THE WHO at Hollywood Bowl 11/4/06 Review


I saw The Who at the Hollywood Bowl last night. I started getting into The Who when I was in 8th or 9th grade. I think it was a little before Keith Moon died. But I’m kind of vague on the chronology. I just now looked it up and saw that he died in Sept. ’78, which would’ve been right after I started 9th grade. But I know I was already a rabid fan by the time the movie The Kids Are Alright was released in June of 1979 (just looked that one up, too). Ah…who knows… Sometime around when all that was happening anyway.

The first Who album I bought was a thoroughly beat up copy of Tommy at the local used book & record store. I was mildly disappointed at first because I’d read all these things about how loud The Who were and how they used feedback and noise. When I bought it I expected it to sound like Jesus and Mary Chain. This was a decade before Jesus and Mary Chain, by the way. But the descriptions I’d read led me to imagine something that sounded like what J&MC; eventually sounded like. I played it a few more times, though, and really got into it. Pretty soon I was spending all my lawn mowing money on Who records.

I first saw The Who in like 1984 or so. I remember I couldn’t get tickets to the show they played in 1979 in Cleveland a couple nights after all those kids were killed in Cincinnati. My friend Mary had tickets but her dad wouldn’t let her go after that happened. Later on Mary told me she hated her dad. I don’t know if that was the reason. I managed to get tickets for their next tour, though. I recall being thoroughly disappointed. They looked like a bunch of tired old men who’d totally lost the will and drive. One thing that sticks out in mind is that Pete Townshend broke a string in the middle of a song. So he just stopped playing and exchanged his Telecaster for another guitar midsong while the band played on. I just thought that was totally lame. Anyone who was so rich and complacent he couldn’t finish a song on 5 strings like I’d done countless times was beyond contempt.

I didn’t bother with any of the later reunion shows. The ones in the late 80′s with the gigantic Who sign that dwarfed the band were just too ridiculous. But when they came to Japan on their first ever tour of that country in 2004 I went. By then my wife was a big fan too. I introduced her to the group by playing her Pictures of Lilly to help her learn to pronounce L’s properly. Plus they’d really redeemed themselves when Zak Starkey joined. The 2004 show was amazingly great. Much better than they’d been in the 80′s. They actually seemed younger.

Anyhow, we were sitting there at the Bowl last night waiting for the show to begin when a loud mouthed drunk middle aged guy started talking to the row of teenagers in front of us. He asked if this was their first concert. “No, dude,” they said. “we’ve seen lots more.” He asked them who they’d seen. “Styx, Journey, Boston, REO….”

I don’t know if they were putting the old guy on or not. But they didn’t seem to be. Of course, the old guy was like, great shows, maaaannnn!! I was aghast. Don’t these kids know what their elders fought and died for? We tried to make a world where no one had to listen to the likes of such corporate rock crap. And now here you kids are getting all into that stuff? What has the world come to? Then again, now Nirvana and early Green Day are Classic Rock. So what do I know? And besides that a former member of REO Speedwagon actually wrote me fan mail after having read Hardcore Zen (it’s true!). So maybe I should just keep my lame ass opinions to myself. (Not likely)

Wish I had some kind of “Zen Lesson” at the end of all of this. But I can’t think of one. It was a cool show. But lately I’ve come to dislike big spectacles and suchlike more and more. Not that I ever really did care for them much. I’ve probably attended less than a dozen big rock and roll shows in my life — most of those being KISS shows. Noise and lights and crowds have never been my thing. And, uh, nope. No big Zen lesson in this installment.

Rock on, dudes!

13 Responses

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  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous November 5, 2006 at 3:20 pm | |

    Also saw The Who in the mid-80s.
    The B-52s opened and had beer bottles
    thrown at them; The Who just went
    through the motions… lame-o-la.
    Big rock concerts are overhyped;
    small is beautiful.

    Here’s about as small and intimate
    as you can get, two brothers:

    The Wood Brothers

    Maybe some of y’all might like them
    too.

  2. zenducker
    zenducker November 5, 2006 at 7:12 pm | |

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    http://www.myogen.blogspot.com/

  3. PhilBob-SquareHead
    PhilBob-SquareHead November 5, 2006 at 7:28 pm | |

    I’ve seen the Ramones three times in small clubs, three big Kiss shows, Marilyn Manson opening for Danzig when no one knew who Manson was, Clapton, Cash, Alice Cooper and many other rock and country acts over the years. But the greatest show I have ever seen was the Who reunion tour of 1989! To experience a concert along with
    50-60,000 fans in a football stadium is something you don’t want to pass up. The show had almost been rained out, but they went on anyways. Right at the end of “love reign o’er me” a shower drenched Daltry as he stood centerstage and a bit further out front than the rest. That concert memory will remain with me ’til I die.

    Also the loudest show!

  4. Matt
    Matt November 5, 2006 at 10:29 pm | |

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Matt
    Matt November 5, 2006 at 10:31 pm | |

    “Then again, now Nirvana and early Green Day are Classic Rock.”

    that’s the first time anyone’s made me feel that old that quick. “Pardon my french, but you’re an asshole!”

  6. yudo
    yudo November 6, 2006 at 6:22 am | |

    I never was much into rock concerts. probably vaccinated by the sight of those Beatles concerts where you were sure never to hear anything but the screaming of the girls. I went at a few small stage ones though, mostly french groups, but I remember a particularly good Joe Jackson concert so well sonorized that the lame sports hall almost sounded like a concert one. I also saw the Lords of the New Church, with their leader climbing in the scaffolding.
    But I’m sure Brad should read Brad saying that “you prefer the Pogues to the Beatie Boys, but the Universe does not. It should, of course, but it includes and embraces them both equally”.

    Throwing bottles to the B-52′s is sheer felony. It ought to be severely condemned: I’ll notify this to the International Court of the Hague, as a crime agiant humanity…

  7. Flynbuddha
    Flynbuddha November 6, 2006 at 7:23 am | |

    “Ordinary mind, is zen mind”

  8. nai wakara
    nai wakara November 6, 2006 at 9:27 am | |

    *enlightened*

  9. Drunken Monkey
    Drunken Monkey November 6, 2006 at 12:05 pm | |

    The Whos new album rocks my socks.

  10. Drunken Monkey
    Drunken Monkey November 6, 2006 at 12:12 pm | |

    But I’m sure Brad should read Brad saying that “you prefer the Pogues to the Beatie Boys, but the Universe does not. It should, of course, but it includes and embraces them both equally”.

    Its the Backstreet boys, not the Beatie Boys. The Beastie Boys rock.

  11. Esmerelda
    Esmerelda November 6, 2006 at 1:40 pm | |

    Greenday classic rock?? Say it isn’t so.

    Well I did see them last year in a big stadium show and it was wonderful. I saw the Stones later that fall and at 4 times the price it was slightly greater. The median age of the fans was 2x.

    I say at $35/ticket you cannot be classic rock but you can be a better value.

    PS the Chilli Pepper at $65/ticket same stadium, are getting kind of classic.

    PPS It only rock and roll!

  12. Bobo the Chimneysweep
    Bobo the Chimneysweep November 6, 2006 at 8:00 pm | |

    HA! Green Day….

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    Anonymous June 14, 2007 at 2:26 am | |

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