04 April 2009

The Who - The Real Surf Band Returns

They were kicked out of Australia in 1968 for drinking their own beer on a plane. Prime Minister John Gorton told them never to come back - so they didn't, well not for a long time. OK they're in their 60's but surfers and other Who tragics have been waiting 40 years for these guys to come back to Oz. "We haven't been here for a long time because its such a s**t hole" announced Pete Townsend from the Albert Park stage. They sang "I hope I die before I get old" and thankfully they are still youthful.

Back in the early 70's when the Oldfartsurfer was a grommet The Who Live at Leeds was pumping out the back of every panel van around the coast. It was real music that made you want to grab a can of beer and jump up and down on lounge room couch It is still considered by music critics to be one of the best live albums of all time. The Who were famous for their guitar smashing live performances, songs about disafected youth, wirdos and outcasts, not No. 1 hits. That's why we loved em, no one else seemed to, we could relate to what their songs were about and the powerful music. Still relevant today, their music can be heard on our sons undderground skate movies along with the latest rap artis.

The Oldfartsurer had to put up with noisy F1 race and buy Platinum tickets but it was worth the spot 10 m from the stage moshing with all the other over 50's! A lot of pommie accents in the crowd as in pommieland and the US The Who are as big, if not bigger than the Stones or the Beatles. It was great to see some gen Y's singing every word along with 14 and 17 yo nephews who loved it.

Roger Daltry sipped from a mug throughout the concert, persumable an elixer to keep the greatest rock voice from cracking up mid concert. Pete bashed and crashed his guitars with his signature windmill style and the crowd went berko on every bash. The concert was staged to finish the Australian F1 Grand Prix at Albert Park on a perfect clear still night. Master of the power chord, Pete, thought there was a motor bike race there ealier won by "some f**king pommie prick who was going to buy a car off me once and never did".

The concert opened with a few of their old 60's hits like Can't Explain, moved through some of their big ones like My Generation, Baba O'Rielly, Behind Blue Eyes, Who Are You, Won't get Fooled Again (including the big guitar crash and scream from CSI), 5:15 & Rain O're Me from Quadraphenia, and the encore started with Pinball Wizard and went through a half hour version of Tommy (including all those fantastic overture and underture instrumentals) before finishing with just Pete and Roger on stage for a quiet accoustic number to finish. The band were as tight as anything the Oldfartsurfer had heard, allowing Pete to go crazy on the guitar. Pete and drummer Zak Starky (Ringo's son) had a great rapport using a lot of eye contact to pump out some massive finishes to songs.

"Smash yer guitar Pete" yelled someone at the front as he was about to launch into the encore set. "Do you realise that if I smash my f**king guitar then thats the end of the concert" replied Pete, "and that would be the end of it, we used to smash our gear to get out of doing what we are about to do - an encore". Thankfully Pete didn;'t smash his guitar and the encore went off briallantly, except for a small technical hitch with Pete's accoustic guitar in the final number. Pete's frustration showed on his face but the show must go on and they finished the song. At the end Pete picked the $10k Gibson up by the neck and made as if to smash it , the crowd roared in anticipation, but he put it down gently and he hugged Roger for a final bow.

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