My Rock Honors travelouge

Alan McKendree amck at
Mon Jul 21 14:48:00 CDT 2008

Long and delayed, but now that a week's gone by...

I started out being very ambivalent toward going to this show.  Time,  
expense, and a one-off, short set by our guys.  Eventually, some  
armtwisting by my dear friends Lauren and Stefani pushed me into  
taking the plunge.  I looked at it as a gathering of friends, some of  
whom I hadn't seen in too long, with the side attraction of an  
enjoyable show.

First, thanks to trrishp and oz, and their family, for so graciously  
opening up their vacation to host the Who Talk House.  Lauren, Shari  
and I rendezvoused at LAX and went straight to the Talk House, joined  
the Pottersmiths and Joyce, with the party already in progress.  Due  
to some stellar groundwork by trrishp and Stefani, snacks, salad,  
beer and Remy awaited!  We watched fan-obsessive video from the  
Martyrs ITA show, cheering for people we knew (especially ourselves),  
and reliving the event both for those who were and weren't there.   
Over the hours various world-class fans arrived -- Tim & Sue, Max the  
Mod with son Ian and wife Susan, Charles & Jan, John Ryan (who may be  
putting out a calendar soon for *his* fans), Barry, etc. etc.  Ian  
proudly mentioned that he's seen The Who five times now, so he's no  
longer a beginner.  I couldn't argue.  After the sun went down, the  
guitars came out and the singalong started (oz posted a link to some  
of the AQO video).  Lots of fun, then Stef and I left at 11:00 to see  
The Who Show at a small club, the 14 Below.  We missed the first part  
of it, but as we walked in the band slammed into a short Quad set  
with a guest vocalist -- the actor who played Jimmy in the LA stage  
version of Quad, dressed as a mod!  There was a smattering of Sex  
Pistols and Iggy Pop in his stage moves, but he sang very  
well...wasn't hard to hear Roger in there.  Then they went on with  
the regular vocalist, who I also liked.  The bass player, Joel  
Pelletier, is recreating John's look from TKAA, debuting a white  
linen vest he had to make himself, as they were impossible to find.   
He did a fine job, playing a number of beautiful Fenderbirds etc.  
(sorry, I'm just not a gearhead).  I was glad when it wound down  
around 1:00 instead of 2:00, as 1:00 = 3:00 Texas time, and I was  
starting to go out on my feet.

The following morning, Lauren was off to the beach early.  Stef and I  
got left later.  After negotiated the terror that is beach parking in  
CA, we made it to the tent, we settled in the shade; hats  
off to those who sat in the sun, but I get more than enough sun  
already.  The guitar was out, the singers were singing the songs, and  
the Remy toasts were poured under the's to John, us and  
absent friends <sssip>!

Once things folded up at the beach, it was off to the hotel to dress  
for success at the show.  For a paltry $9 <cough> we bought covered  
parking next to the venue and I walked to the Relayers Damon &  
Pythias dinner while Lauren & Stefani set out to seek their ticket  
fortune on the mean sidewalks of Pauley Pavilion.  The D&P was most particular, seeing KC, oz and trrishp of course,  
Charles & Jan, Max/Susan/Ian, and I was delighted to be mugged by  
iaamg Seth and HisWife Diane, accompanied by legendary figure Cymbal  
Ron, who gave Seth a Keith cymbal back in 1979 and hadn't seen The  
Who since.  I genuflected appropriately (I hope), then warned him  
that The Who had changed a little in 29 years.  He said he'd seen  
some recent video so it wouldn't be too much of a shock :-).

