October 28, 2020

2010-02-09 – Pittsburgh Post Gazette

2010 02 09 Pittsburgh_Post_Gazette_Tue__Feb_9__2010_

The Who boys rocked like they were 99

By Scott Mervis
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ever since the Great Wardrobe
Malfunction of 2004 we’ve had
a steady run of tried-and—true
classic-rock acts for the Super
Bowl halftime: Paul McCartney,
The Rolling Stones, Prince, Tom
Petty and Bruce Springsteen.

All of them more or less lived
up to their reputations on the
50-yardline.

The Who on Sunday night in
Miami could be the end of the
line.

We’re truly glad Pete Towns-
hend and Roger Daltrey didn’t die
before they got 01d, like their explo-
sive rhythm section sadly did. But
the Super Bowl, with a Viewing
audience of 100 million, was too
big of a stage for two-fourths of
The Who.

Slogging through a choppy
medley — and when did medleys
become acceptable again? —
that included “Pinball Wizard,”
“Baba O’Riley” and “Won’t Get
Fooled Again,” they looked and
sounded too much like grandpas.
Movements were stiff, voices
were shaky, timing was off, and,
at 65, Mr. Daltrey might want to
sing about something other than
“teenage wasteland.”

Having grown up with The
Who, I sat there Sunday night
hoping the geezers would show
the kids how it’s done, especially
following that night of pretty
lame Grammy music. Instead, I
slumped a bit more in the couch.
Even the big Daltrey scream was
enhanced to the max.

McCartney, the Stones and
Springsteen all brought some-
thing new to the dance, even if
most fans would have preferred
the old hits. The most recent song
The Who did was 32 years old —
1978’s “Who Are You” — further
proving that its relevance has
faded.

commentary

Eric Gay/Associated Press

Roger Daltrey of The Who performs during halftime of the NFL
Super Bowl XLlV Sunday in Miami.

On Monday, critics took the
argument to social networking
sites with comments like “The
Who were WhorribleI!” while
others defended the band, say-
ing, “Let’s see you rock like that
when you’re 65!”

But is that really the standard
for Super Bowl entertainment?
Who can rock the hardest at 65?
There are lots of younger bands
who can rock like they’re 25 ... or
even 45.

Fueling the fire a bit Monday
was Mr. Townshend, who said,
“You know, you could kind of tell
from the stage the crowd is really
here for the game. It was nice for
that reason. It was nice to feel a
part of something and not having
it all to be about us. We’re too far
gone to care, I think.”

If the band is “too far gone to
care,” then why even bother?

The Boss, for instance, played
that gig like it was about him
— even though we knew it was
about the Steelers! — and, sure
enough, there are lots of people
who watch the Super Bowl for the
national anthem, the halftime
show and the commercials (love
those babies!). Besides, Saints-
Colts will not go down as one of
more memorable games in Super
Bowl history.

My guess is that the NFL won’t
get fooled again.

Next year, it’ll roll the dice
again on younger talent. Prob-
ably not the Jonas Brothers or
Taylor Swift. But Black Eyed
Peas, Coldplay, The Foo Fighters
or something else from this gen-
eration.

Scott Mervis: smervis@post—
gazette.com 0r 412-263—25 7 6.