Monday, February 8, 2010

Who is Old? The Who, That's Who

The Super Bowl was played yesterday. Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints on their amazing victory! The game itself was superb. It was very exciting and I'm really glad that I watched it. What wasn't so exciting and what I wasn't so thrilled to have been subjected to was the halftime performance of The Who.

If you were wondering just how old the members of The Who are, you weren't the only one. The number four most frequently searched topic of yesterday according to Google Trends was "how old is roger daltrey". Roger Daltrey is 65 and Pete Townshend is equally geezer-ific at 64. Now, I'm not saying that if you're old that you still can't bring the rock like you did when you were younger. But before decimating this particular performance, I want to point out that the song "My Generation" was conspicuously absent from the song list. There's a reason for that and it lies somewhere in the lyric of "Hope I die before I get old." Well, that didn't happen, as they're clearly old and clearly alive. The lyric could have easily been changed to "Hope I die before I make an ass out of myself by performing at the Super Bowl when I am clearly past my prime and unable to fake it any longer."

I'm not sure exactly who the chap was that was seated behind the drums. All I know is that is was not the original drummer of The Who. The original drummer was Keith Moon and he died in 1978. I'm pretty sure that he was one in a long string of musicians that was unceremoniously found face down in his own vomit. There's a lot of ways that you can leave this world, but I've gotta think that head first in a puddle of your own excrement is one of the least dignified methods available, wouldn't you?

I will credit Roger Daltrey with continuing to have an enormous lung capacity to belt out these songs, as it was evident during his performance that he was capable not so much of carrying a tune as much as he was simply shouting the songs. He was sporting some sort of pale blue eyewear that wasn't always evident that is was, in fact, a pair of glasses. For a good three minutes, I thought the man had way overdone it on the eye shadow. (Also, his harmonica playing days seem to be behind him as well.

And old man Pete can definitely still play that axe of his. They music part was fine. It was the singing/yelling part that wasn't so fine. Oh, and the sheer terror that Pete Townshend's shirt, which began to unbutton at the bottom, might actually come flying all the way off, leaving viewers to gape at the spectacle of a bare chested, 64-year old British man surrounded by several colorful laser beams and a vast array of pyrotechnics.

Overall, it was probably the worst Super Bowl halftime show I have ever seen. It was one of the worst live musical performances that I have ever seen outside of the Super Bowl as well. I don't have any problem with the elderly performing their classics, but only as long as they can actually perform them. Who was last year's entertainer? Bruce Springsteen? He's an oldster and he did just fine (right up until he slid across the stage in his too tight leather pants and plowed into a cameraman). Prince was awesome. I know he's not old, but it has been quite a while since he's had a hit (and if that song that he wrote for the Minnesota Vikings is any indication, it's going to be quite a while before he has another). He did fine. Was it Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction that caused the halftime entertainment to veer from something that people enjoy watching to something that has people who are under 25 just cringing and confused? Was that it? Nipplegate? Was that the problem?

All I know is that if we never see The Who perform live again, it will probably be for the best. I'm happy and thankful for all of the songs that they have given us over the years (most notably those that were written and originally performed when they were just kids and likely high as freaking kites), but there's no need for me to actually perform the songs any longer. I know it's them. Isn't that good enough. Man, I hope so. I certainly don't want to be subjected to anything like that anytime soon. The video of a large portion of this debacle is below. See for yourself.

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