Off to the venue, settled in Pino's side 7th row center, two seats  
away from Duke and a friend of his (forget his name).  I was  
delighted by the Foo Fighters Young Man Blues sounded  
like a call to arms.  And I bought the drummer all the way.  Bargain  
was a different story; Gaz C punted the lyrics repeatedly and it was  
a dangerous choice anyway, for a non-Who band.  Duke said he thought  
Incubus might be too poppy for The Who, but I thought they scored big  
with I Can See for Miles, a tough selection, but fell flat on I Can't  
Explain.  I thought Rainn Wilson was Jack Black when he appeared in  
Elton John's Local Lad costume, leaning on a pinball machine, to  
introduce the Flaming Lips.  The FLips have the showmanship down, but  
they're in danger of  letting it overwhelm the music.  Their Tommy  
medley was OK...I was glad to see the oft-neglected I'm Free in  
there.  Somewhere in here Duke disappeared, not to be seen again  
until he popped up in the chaotic aisle in front of Pete.

Glad to see Jack Black, but it was weird to see him laud The Who for  
"being the first to rock hard", and then play their dumbest,  
fluffiest track, Squeeze Box.

Pearl Jam, of course...enough has already been said, including by me  
about their landmark performance.

Not much of a fan of Sandler's comedy and dumb-guy shtick, but I  
enjoyed his song.  Thanks to the teleprompter, I read a couple of the  
punch lines before he sang them.  And obviously he's a big fan, so  
now I have something to talk about should I ever meet him.

The Who...their performance has already been dissected, not much to  
add here.  Did Alyce get the Baba harmonica?  Roger handed it to  
someone in her area.  During 2000 Years, the audience in front of me  
started to thin out a little, providing stress-free upgrade  
opportunities.  Security didn't seem to care, which was fine with me,  
and I ended up in the center-left aisle, about 3rd row.  I noticed  
Roger kneeling to shake hands with Alyce; she reached up to touch his  
face but he was already rising and it was a clean miss.

After, waited around while Lauren and Shari had some backstage  
adventures and then checked out the merch; there was nothing specific  
to the show, Rock Honors etc., just general Who T-shirts and hoodies  
-- which, nevertheless, held some appeal and you might be seeing some  
of them being modeled at future shows.

The post-show party of Lauren, Stef, me, Joyce, Shari and the  
estimable and rarely-seen Cheryl Posner convened with Tim and Sue,  
and we had a rare chance to talk to Bobby P.  We asked him what he  
was doing next; he said he was mixing the show, but that he didn't  
want to talk about work. He repeatedly said that while this was his  
life, he thought we  were all mad for doing what we do (seeing so  
many shows).  I guess the difference is that at least he's getting  
paid.  Maybe that's what makes us mad; we're on the wrong side of the  
ledger.  We told him he was a star to us, and he said that he doesn't  
believe in stardom (probably a necessary attitude or he wouldn't have  
lasted this long).  We said we all enjoyed watching him rock out  
offstage, and he sort of mumbled.  Then I told him we loved him, and  
he invited us to bugger off.  So all was well in Whoworld.

Eventually we transplanted to the deli Joyce mentioned, where the  
conversation continued nonstop, and I enjoyed the wonders of a tuna  
salad sammich and a sample of Shari's matzoh ball soup, and finished  
it off with pickles with mustard.  Excellent!  A group of very well- 
dressed young men and women (mostly women) had filtered in while we  
were there, which normally wouldn't be noteworthy, but as we were  
standing up and kind of milling around prior to leaving (about 3:30),  
there was a pounding on the window from outside, and when we looked,  
3 or 4 of the young ladies flashed their boobs at us.  Well, really,  
there's no better way to finish off a post-show breakfast, is there?   
As I said at the time, maybe there was a convention in town.

By the time we made it back to the hotel, packed, and finished the  
last swapping of stories, it was 6:10.  I'd thought I'd done well for  
myself in booking what I thought was a late flight (10:20), but it  
meant I had to set the alarm for 7:00 <groan>.  Then just to finish  
it off, the supposed nonstop flight from LA to Austin developed a  
fuel smell and was diverted to land in Midland to check it out, while  
I tried hard to sleep on the airport floor.  Ultimately nothing came  
of it, but it added a 3-hour delay. A few days later Southwest  
Airlines sent a $200 voucher, which I thought was pretty cool of them.

So Who knows what fall will bring?  Not I -- not yet -- but it was  
surely a great weekend with just the right amounts of rock-n-roll,  
chaos, friends, and exhaustion.

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

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