A Thought Upon Seeing The Who

Unless the United States works to ensure an adequate and affordable supply of energy, rock concerts like those put on tonight by The Who at the Verizon Center will become things of the past. An energy policy based on imposed scarcity will render these kind of performances prohibitively expensive. (More prohibitively expensive? Who tickets tonight ranged from $55 to $250.)

A great number of people — 13,000 or so — gained a great deal of enjoyment from seeing Roger Daltrey, Pete Townsend and their bandmates play tonight amid a vast staging of lights, giant video screens, musical instruments and amps, amps, amps. (No “Live at Leeds” sonic onslaught though; Townsend’s hearing problems require reasonable decibel levels, one suspects.) No doubt some would like the most intense form of permittable entertainment to be pan pipes and lutes amid the meadows, but a vital, successful culture — and economy — needs more, not fewer, live performances of Baba O’Riley. Talk about energy.

Amusingly enough, this aging rock fan struck up a conversation with a young woman on the bus ride home who turned out to be an USPIRG canvasser, working on “clean energy” issues. USPIRG opposes America’s “wasteful dependence on dirty fossil fuels like oil, coal and nuclear energy.” (What?) At the same time, the 20-something idealist loves live concerts of bands like Steve Miller, Tom Petty and Santana. “Man, those rock shows sure use a lot of energy,” one observed.

She grimaced.

P.S. Amazing show. Daltrey sounds better than he has since Tommy, and Pete Townshend IS rock guitar. Ringo Starr’s son, Zak Starkey, captured the Who’s drum sound with vigor, and the band was tight, tight, tight. What great professionals. The new stuff from Endless Wire was fine, just fine. For a good review of an earlier show in Phoenix, try this blog post. UPDATE (7:45 a.m.): Washington Times review here.

P.P.S. We gave some thought to filing a lawsuit if The Who failed to live up to expectations. But then we looked at the small-type disclaimers on the tickets. Huh. Wouldn’t have done any good. Who performances are covered by a 25-year statute of rock ‘n roll repose.