11 Replies to “The High Numbers”

  1. Like all youth movements, the mods come across like a bunch of self-involved twerps. But damn, The Who were just effortlessly cool.

    “Uh, no … I’m a mocker.”

  2. I would love to have seen the Who at he height of their powers. Renfield did you see them? I only saw them after Moon was dead, and they weren’t so great. At least Entwistle was still alive. I’d still go see Pete play solo if he were to decide to do that sort of thing again, but you’d have to give me free tickets and buy the beer to get me to see the Who now.

  3. I saw them in 1975 at the Coliseum. They were supporting The Who By Numbers. They were great. My brother saw them a few years earlier touring for Who’s Next. He said that was a better show, possibly because it was at Ellis Auditorium, which was smaller. Best of all, I have a friend who saw them in Jackson, MS in the 60’s when they were still wearing frilly Austin Powers suits, using smoke bombs and breaking shit. I don’t remember if Pete broke a guitar, but they did the smoke bomb thing like you see in the Monterey Pop festival clip with the drums falling apart, etc. The police, already on edge by the sheer weirdness of these guys in a place like 60’s Jackson, freaked out and called in the fire department. I wish I coulda been there.

  4. They must’ve been starting to seem kind like geezers by 75, no? I’m still jealous of you seeing them with that full line-up. I’ve never heard of them touring the south that early in their career. I need to look that up. I don’t remember Ellis Auditorium, but looking it up, it does seem like a pretty legendary venue (Bowie!).

    1. They didn’t seem like geezers to me just yet, because they put on a full-throttle, knockout show. I’d put it in my all-time top five shows. Of course they seemed like brontosauri a few years later when just after punk’s annus mirabilis, they released Who Are You. Seriously?

  5. I saw them in ’89 at the Oakland Coliseum. I didn’t get into them until college, and at the time thought Tommy was the best thing ever.

    This was The Kids Are Alright Tour, which heavily featured Tommy. Townshend had lacerated his right hand windmilling in Tacoma two weeks prior, so we were worried they might cancel the show. Even from the nosebleed seats, you could see his paw wrapped in a giant bandage. It fucking ruled.

    1st SET
    It’s a Boy
    Amazing Journey
    The Acid Queen
    Pinball Wizard
    We’re Not Gonna Take It
    Eminence Front
    Let My Love Open the Door
    Face the Face
    I’m a Man (Bo Diddley cover)
    I Can’t Explain
    I Can See for Miles
    Trick of the Light
    Boris the Spider
    Who Are You

    2nd SET
    Magic Bus
    Baba O’Riley
    My Generation
    A Little Is Enough
    Love, Reign O’er Me
    Sister Disco
    Rough Boys
    You Better You Bet
    Behind Blue Eyes
    Won’t Get Fooled Again

    Naked Eye
    Twist and Shout

  6. I saw them on the same tour in Tampa. It was kind of a shitshow (the crowd – Tampa rock and roll rednecks on acid. The worst), but when they did Love Reign O’er Me, right as Roger belted out the chorus for the first time, the bottom dropped out and it POURED rain for a few minutes. It was the wildest thing. I’ve been at a couple of parties and heard people talk about it, and yelled across the room – I was there!

  7. The whole Tommy thing is interesting. It shouldn’t have worked live, but they made it work by playing the fuck out of it (I’m going by the expanded Live at Leeds performance–I never saw them play it all). Of course the clunky plot-driven transition parts didn’t work live, but for me they never worked in the studio version either. But they deserve respect for pulling it off as well as they did.

    1. Yeah, I was never a Tommy fan, but that shit sounds ferocious live. I’ve heard Quadrophenia was a nightmare to do live and they didn’t pull it off so well. I’ve never heard live recordings from that period. I’ll get on that.

  8. I’ve been a semi-fan of Tommy since I first heard it. I’m not sure why PT wanted to call it a “rock opera,” because it doesn’t much work like an opera. Putting that aside, the goofy parts are just goofy, but for me the glorious parts outweigh them. I listened to the studio version the other day because I realized I hadn’t heard it all in years. I still love 80-90 percent of it.

    For me it works better on CD (or I guess streaming) than it did on lp, as you can just play it through.

    I never bonded with Quadrophenia for some reason. When it came out I remember a fair amount of people besides me were disappointed with it. Maybe it lacked the amount of tunes that Tommy had? That seems likely, as PT’s writing had changed quite a bit by that time. But it seems like its reputation has grown over the years, whereas Tommy’s has faded a bit. I haven’t heard the whole thing since the 70’s. Time to give it a spin and reconsider. I’d also love to know how it went live, FE.

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