Cars And Backing Episodes Of CSI: OK, I have loved every song they played at some point in my life. But not like this. Not now. No way.

8) Why Didn't Eddie Vedder Show Up?: I thought it was a Who tradition to have Pearl Jam's Edward Vedder show up and sing the parts that Roger Daltrey can no longer manage. Maybe he was somewhere in the arena feeding stage directions into Daltrey's earpiece. Maybe Daltrey's lost his hearing along with Townshend, since he didn't move (which may be a blessing, Mr. Jagger).

7) Is This Entire Thing Taped?: I always hear that this whole thing is taped beforehand, but, if so, the lip-syncing is much better than anything Britney Spears has attempted and the vocals are complete crap. So I assume, they mean the band is pre-recorded. If so, these guys should win an Oscar. They know how to act. Except Townshend, who windmills like he's late for dinner.

6) I Missed The Rock Opera Segment: I know there are time constraints, but shouldn't Pete Townshend have held the crowd hostage and performed Tommy in its entirety? If he could once kick Abbie Hoffman off his stage, surely he could kick a security team with windbreakers off the platform. Go, Pete. Self-indulgence was always your strong suit.

5) There Are Cover Bands Who Perform As The Who More Convincingly: Somewhere in a bar plays Sell Out: A Tribute To The Who. In another bar, Bob Rixon is watching Pinball Wizard: A Tribute To The Who. In yet another bar, Jim Puglio plays in Substitute: A Tribute To The Who. All of this is happening in New Jersey and it's all better than the real thing. At this point.

4) Do You Think They Wonder Why No One's Been Kicking The Ball Around?: The Who are from Britain where people are crazy football fans. Except we in America call it soccer, as sort of a revenge against the idea that they all drive on the wrong side of the road.

3) I See It's Already Being Called "Bellygate": Thanks, Pete Townshend. Next year thanks to you and your wardrobe malfunction, we're going to be stuck with the Wiggles.

2) The Audience Does A Good Job Pretending They Know Who They're Watching: I'm always impressed when you put this many people together to watch a sporting event and they play along willfully to a musical act that was past its prime before at least a third of the crowd was born and another third wouldn't care about if you put another twelve beers in them. Or maybe they were applauding the fireworks. Anyhow, great sportsmanship. I know if I showed up at a rock concert and a football game broke out, I wouldn't be half so appreciative.

1) No Amount Of Fireworks Can Take The Place of Keith Moon: As far as I'm concerned the Who died with Keith Moon, just as those Zeppelin guys were finished when John Bonham kicked. Zak Starkey is just fine on drums but like everyone else, he's no Keith Moon. No one else is. Done.

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