San Francisco Chronicle on Shoreline
tjh at socrates.berkeley.edu
Mon Aug 9 20:09:53 CDT 2004
What a terrible review! I was pissed and I politely told Joel Selvin he
was full of shit. Here's what I sent to him:
> I was surprised when I read your review of The Who's concert at the
> Shoreline Ampitheatre. Were we at the same concert?
> The "Who Are You Kidding" headline for the Chronicle's web page was
> particularly mean-spirited. It was obvious to me that the crowd produced
> a synergy of emotion that Pete Townshend and the band used to enhance
> their performance. Sure the set list was another "Greatest Hits"
> rendition, but the audience was thrilled to hear the classics. The two
> new songs worked well and it was a pleasure to have fresh material.
> You've been much kinder in previous reviews of The Who (Bridge
> School immediately comes to mind). I agree that this version of The Who
> doesn't match the classic lineup with Keith Moon and John Entwistle, but
> how could it? Zak Starkey played passionately and as close to Moon's
> energy and creativity as anyone could. His enthusiasm and drive have
> breathed new life into the band. Pino Palladino may be the weak link,
> but perhaps he can evolve into his new role.
> The question shouldn't have been - Is this The Who? Readers wanted
> to know if this was a good concert. It seemed as if you had made your
> mind up before the show that you were going to trash the band and write a
> bad review. I'm convinced that you were in the minority if you felt this
> performance didn't excite the crowd, keep them standing for the entire 2
> hour set, and left them begging for more. Pete's guitar work was
> incendiary throughout the night and he shared some private moments with
> his fans. If there hadn't been a curfew, I think we might have seen a
> very rare double encore.
> I'm sorry you had such an unhappy experience. My hope is that Pete
> will ignore what you penned and give everything he's got to write some
> terrific new songs for this version of The Who. If you or anyone else
> wants to call it Who2, that's fine. Saturday's concert was well worth
> the $200 I paid (and even more so for those who saw it for $100 or even
> $20). I wish you had asked the 5 or 6 people in the center of the front
> row (who probably won tickets) what they thought of the concert and
> whether any current band could deliver anything equal to what we saw.
> Tim Herrlinger
At 04:30 AM 8/9/2004, you wrote:
>On line at:
>The Who? 2 middle-aged gentlemen, aided by sidemen,
>Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic
>The twin spotlights illuminated Roger Daltrey and Pete
>Townshend of the Who. The other four musicians onstage
>labored more anonymously in the shadows, grayed out
>under red lights. But that's Who's left.
>In the band's first Bay Area appearance since the July
>2002 shell-shocked show less than a week after the
>death of bassist John Entwistle, Townshend and Daltrey
>regrouped around a group of musicians who originally
>came together to play a 1994 "Daltrey Sings Townshend"
>solo tour during a period of time Townshend wouldn't
>have anything to do with reviving the Who.
>Drummer Zak Starkey made it possible. The son of Ringo
>Starr had been personally schooled in the maniacal
>style of Who drummer Keith Moon, who died in 1978, a
>crucial substitute who brought back chaos to the heart
>of Townshend's music, a fact Townshend acknowledged
>introducing the drummer Saturday at Mountain View's
>"Who history chases us around," Townshend said. "It's
>a very, very difficult chair to fill. This is the
>Who history does more than chase these men. Once one
>of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the face of
>the earth, the mighty Who has been reduced to a pair
>of middle-aged gentlemen propped up by professional
>sidemen, running through a crisply efficient, vigorous
>version of the band's old program.
>Townshend took swipes at the ravages of time --
>leaping around crazily and violently stroking his
>Marlboro red Stratocaster during the traditional
>three-song opening run of "I Can't Explain,"
>"Substitute" and "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere," as if he
>could somehow shake the whole thing back to life by
>himself. Daltrey, gorgeously oblivious, was the
>grateful marionette he has always been -- the struggle
>for the soul of the Who has always been Townshend's.
>Townshend was the zealot who clobbered Abbie Hoffman
>on the head when he tried to make a political speech
>during the Who's set at Woodstock. Music was more
>important than politics. In those days, the Who stood
>for something. Now the Who means million-dollar box
>office and $200 tickets.
>It wasn't as if Townshend and Daltrey took the
>opportunity to explore some of the intriguing nooks
>and crannies of the band's vast back catalog or bring
>some new ideas to some of the old songs or even play a
>song that might have come as a surprise. No, it was
>straight-down-the-middle FM classic rock radio Who --
>the band playing second-rate broadcast fodder like
>"You Better You Bet," "Who Are You" and "Eminent
>Front" straight-facedly as if they were certified Who
>For a group that has gone without a new album for more
>than 18 years, Townshend took pains to play both the
>mediocre two new numbers the band tacked onto yet
>another greatest hits album this year, a move that
>already smacked of a certain desperation for some kind
>of commercial relevance in today's marketplace, even
>before having to undergo the further humiliation of
>the new songs largely going ignored. "Real Good
>Looking Boy" finds Townshend writing again in the pop
>suite form of "A Quick One, While He's Away" that led
>to the rock opera, "Tommy," although "Real Good
>Looking Boy" is a long way from "Tommy."
>But then so was the 20-minute medley of "Tommy" that
>closed Saturday's show.
>E-mail Joel Selvin at jselvin at sfchronicle.com
>-Brian in Atlanta
>The Who This Month!
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