September 28, 2020

2010-02-07 – Pittsburgh Post Gazette

2010 02 07 Pittsburgh_Post_Gazette_Sun__Feb_7__2010_

How’s The Who?
Not right for us

his Super Bowl half-

time show may be the

last time America

feels like partying
for a while, so why feature an
English rock band that hasn’t
had a hit since Ronald Rea-
gan’s first term?

Don’t get me wrong. I loved
The Who when I was a teen
in the 19708. I wore down the
grooves of “Quadrophenia”
and “Who’s Next” and, some-
where in my attic, I’m sure
I could find “Live at Leeds.”
(I’d check, but

already scary.

How much we can blame
this on the presidents rather
than on the American bor-
row-and-spend ethos might be
a discussion livelier than any
halftime show. We seem to be

smashing our credit record
with the same enthusiasm

that The Who’s Pete Townsh-
end once smashed guitars.

Of course, news from
across the pond tells us that
members of the European
Union — notably Greece, Por-

tugal, Spain

it’s freezin’ up and Ireland
there.) — have gone
That said, pretty deeply
this is the same into the red,
group that too. So one
sang “I hope might argue
I die before I it’s just as
get old,” a line well that. our
11:2hat leaDd stinger B RI AN bhg hafiftlme
oger a rey I s ow as an
spattwith sin- 0 N El ”- (iinternfationlal
ceri y. raw. eop e
Hearing the world over

that ancient anthem from a
65-year-old mouth? Comical.

I realize I sound like a
crank, the very sort of soul
Daltrey told to “f-f—f—fade
away.” I also realize, as a high
school friend put it on Face-
book (a Web site heavier with
AARP members each passing
day) that the Super Bowl half-
time act always features “gee-
zers”; the last five acts were
Paul McCartney, the Rolling
Stones, Prince, Tom Petty and
Bruce Springsteen.

True, but there is some-
thing just so defiantly English

about The Who that they
seem out of place at dead cen-
ter of our uniquely American
game. While it’s true that
McCartney and the Stones are
fellow British Invasion veter-
ans, The Who alone seasoned
an album with BBC accounts

of fights between “mods” and
“rockers.”

Having The Who play the
Super Bowl is like having the
Beach Boys play for the Eng-
lish Premier League.

We need a big American
party because this may be,
or at least should be, our last
great diversion before we
get down to the serious busi-
ness of f iXing the country.
Congress just allowed us all
to go $1.9 trillion deeper into
federal debt, and President
Barack Obama is shatter-
ing the deficit records set by

President Reagan and the
Presidents Bush, which were

seem to be alike in at least one
sense: Nobody wants to pay
for anything.

So, this weekend, when
we relax by watching impos-
sibly massive bodies hurtle
into each other at great speed
while we reach for our 137th
chip, we will also see The
Who. Europeans may tune in
so they can better understand
America, or to see the aged
rockers. Millions of us in this
increasingly global commu-
nity may sense that this could
be the last big party for a lot
of people.

Only a few, however, will
remember this:

"Is there a group called
the How? Somebody asked
me when the How were com-
ing and I didn’t know how to
answer. You’ve told me how,
now tell me when.”

I’m sorry. That last quote
doesn’t have much to do with
anything I’ve said previously.
But the rules of Pittsburgh
journalism clearly state that
any story on The Who must
eventually include that state-
ment from Mayor Sophie
Masloff on May 26, 1989, at a
Stadium Authority meeting
to approve an appearance
by The Who at Three Rivers

Stadium.
Sophie is 92 and still rocks.

Now let’s play some football
— the American kind.

Brian O’Neill: boneill@post—
gazettecom or 412-263-194 7.