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Tom Wright photo exhibit
By now you will have received the publicity release from the Center for
American History concerning the photo exhibit and donation of Tom's
archives to the University. You'll note that music, correspondence,
were donated as well as photos. Since some have asked, herewith is my
report (short) on the exhibit.
The photos were all B&W except one, generally 4 x 6 feet, cibachrome.
(I had expected _many_ more photos, with some being 3" x 5" or 8" x 10"
-- i.e., smaller sizes.) They had a glossy finish, which hampered
viewing during the opening reception, which was during daylight hours
(lots of windows in the lobby), but probably would be less of a problem
at night with artificial overhead lighting. The one that was color was
an onstage shot in, I believe, Missouri, 1967, with Pete wearing a Union
Jack jacket and with his back to the camera. Who and Pete solo music
played quietly for about half the reception, ranging from cuts from the
original "Tommy" to "Pinball Wizard" off, I believe, Scoop II. A number
of cuts were taken from the non-Tommy part of "Join Together", the boxed
set from the '89 tour.
Some memorable photos (not to say the best, just the ones I remember):
* Headshot of Keith, with a Holiday Inn marquee in the background reading
Happy Birthday Keith. This was really his 20th birthday, but they all
said it was his 21st so he could drink; they used the newspaper stories
and photos to rig up a fake ID. All three of the remaining Who are at
the very bottom, under the marquee, but you could easily miss them.
This was the occasion of the party that led to Keith mashing his cake in
the manager's face and got them banned from Holiday Inns for two years.
* One of Pete, walking along a street in the French Quarter head down,
laughing, wide-angle shot; they had just come out of a bar after
partying all night. A waitress dared Pete to drink a tequila shot, and
he tried, but wound up secretly spitting it out into a towel. She saw
him do it, and wrung out the towel into a shot glass, filling it almost
up, proving he hadn't drunk it. They were laughing about this outside
when Tom took the picture.
* Keith backstage, in front of the sterile concrete halls and doors of a
concert venue, holding a French horn and wearing Levis which are missing
one entire leg, up to the crotch. It's dated Dallas, late 1970s on its
caption, but I was able to correct this, because it was actually from
the first time I ever saw The Who, November 25, 1973. (The Who also
played Dallas in 1976, not again until 1980). I do not remember this of
my own perception, but my friend remembers Keith coming out from behind
the drums at the end of the show with one pants leg missing (maybe I
wasn't wearing my glasses?)
* Roger with Heather, sitting on a couch and reading something together
backstage at Miami, 1989; the crew had rigged up black drops to make an
actual private room, which was lit by a lamp on an end table. With the
black folds above them, it was a very restful and intimate photo.
* Fred, Richard Barnes' son, and Pete sitting together in the back seat
of a limo, taken from the front seat, during the '89 tour. The caption
said that Fred was very outspoken in his opinion of onstage events (I
presume the music, visual effects, etc.) and his opinion was heavily
* Pete wearing his button-covered jacket designed by Karen, playing,
with smoke around him. Don't remember the date.
* John, sitting in a folding chair, with a bass in his lap, beside an
amp, backstage, early '80s.
* Roger, wearing a "Tommy" helmet, with a wide grin and a cigarette in
* A shot of the dress rehearsal at Radio City Music Hall, '89, taken
from the back of the house, with a double-exposure of a ceiling and
rigging cables curved over the top of the stage, and reflected
symmetrically to curve under the stage; the whole effect being the stage
inside a perfect circle of grey/white lines radiating away from the
The reception went on for about two hours, then Tom signed posters for
about 45 minutes.
There ya go, hope this was interesting. I have some folded one-sheet
pamphlet/flyers from the reception, which are pretty well-written
although not much any readers wouldn't already know. If you'd like one
send a long SASE.
3500 W. Balcones Ctr. Dr.
Austin, TX 78759-5398