Feb 10

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?

Jan 20

My g-g-g-generation

January 20 - tehshow-superbowl Have you noticed how ever since Janet Jackson’s infamous Super Bowl halftime show wardrobe malfunction in 2004, the NFL powers that be have opted for burnt out rockers? Fearful of another prime-time, real-time show-and-tell, the league has brought us Sir Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Prince, Tom Petty, Bruce and, now, the surviving members of The Who.

Don’t get me wrong. I love staying tuned to see what these dinosaurs still have left and, with the exception of Sir Paul’s gig (which I witnessed firsthand in frigid Jacksonville), have really enjoyed the shows.

But, knowing market demographics as well as I do, I wonder what’s going on. Is the average NFL fan an aging Baby Boomer whose idea of cutting-edge music some combination of ‘Live and Let Die,’ ‘Start Me Up,’ ‘1999,’ ‘Born in the U.S.A. or  ‘Magic Bus’? My gut tells me the average fan’s age has to be decidedly younger and, dare I suggest it, skewing towards urban and country tunes. Yet, we continue to see senior citizen rockers playing dramatically shortened, sanitized version of 40-year-old classics.  

And, that’s just fine by me. In fact, borrowing a phrase from The Who’s ‘My Generation’ classic, ‘….I hope I die before I get (real) old…’ and have to suffer through Snoop, Sizzla, Tim McGraw or Faith Hill performing at halftime. I think, instead, I’ll just f-f-f-fade away.

Thanks to Tom Powers for his assistance in researching this topic.