2) Drinkie-talkie at formerly fonky Fred's made me a li'l sad to realize that I really can't afford to eat there anymore. While I'm happy to see the two-percenters spending their money with friends of mine, that also means that it's no longer really "our" place, and I believe (like Dylan) that "one should never be where one does not belong." A down thought. Then my sweetie posted her last photos from the Wreck Room on Facebook, and it occurred to me why I'm really not down with the "curmudgeon zone." Thomas DeBaggio says it far more eloquently than I could, in When It Gets Dark:
An artifact is sometimes necessary to light a long hidden memory. When all the artifacts disappear, memories lie dormant in a place where the past cannot be examined with the fresh eye of the present. Memory, which others may call history, has the power to nourish our inner lives, and without it much is lost to the present and to the future. Whether the absence of those personal landmarks and their memories is a fatal affliction remains to be tested.
3) Speaking of memories, I broke down and bought the DVD of the Y2K Who show at the Albert Hall I posted a couple of days ago, since it's beyond my ability to sit at the 'puter watching a movie for two and a half hours. I'd shied away from it before, because it's newer, but then I saw it on Youtube and remembered how happily surprised I'd been by their performance on that tour. It's in the same league and actually holds up better as an artifact than the 2002 "Ann Arbor revival meeting" where I witnessed Scott Morgan's Powertrane with Ron Asheton and Deniz Tek on their home turf at the Blind Pig in A2.
Sure, the "special guests" are kind of lame. Eddie Vedder's probably the best of 'em, but hearing him, Daltrey and Townshend all singing lead at once on "Let's See Action" is like bad karaoke, and Noel Gallagher is a truly dreadful guitarist who makes "Won't Get Fooled Again" sound like versions we played when I was in high school. Watching the extra shit, you find out that Paul Weller's inability to cut the jazz chords prevented Townshend from duetting "Sunrise" with him during the mid-show acoustic interlude. (The Jam-meister _almost_ redeems himself with an OK "So Sad About Us.") And who _is_ the whimpering donkey they got to sing "Substitute?"
On the plus side, violinist Nigel Kennedy's performance elevates "Baba O'Riley," and to compensate for losing the oppo to blow his harp there, Daltrey gets an extended, Cyril Davies-inspahrd coda to a "Magic Bus" that actually cuts the one on Live At Leeds. More to the point, the setlist is impeccable -- early hits rubbing shoulders with Lifehouse and Quadrophenia songs -- and Zak Starkey proves himself to be the perfect drummer for the Who because he doesn't try and match Moon roll for roll. There's a lot more dynamic variation to Zak's playing, which means the band can give the old warhorses nuances that were only latent there before.
When I saw them in Dallas, Townshend surprised me by really being able to play lead, unlike in the past, when he always seemed to be fighting against the instrument. Credit a few years of sitting around with his kid, listening to Coltrane records and practicing. The Strat suits him, providing more tonal variety than his trademark SGs and Les Pauls used to back in the day, and he uses his right hand fingers and whammy bar in a way that's more aggressive than latter-day Jeff Beck, but still highly effective. On the other hand, Entwistle's bass is too low in the mix everywhere except for his solo feature on "5:15."
When they're at their best is as a unit, the three-piece plus Rabbit Bundrick, who's been playing keys with them for over 30 years now, their sound rolling like a big wave on the extended codas to "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere," "The Kids Are Alright," and "The Relay" (_good_ Who funk, the latter -- the polar opposite of "Eminence Front"). Yeah, I'll say it: They were a better band in 2000 than they were when I saw 'em in '71.