Playing New Material

Bill McCue bill_macq at
Fri Mar 2 16:00:26 CST 2007

Reading some of these latest reviews has thrown me into a tizzy.
  When I saw (what's left of) The Who this past September in NYC, my problem with the new material wasn't that the songs aren't any good - some of them are in fact *very* good - but that the band showed so little passion and enthusiasm for playing them. 
  Christ, Pete practically apologized for playing them! And he and Roger couldn't have looked any more lifeless or apathetic if they tried. No wonder the crowd gets bored and restless when the new songs are played. The crowd is reflecting what they're seeing on stage. Boredom. Lifelessness. Apathy. 
  I guarantee you that if Pete was leaping about and Roger was twirling his mic just like they do during the old (boring) favorites, the crowd would be going bonkers over many of the new songs. Maybe not all of them, but definitely most of them. They're good songs! They deserve better! This is the first decent album these guys have put out since The Who By Numbers! C'mon, these songs should be cause for celebration, not an excuse to go buy some Cracker Jack.
  I know it's not always easy to hear new songs in concert. But there is something to be said for ramming the new stuff down people's throats. And if the songs are good, people will gobble them up! If you don't like them, put those negative feelings aside for a moment, but when I saw U2 during the "Zoo TV" tour, I bet the first hour of the show was almost 90 percent new material from Achtung Baby. And the crowd went nuts over those songs! Why? Because they're good songs! And the band played them with tons of energy and excitement - just as much, if not more, than what they put across for I Will Follow, New Years Day, Sunday Bloody Sunday and all of their other old favorites.
  But let's face it - most people are brainless lemmings who want to hear the same old thing over and over again. These are the same morons who burst into song every time "Sweet Caroline" comes on the jukebox and can't get out of their seats fast enough to join in with "YMCA" at Yankee Stadium. A lot of Who fans are the same way. It could be the eight gazillionth time they've heard Baba O'Reilly but by God, they will sing along at the top of their lungs, cluelessly shouting "We're all wasted! Grrr hrrr hrrrr!" as they clap each other on the back and drunkenly high five. 
  Why is Pete being such a wimp about playing new songs? Where's that old arrogant and lovable "tonight is about us, you are here to see and hear us, there will be no drinking beer, no chatting up birds, this is all about us"? (not an exact quote). He needs to put that attitude into the new songs. Otherwise people are going to continue to sit in their seats like zombies or worse, start a stampede to the beer line, or even worse, start talking OVER the music like most of the people around me started doing this past September when the band launched into the "mini opera." 
  Maybe I'm operating under a false assumption. I figure most of you are die hard Who fanatics who have seen the band multiple times in concert. Otherwise, why would you bother with a forum like this one? You have to be as nuts - if not more so - about the band as I am. You just have tobe. And if that's the case, my God, you have to be sick of half of the show the band is currently performing. You just have to be. 
  It's not enough? Yes, it is. On with the new, out with the old. Or at least up with some "new old." 

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