Rock Hall's "Night School" Who Lecture
schrade at akrobiz.com
Thu Apr 28 18:40:16 CDT 2005
I attended the second of The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's Who events
last night in Cleveland. It was part of their monthly "Rock & Roll
Night School" series & featured a college-type lecture on The Who's
early career (pre-TOMMY) called THE WHO BLOWS THINGS UP -
THE END OF THE BRITISH INVASION.
The event took place in the Rock Hall's small, intimate theater on
the fourth level. I'd say the place only sat about 100 & was attended
by around 80 people in the 25 - 60 age range (mostly older).
The lecture was given by a Rock Hall employee (didn't get his name)
who gives similar talks on various Rock & Roll history topics.
He opened the lecture by plugging in a guitar & playing the opening
chords to ICE (somewhat poorly!). That got our attention!
To give some background, he spoke about the state of music in the
1950s & early '60s. I started to get nervous after about 15 minutes
because The Who hadn't even been mentioned yet!
Finally, he began touching on The Who's early career, mentioning
the Scorpions, trad-jazz, Pete's musical family, & Doug "Sandon" (sic!)
He spent time discussing the interplay of the band members: Pete as
a rhythm player primarily, Entwistle's virtuosity, Daltrey's control, &
Moon's penchant for playing the drums with his arms held "high" rather
than "low" like most other drummers.
Then, a new speaker was introduced - a girl named Donna - who
provided some insight on Mod culture & what it meant to The Who.
I liked how audience participation was encouraged & after "Donna"
had disturbingly regurgitated the myth that Daltrey stuttered on "My
Generation" because it was cold in the studio I promptly spoke up &
set the audience straight. But, for the most part, this lecture was error-
The original speaker returned to the lectern & the role of Lambert &
Stamp was discussed leading into the Maximum R&B era.
Then, the lyrics for ICE were projected on the theater screen & the
song was discussed & then played at a surprisingly high volume. And
while still on the subject of ICE & Pete's growing voice as a songwriter,
the ICE clip from the TKAA movie was played, again, nice & loud.
This was starting to get fun! Who college!
The next topic was the MG album with emphasis on the title track
with the lyrics again on the screen & the song played loudly in the
theater, followed by discussion on Entwistle's technique. Then, the
MG clip from the Smothers Bros. show (TKAA) was played.
Next up was AQO & a discussion of the further progression of Pete's
songwriting skills with AQO's (the song's) core segments listed on the
screen followed by the playing of a portion of the song (studio version).
Time was running out so they quickly moved on to SELL OUT with
emphasis on "Armenia" which, the lecturer admitted, was a personal
favorite of his.
Finally, ICSFM was discussed with more lyric examination & a portion
of the song played.
The lecture came to an end with some of the group visiting the Rock
Hall proper to examine a few Who-related products. I didn't take part
in this as I was dying for a drink & decided I would visit the entire
Rock Hall in the future at my own leisure.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by the event. It *was* like a college
lecture - but on The Who! I liked the clips they showed, & the examin-
ation of song lyrics with pauses in the lecture to listen to the songs.
And the encouraged audience participation was nice, too, because
other people got to share info & opinions (I spoke up several times!).
One gentleman talked about seeing The Who in Cleveland around 1970.
And one brave lady had the gumption to state that she thought The Who's
vocals in the early days were always sub-par compared to the music!
Next month's Night School topics will be the various incarnations of
TOMMY & the rest of The Who's career.
For those of you coming to future Who Rock Hall events there is a
neat drinking establishment within walking distance of the Rock Hall.
It's called Hornblowers (nice name huh?) & sits right on Lake Erie
(S. Marginal Rd.) incorporating an old passenger boat motif.
Unfortunately they were closing about 9:00 PM (that's Cleveland for
ya') but the dude let me & my buddy in for two rounds of Dortmunder
on draft. There is a restaurant section, too, on the first level.
This would be the best place for any pre-event meet-and-greets, as it's
only a 5-minute walk from the Rock Hall.
The lecture was fun, Lake Erie looked beautiful, Cleveland looked im-
pressive, the Dortmunder tasted great, & I was filled with the spirit of
The Who. I'm anxiously looking forward to the next event (Director
of The Who's Isle of Wight film, Murray Lerner, on May 4th).
- SCHRADE in Akron
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