the last word on the 'oo @ the super bowl
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.