The Who should know when to say when

February 10 - who Did you catch the surviving members of The Who performing at the Super Bowl halftime show? It was grim.

Don't get me wrong. I admire the energy and passion Messrs Daltry and Townsend demonstrated in Miami. But, the ravages of time sure showed.

Daltry's voice was raspy and he didn't dare try his microphone acrobatics in front of millions of viewers (I could just see it coming down and plunking him on the noggin). Nor did we see Townsend do his patented slide along the stage on his knees or bash the bejesus out of his guitar when he finished his licks.

These elder versions of The Who just didn't have it in them. But, how many 65-year-olds would?

Which is why The Who should know when to say when. I liked what I saw. But, what I saw was a bit of a bus wreck.

But, who am I to say The Who are through? So, I thought I'd take a quick, but wide-ranging, demographic sounding to ask others what they thought of the dino rockers. Here's what I got:

– 21-year-old Catharine Cody: 'Well, we liked the graphics and recognized the songs, but wondered why someone younger and cooler like Lady Gaga wasn't performing.'
– 24-year-old Chris 'Repman, Jr,' Cody: 'The homies and I love classic rock and enjoyed The Who. Renny (his friend) especially enjoyed 'Teenage Wasteland.'
– A 20-something Peppercom employee: 'We hit the mute button and listened instead to music we like.'
– 30-something comedian Clayton Fletcher: 'I turned it off. That says it all.'
– A 50-something corporate communications chief: 'I was grossed out seeing Pete Townsend's navel poking out from his shirt.'
– 55-year-old Tommy Powers: 'Their performance reminded me of an over-the-hill Willie Mays stumbling in centerfield in the 1973 World Series. They were way off their game at the Super Bowl.'
– Septegenarian Richard Harte: 'I loved their energy and envied the amount of money they must have been paid.'

I'll go with the majority and stick with my original opinion: The Who need to know when to say when. And, I think the NFL needs to know when to say when, when it comes to trotting out washed up rockers. Rock and roll may never die, but the Super Bowl halftime viewership ratings surely will if the producers don't wise up and book younger performers with broader appeal.

I’d like to open it up to you. Who would you like to see perform next year?

11 thoughts on “The Who should know when to say when

  1. Jay-Z has a face only Beyonce could love. He should stay in the background at ALL times. Same for ZZ Top. Lady Gaga is horrific. It’s easy to mock the old-timers but looking at the current music scene there’s really not a whole lot to pick from. Considering their age, I thought The Who did a good job.

  2. Thanks for the posts, guys. My typepad service hasn’t been alerting me of your comments, so I apologize for the delay. Mike: ZZ Top is a B-level group. Can’t believe they’d be considered for something this big.

  3. I’m with Lauren on this one – I think Jayz and Beyonce would give a good performance.
    I felt the Who came across as tired and lackluster, but realized it’s because I’m used to seeing “spectacles” like Lady Gaga. Interestingly, my older Woodstock-era brothers were pleased to see the Who still going. I walked away from the TV after the first minute – found the perf. boring.

  4. The NFL should definitely get over the Janet Jackson incident and diversify by picking a distinct genre every year. That said, I actually wanted to watch the Who perform. I wouldn’t be able to say the same for a Lady Gaga concert.

  5. It is interesting that we are finding out that part of their Super Bowl performance was enhanced by pre-recorded music…it would have been even more awful had they not used a veritable Ashlee Simpson musical lip-synch.

  6. They are already talking about who will be performing next year here in Dallas since the SB will be at the new Jerry World. The general consensus is ZZ Top. That would again be another trip through the time machine for the NFL. I think Lady GaGa is too young and new for the NFL audience. She is more appropriate for the NBA All Star game. Jay Z shouldn’t be allowed to perform outside after his debacle at the World Series.

  7. Catharine is right. Regardless of what we boomers may think, someone younger and cooler such as Lady Gaga would have been a much better choice. Does the NFL not care about growing its audience?
    As for The Who, they should have given it up once Keith Moon died. Without him and John Entwistle, there is no Who. The Super Bowl spectacle was embarrassing. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go listen to “Live at Leeds.”

  8. I have seen The Who in concert many times (with John Entwistle, but sadly, not with Keith Moon). As much as I love Pete and Roger, and as good a performance as they gave during the SuperBowl halftime show, I don’t think this venue is appropriate for classic rockers.
    The audience wants not only music, but spectacle — the likes of Lady Gaga and Beyonce — those are the types of acts that the NFL should book in future years. Unfortunately, Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” has ruined those opportunities.