October 25, 2020

1969-05-30 – Chicago Tribune

1969 05 30 Chicago_Tribune_Fri__May_30__1969_

MUSIC

The Who makes it real

uTHEBE IS NO guarantee
that The Who will perform its
new rock ope1a,“'I‘ommy,”

in its entirety tonight and
temenow night when it

returns to the Kinetic play-
ground. But the-group did it
last night. and it is some-
thing to behold. It comes oif
even better on stage than on
record, and it capped off one
of the best shows at the play»
ground, or anywhere, in a
long time.

It is hard to see The Who
live without being convinced

that it is one of the best. if
not the best of the rock
grohps “around.“ The perform-
ers do very little improvis-
ing, very little toying around
on stage. They perfect what
they have created. They
make it come alive.

At the beginning of their
set they did some of their
earlier records —- “Anyway,
Anyhow Anywhere," “I Can’t
Explain”—and then because
“not enough of you - - - ~
showed up” [which wasn t at
all t1 ue but was mosttya
excuse], they decided to com-

bine their two shows and do .

the 90-minute opera, minus a
few parts they didn’t think
worked out on record [among
which was an overly long
overture].

Everything about their per-
formance was remarkable.
Peter Townshend, lead gui-
tarist and the group's writer,
had better control of his
guitar than almost any other
performer we’ve seen. He
jumped to his knees, brought

the guitar close to him.
pushed it away from him, not
for effect, hut in get sound
out of it. To get feeling out
of it.

Similarly. lead singer Rog-
er Daltrey struggled with the
microphone, screamed at it.
Drummer Keith Moon .and
bass guitarist John Entwistle
—ail of them. They had re-
markable control. And re-
markable knowledge of what
they were doing at every sec-

and.

“Tommy” is another story
in itself. It is about a deaf.
mute and blind child who

ience and tries to share his
experience with the masses,

who refuse it. That is, of
course, a vast oversimplifi-
eatiou. The feeling and the
sounds created by the opera
must be learned first hand.

Also on the hill at the
playground were Joe Cocker
[“With a Little Help from my
Friends”] and Buddy Rich—
Buddy Rich? At the play-
ground? Welt. not only was

.-he there, but he got two

much deserved standing ova-
tions

Both came at the end of his
set. during and after a drum
solo in a “West Side Story"
medley, and they proved that
anyone, even an old-timer
with a large orchestra [the
members of which were in
coats and ties] with a brassy
big-band sound, can make it
with the young if he’s good.
And Rich was.

The medley, which closed
Rich’s act, began with the
overture, moved into “Some-
where” I'played by his trom-
honistl, and then into “Some-
thing‘s Coming,” which in-
cluded Rich’s drum solo. The
sole was interrupted four
times by ovations. And it
made the solo in the Cream’s
“Toad seem almost like a
beginner’s exercise.

Joe Cocker opened the eve-
ning’s bill with mostly old
songs done in a new way—a
rock "Dear Landlord," Ray
Chatles’ “Let’s Get Stoned "
his slowed up, souled version

lives in an electric exPBYM—oi the Beatles’ “With a-little——.

Help £10m My F1iends.” He.
too, was good, the his prow-
ess with a song seemed some-
what diminished by the time
Rich and The Who had done
their sets. He puts a lot into
a song, and, like The Who,
comes off much better live
than on record.

The same bill continues to-
night and tomorrow night.
Sunday night only Joe Cocker
temains and he’ s joined by a
group called Soup.

Before The Who went into
“Tommy" they said those
who wanted to come back and
hear it in its entirety again
should not tell their friends
because if tee many people
showed up there would have
to he two shows, and thus not
enough time for the opera.
Sony, but we just couldn’t
quiet

Lew Harris