Tuesday, February 09, 2010

the last word on the 'oo @ the super bowl

comes from nyc muso mike errico (via the magical ash adams):

Some people thought the Who were really good last night. With all the respect in the world, my feelings were beyond like or dislike. I was just worried. They seemed so frail, working such powerful material with such vastly diminished abilities. I wondered if Pete played that red Strat because they're just not as heavy on his back as a Les Paul. I figured Roger taped his mic up as an affectation. It clearly wasn't necessary.

Sure the songs were great. That has nothing to do with it.

Mozart was great, too. That doesn't mean you throw his casket onto the 50-yard line at halftime.

They stepped on that laser-festooned stage and a wave of sympathy washed over me. Two of the four are dead. One of the remaining two is basically deaf. How am I to judge them? Against what? Them from 40 years ago? Why would I do that?

For a football analogy: Who's up in the sky box calling that play? Everyone knows a good coach doesn't call an injured player's number, even though an injured player will always want to play.

All that said, I held my breath and the Who did as well as I could have expected. They seemed ravaged by time, like a retreating army. They reminded me that one day we'll all be dead.

Maybe that's it. I watched the Who and saw my own mortality. Which is fine, intellectually. I think about that kind of thing a lot. I read and write and sing knowing that breath one day will not come out of my body. I'm afraid of what I will not have time to accomplish, and who I'll disappoint utterly with my expiration. At what unfinished point will my own story end? Five minutes from now? Forty years?

But here's the thing: Why all this in the middle of the friggin' Super Bowl? I have my buddy over, we have chips on the coffee table and beer in the fridge. This is a moment to transcend while witnessing Acts of Heroism on one of the grandest stages in America. And instead I'm wondering if my affairs are in order. If I should bequeath a Gretsch to my friend who's sitting next to me, now awkwardly silent. We used to be in a band together. Who'll die first?

and my response to the magical ash:

Nicely done. It's not the "old people rocking out" that I have a problem with. (The last time I saw the guy who taught me the most about music, we told each other, "I'll be there at your funeral." He's still living; we just don't see each other that often.) Tell it to Chuck Berry; rock 'n' roll hasn't been a "young man's game" for quite awhile now. It's the venue that I had a problem with, I guess. To most of the viewers, it probably came across as a CSI medley.


Blogger Grubbermeister said...

The Who have looked like a tired, old band for years but if Pete, Roger, and company still enjoy playing together then more power to them.

Word verification: nocatio

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Yeah that about sums it up as anything could. At least VH1 Classic was playing Live at the Isle of Wight at the same time as the Superbowl so I was able to just pop over there for half time and didn't even end up watching the whole thing after it got started....were they trying to make the drummer look like Moonie. It was painful

8:58 AM  
Blogger Steven said...

With all due respect, I think this is making a little too much out of what this all meant. When I saw the Who back on the 2003 tour, I went fully expecting to hate it. I grew idolizing these guys, Entwhistle had just died, and it all seemed kind of sad, like these guys were way past their prime and needed to hang it up. In spite of myself, I had a great time. They rocked the fuck out. A few more years on, I fully accept the Pete Townshend isn't that kid in the Union Jack blazer anymore, but these fellas still have it going on. I thought their show -- their medley packaged for easy halftime consumption - was actually quite good for what it was. Daltrey's voice was better than I've heard it in years. Is it some kind of pop cultural momento mori? Sure, why not if that's what you are looking for. But I took it the same way I did when I was cranking them up on FM radio or a shitty casette tape -- the music was filled with energy and made me glad to be alive. It worked for me.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Fast Film said...

my take (with photos!)

2:02 PM  
Blogger Treehouse-Dweller said...

That's exactly what Jesse said!!!! (The CSI medley thing.) We both thought it was not that great, and kind of sad to boot.

5:29 PM  

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