Providence struck recently in the form of a couple of tickets to everyone's favorite farewell tour band, The Who. We witnessed them perform last night to a mostly sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden. This marked the fourth time I've seen the band live in concert.
The fact that the band has been reduced to two of its original founding members, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, isn't nearly as odd as this statistic: in each of the four performances I have attended, a different drummer has been present!
Never mind Spinal Tap's John "Stumpy" Pepys, Eric "Stumpy Joe" Childs, Mick Shrimpton, and Joe "Mama" Besser. This is real life, folks, and the list goes: Keith Moon, Kenney Jones, Simon Phillips, and Zak Starkey. Thankfully, our seats weren't close enough that we were ever in danger of being struck by the errant effluvium of a spontaneously exploding Mr. Starkey (yes, Ringo's son - and no, he didn't spontaneously explode, either).
It is hard to believe a) that these guys can still rock (and can they ever!), and b) that it was thirty
years ago when I first saw The Who, also at the Garden; I was a mere -1 years old (no need to do the math: I'm 29). It was a thundering performance, back in the era of Pete Townshend's gravity-defying leaps, and Daltrey's big golden hair and fringed suede vest. John Entwistle and Moon were polar opposites in terms of the energies they expended: the former remaining stark still save for his kinetic fretwork, the latter barely able to remain seated behind a massive drum kit that looked more like a stack of platinum oil drums riveted together.
What a band, then and now.Different drummers (left to right: Keith Moon, Kenney Jones, Simon Phillips, Zak Starkey)