Playing New Material

Alan McKendree amck at
Sat Mar 3 10:24:38 CST 2007

> From: Bill McCue <bill_macq at>
> Date: March 2, 2007 4:00:26 PM CST
>   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.

Not to say you're wrong in your observations, but Pete has *always*  
practically apologized when the new music comes around, dating back  
to at least Tommy. He knows the audience is mainly there to hear "the  
hits" -- which in 1969 was Substitute, I Can't Explain, My  
Generation, etc.  Same with Quad, same with all the other albums as  
they came out.  The formula is:  open with some hits, play some new  
songs, then reward the audience (I know I've read him using the word  
"reward") with more hits and jams at the end.  E.g., Woodstock, where  
they played all of Tommy, then rewarded the audience with Summertime  
Blues, Shakin' All Over, and My Generation.  Now, they use See Me,  
Feel Me/Listening to You as the reward.

I see what you're saying about playing with little passion, but I  
think it's partly due just to their playing more carefully.  It's new  
material.  Exciting as Baba and WGFA are, everyone up there could  
just about do it while sleeping.  The tribute to them all (especially  
Pete & Roger) is that they DON'T sleepwalk through it, so they can  
give the audience the excitement they want.

Alan McKendree
"the average Texan...carries not just a gun but a SHOTGUN."  --Pete  
Townshend, 1967

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