Teenager meets The Who

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 25 08:50:11 CDT 2004

The Guardian sent a 17-year old out to see some of the
60's musicians now touring in the U.K. Here's his
report on The Who. The full report is at:

One revision-packed month later, I arrived at the
Royal Albert Hall to see the Who. I was hopelessly
early, the show was a benefit gig for the Teenage
Cancer Trust and after a few minutes of conversation
with an ingratiating steward it became painfully clear
that she thought I was a patient. Eventually, two
middle-aged blokes emerged on stage under biblical
spotlighting. Their first song, Who Are You?, was a
primitive howl. The balder of the two (who had made
the interesting decision to wear wraparound
sunglasses) treated his guitar like a musical
punch-bag, while the singer bounded around the stage,
stopping occasionally to take a sip from a cup of tea.
I had never knowingly heard a song by the Who until
that moment, and it completely blew me away. It was
heart-wrenching, belligerent rock music, authoritative
and powerful, but at times almost paradoxically
tender. I began to empathise with the droves of
middle-aged fathers and (to a lesser extent) mothers,
who put on the My Generation album for their children
and order them to appreciate it. "Listen to that
class, son!" By the final guitar solo, a bald
fortysomething man a few rows in front of me was in
floods of tears, and a few rows behind a
be-dreadlocked 20 year old in a singlet had his eyes
closed and his head raised to the ceiling, conducting
his own silent prayer for another encore. 

It never came, but my Who experience at least was far
from over. The next day, the Guardian had arranged to
have my photo taken with the singer, Roger Daltrey.
Outside the dressing room there was time for more
confusion over whether or not I had cancer, which did
nothing to make me feel any less awkward about meeting
a rock legend who I wouldn't have recognised in the
street the day before. As it turned out, he was
charming. He agreed with me about the Beach Boys'
Smile and gave me a free ticket for that night's
charity show, featuring the Stereophonics ("Get this
boy a ticket now!"). When I told him, even Alexis
seemed impressed, at least until I got to the bit
about the Stereophonics ticket, which he said sounded
more like a punishment than a present. I was beginning
to wonder if the Guardian's rock critic knew anything
about music at all - the concert was brilliant.

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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