September 23, 2020

1989-04-30 – Hartford Courant

1989 04 30 Hartford_Courant_Sun__Apr_30__1989_ 2

Reunion of the Who offers nothin g new

Continued from Page G1

gospel group that was receiving

an award for its influence on rock.

, . Now, everybody expects the Who

. to be experts in US. soul music, but

. - it was manager Kit Lambert who
- persuaded the band to do the kind of

. James Brown covers that appeared

: on its first album because its prime

audience —- the young, well-dressed

” Mods in England — were also soul

'~ fanatics.

’ Townshend said that when he

heard the Soul Stirrers, “I just got

- goose bumps.” He said he was re-
’ minded that rock was not a British
j byproduct. “America is where this

. music came from. And if American

3 audiences want the Who to go on the
—- road, I should be prepared to do it.
‘ It’s an honor.”
_ So now, with no new album
planned, they’re back, planning to
appear largely as the Who, circa
1970 — “when the Who live show
< was essentially born.” More likely, that’s when American FM rock radio started to embrace the Who, making “Who’s Next” an FM staple and the rock opera “Tom- . my” a classic. ‘ ' It will be a wildly supplemented band this summer — with a key- boardist, horn section, three back- ground singers and percussionists as well as the second replacement for original drummer Keith Moon, who 80 we have an admittedly crippled band getting together to play no new group material so as to re-create a period of music a generation old largely for a new generation. died in 1978. It’s quite a gang re- quired to replicate a quartet. What’s more, the slashing guitar of Townshend, which defined the band as much as Moon’s drumming, will be gone. Because of his tragic hearing loss and the frequencies of electric guitars that are at the same level as his tinnitus (ringing in the ears), he will be playing acoustic guitar throughout, leaving electric guitar to another, younger musician with undamaged ears. So we have an admittedly crippled band getting together to play no new group material so as to re-create a period of music a generation old largely for a new generation. Why should we be any more excited than if the original cast of “Hair” was reuniting? At least when the Rolling Stones get back together, as they will later this year, they will have recorded an album first. So when they hit the stage, they will be presented as something ongoing and potentially viable, rather than a mere oldies act. The Who has decided to beat the impending group of Who imitators by standing in as their own imita- tions. Daltrey and Townshend say they’re launching the tour to mark the 25th anniversary of the band, the kind of anniversary a bunch of vital young rockers like the early Who — who weren’t even 20 when they start- ed the band — would have certainly snickered at. Listen to the cynicism of Town- shend himself, addressing the arena dates: “It really doesn’t matter whether the music is good or the music is bad. When 80,000 pe0ple are in the stadium, music is not the most important thing.” Asked why the tour does not have a corporate sponsor, Townshend said it’s “not because we’ve turned any- one down. Nobody’s come forward.” Instead of being reminded of “Hope I die before I get old,” they might be reminded of another lyric that might come back to haunt them: “We won’t get fooled again.”