This is a Weekend Review SPECIAL REPORT!
By Chris Moore:
SET LIST BELOW!!
I can’t believe it’s already been a year since the Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band Halftime Show, an event that inspired such a high degree of anticipation that people were literally placing bets on which songs would be played. There was a certain degree of mystery around what Springsteen would choose to play, and he gave very few clues as to what the set list would look like. Except, of course, that it would be an action-packed twelve minutes.
Well, we are rapidly approaching the Who’s twelve minutes of fame and they are much less concerned with such anticipation.
As Pete Townshend said earlier this week, “We’re doing kind of a compact medley, like a mash-up of stuff,” he says. “A bit of ‘Baba O’Riley,’ a bit of ‘Pinball Wizard,’ a bit of the close of ‘Tommy,’ a bit of ‘Who Are You’ and a bit of ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again.’ It works — it’s quite a saga. A lot of the stuff that we do has that kind of celebratory vibe about it — we’ve always tried to make music that allows the audience to go a bit wild if they want to. Hopefully it will hit the spot.”
And so, with no new album — either recent or upcoming — to promote, a medley it is!
There are certainly going to be those who poo-poo at The Who taking the stage before what is annually the largest crowd assembled for one television program. And yet, their age and the percentage of surviving members (50%) notwithstanding, we’re talking about the Who.
In the hierarchy of rock’n’roll, there aren’t too many who get billing above this band. The Beatles, to be certain. The Rolling Stones. Dylan.
Quite impressive company.
As Ray Waddell of the Macon Daly wrote in what is certainly the most interesting of the pre-Super Bowl articles, “The power and continued relevance of Townshend’s writing are obvious, but few could argue that Daltrey’s supercharged vocals don’t play a key role in the longevity of the songs.“
Even for an avid music fan like myself, the Who have passed beneath my radar save for their greatest hits (I have two of those, actually) and Tommy. The more I’ve been reading about them and listening to them this week, the more I’ve realized what a shame that is. The Who have repeatedly received that label that Dylan oh-so-despises — voice of a generation. They pioneered, albeit not initially on purpose, the so-called “instrument destruction” aspect of some emotional rock concerts. This band was among the first rock bands to incorporate synthesized sounds into their records, which were increasingly more conceptual throughout their career.
The list goes on.
And although by most standards they dropped off the map in the early to mid-eighties, here are Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey to take the stage in front of the largest single audience a band could hope for. Very fitting indeed, as this is, of course, the band that set the record for the largest indoor concert in 1975…
There’s not as much for me to predict, bet, or suggest as there was last year, but I can tell you that, while I am interested in tonight’s excellent match-up between the Colts and the Saints, I am very excited for the Who. Say what you will about their last album Endless Wire — and the critics panned it — but that album had its moments of strength. I can’t imagine that tonight will be anything less than one of those strong high points of their recent career.
I’m off to the Super Bowl party with my girlfriend, so that’s it for now. Stay tuned for the set list, or medley order, or whatever it ends up being… I’ll be updating it here, at LaptopSessions.com, minute by minute.
THE WHO’s HALFTIME SET LIST
1 ) “Pinball Wizard”
2 ) “Baba O’Riley”
3 ) “Who Are You”
4 ) “See Me, Feel Me”
5 ) “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
While the Who didn’t quite match the immediacy and the downright sweaty performance by Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band last year, their set evoked a calm and a confidence that, although predictable, was nice to see. After all, this was a mere twelve minutes of playing hits that they’ve been touring with for decades.
In other words, there was nothing unpredictable about the Halftime Show.
I would have settled for just one guitar being smashed.
Or at least a microphone…
The staging was perhaps the most impressive aspect of the set, as the Who opted out of the by-now-typical mass of fans that crowd the field for the mini concert. Instead, their stage was expansive and incorporated a variety of light patterns – spelling out “The Who,” lyrics to songs, and more. With Townshend’s well-known hearing issues, I was surprised, but happy, to see the fireworks display.
And did you see those classic blue, white, and red cymbols on the transparent drum set?
Overall, this was a very entertaining show. Again, it was nothing phenomenal and there will undoubtedly be those who will disparage these sixty-something rockers, but there was never a dull moment. Most songs were — the theme of the night– predictable (Townshend told us, after all, and, come on, how could they avoid playing “Who Are You” on CBS??) but I didn’t see “See Me, Feel Me” coming.
The onside kick that followed the concert overshadowed the set, but it was fun to see the Who and I, for one, hope the Super Bowl continues to call on these classic acts!