October 21, 2020

2000-04-29 – South Florida Sun Sentinel

2000 04 29 South_Florida_Sun_Sentinel_Sat__Apr_29__2000_

Pete T ownshend opens up on VH1


THE 80510“ GLOK

Pop icon Pete Townshend has
agreed to reunite the Who this
summer for yet another farewell
tour, which will stop at the Mars
Amphitheatre in West Palm
Beach on Sept. 24.

F irst. though, he picked up an
acoustic guitar and plucked and
bashed his way through a frank
and intimate segment of VHl's
Storytellers, encoring at 1 pm.

Townshend talks as much as he
plays on the show. but much of it

is extremely revealing, shedding A

light on a complex figure who
may be best known for writing the
rock musical Tommy. but has

been a prolific
composer for
30-plus years.

Taped re-
cently in the
Halls in Lon-
don. the show
finds a confes-
sional Town-
shend admit-
ting that in his
early Who
days in the late '605 and '703, he
didn’t write much about himself
because he didn't think he had
much to say.

‘I looked around me and saw
the people I grew up with and
thought they were the subjects of
my work," he says. ”They were the

ones who were interesting.“ He
then adds playfully: ‘Now that
I've had a rich and varied life. I
think it’s time to write about me."

This show, however. mines the
past. not the present. quite skill-
fully. Townshend performs clas-
sic Who songs (Behind Blue
Eyes, Won 't Get F ooled Again.
and Baba O'Riley). along with
surprises such as Greyhound Girl
(an older B side). Pure and Easy
(a track left off the l97l Who's
Next album. which Townshend
considers the “finest straightfor-
ward. nonconceptual Who al-
bum"), and the opening Let '3 See
Action. 3 post~Tommy. pre-
Who's Next tune.

Townshend is backed ably by a
band that includes Pink Floyd

touring guitarist Phil Palmer, per-
cussionist Jody Unscott and key—
boardist John (Rabbit) Bundn'ck.
The music is sublime — and

'Townshend's commentary is

equally so. Although he shame-
lessly plugs his new six-C D boxed
set, Lifehouse Chronicles, which
will be sold on his Web site
(www.coxk), he
also fills in a lot of blanks for Who

He reveals that Baba O'Riley,
for instance. was a name chosen
as a combination of Meher Baba
(the Indian guru whose writings
Townshend was studying at the
time). and electronic musician
Terry Riley, given an added Irish
twist of O'Riley for the song title.

Townshend also talks at length

about how Behind Blue Eyes‘
which he calls ”the closest to a
love song that I ever got the Who" ‘
to pertorm.’ later took on mean-" ' i
mg somehow as being about Ger:
man fascism. He didn't realize it."
was perceived that way until thgj,‘
k’ho pe rformed it in Vienna in;
1996 and a hush fell over thy:
crowd. which he said seemed Sufi:
prised that the band was even do-z"
ing the tune L“

‘lt‘s crazy how a song can take
on a life of its own,” Townshend-
says during this insightful hour in
the S torytellers series, which this '
week celebrates its fifth anniver'. .,
sary of getting performers to step"
outside their typical concert per-f ‘
sonas and reveal more of them-
selves onstage.