September 23, 2020

2007-03-09 – Tampa Bay Times

2007 03 09 Tampa_Bay_Times_Fri__Mar_9__2007_ 3

The Who fuels a flashback

I’ll understand if not everyone is
familiar with the film version of the
rock opera memy.

Based on the acclaimed double
album by the Who and starring the
band’s Roger Daltrey, Tommy hit the-
aters in 1975. By my math, that’s about

29 years before
Dakota Fanning was
even born.

Granted, my math
skills are poor. Nine
out of seven friends
agree. And consider:

I’m the guy who gets

totally confused

watching Are You GERSHMAN
Smarter Than a 5th The Navigator

(I’m not confused by the questions,
mind you. I’m confused about why Jeff
Foxworthy still has a career.)

Regardless, upon hearing that the
Who will play the Ford Amphitheatre
on ”Duesday, I was filled with nostalgia
over seeing Tommy as a child.

Okay, nostalgia might not be the
right term. Maybe post-traumatic
stress disorder.

See, my mom —- who of course is the
best mom in the world, 99 percent of
the time — happened to be a huge Who
fan in the 19705. She especially loved the
British rock band’s 1969 release Tommy.

For point of reference, the double
album — written almost entirely by
guitarist Pete Townshend — contains
the classic tracks Pinball Wizard, I’m
Free and We’re Not Going To Take It.

The album also tells the story of
a boy who went psychosomatically
blind, deaf and mute after witnessing
his stepfather kill his father.

The tale, related in even more
graphic, histrionic fashion by direc-
tor Ken Russell in the film, wasn’t
just traumatic for Tommy. It also was
mighty traumatic for a wide-eyed 6-
year-old boy dragged to the film by his
Who-crazed mother.

Looking back, I can hardly believe
Tommy was only rated PG in the
United States, though the rating had
more meat on it before PG-13 arrived.

The movie is plenty Violent and per-
verse, Oliver Reed and Jack Nichol-
son (in a small role) are plain creepy,
and late Who drummer Keith Moon
is nightmare-inducing as Tommy’s
sadistic “Uncle Ernie.” Who lead singer
Roger Daltrey played the boy as a teen
and adult.

Granted, these days you see some
parents dragging their preschciolers to
- adult fare like Saw XII and Friday After

Associated Press

The Who, including “brilliant" guitarist Pete Townshend, above, and Roger
Daltrey, will play the Ford Amphitheatre on Tuesday.


The Who
with Rose Hill Drive

7:30 pm. Tuesday at Ford Amphi-
theatre, 4802 US. 301 N, Tampa.
Tickets: $56 to $181. Call 740-2446

the PhZIayA/ier Next, so I guess I should
cut Mom some slack She did give me a
great appreciation for the Who, which I
expect to still be great live.

Moon and bassist John Entwis-
tle have passed on (in 1978 and 2002,
respectively), but the core of Towns
hend and Daltrey remain.

They’re also coming off their first
studio album as a group in more than
two decades (the surprisingly good
Endless Wire).

While Townshend has always been

a great musician, he also has a heck of

a way with words. I can’t let an oppor-
tunity to write about the Who pass

without noting my top five Towns-
hend quotes:

5. “I had been shamed by Roger
into doing quite a few tours to help
John, who then promptly (expletive)
dies on us.” ,

4. “The people at Woodstock really
were a bunch of hypocrites claiming a
cosmic revolution simply because they
took over a field, broke down some
fences, imbibed bad acid and then tried
to run out without paying the band.”

3. "When you actually hear the back-
ing tracks of the Beatles without their
voices, they’re flippin’ lousy.”

2. “As a young man, every bone in my
body wanted to pick up a machine gun
and kill Germans. And yet I had abso-
lutely no reason to do so. Certainly
nobody invited me to do thejo .”

1. “The fact of the matter is, I’m
(expletive) brilliant. Not ‘was’ brilliant.
‘Am’ brilliant.”

Rick Gershman can be reached at
rgershman @sptimescom 07‘ 226 «3431 .