Like Who, Michigan is home, too

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Tue Oct 28 06:15:36 CDT 2008

>From The El Paso, Texas Times:

Like Who, Michigan is home, too
Doug Pullen / El Paso Times

EL PASO -- Revelations are not hard to come by at a Who concert.

In their 60s and obscenely wealthy, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend still find the joy in making music together.

A Townshend windmill can still whip a crowd into a frenzy.

And a rarely performed gem like the innocent "Tattoo" takes on a new resonance in a day when body ink is the ho-hum rule, not the scandalous exception it was 41 years ago when the song was released.

But as I sat there in section 115 with my best friend, Andy, and his 14-year-old son Sam, I didn't expect to feel that I was home.

If home is where your heart is, then I have two homes. I left part of my heart in Michigan, where I lived the last quarter of a century. The other part is here, of course, where I grew up and first fell in love with the Who's taut, operatic rock 'n' roll.

This is where I returned this year to be close to my family.

I left El Paso in the first place because I wanted to experience more than I could here. Bands like the Who never came through town. The first time I saw them was in Tempe in 1982 during their farewell tour.

Really, it was goodbye to the band as we knew it, four years after the death of drummer Keith Moon. I saw them again seven years later just outside Chicago, where Townshend, relying on backing musicians as he hid behind an acoustic guitar, clearly treated the Who as an albatross.

Then came the "Quadrophenia" tours in the mid-1990s, when Townshend, his artistic ego revived by a Broadway version of "Tommy," finally got a chance to perform his cinematic memoir of his adolescence the right way.

That experience brought him full circle, and gave Townshend and the always willing Daltrey the desire to carry on even after the death of bassist John Entwistle. They were home again.

The Half Who make music for the joy of it these days, sprinkling concert rarities like "Getting in Tune" and "Relay" among the warhorses at last week's Detroit show,which benefited two Motor City charities. (See review at

I was like a pig in mud. I was doing what I love to do -- listening to music -- with one of my closest friends and his son, who discovered the Who through the "RockBand" video game.

Detroit is kind of a spiritual home for the Who. Not only were they influenced by the Motown greats, the band was embraced early on by the city, much like Kiss and Prince were later.

They chose to open their tour there last week because Daltrey and Townshend have a special place in their hearts for the downtrodden city.

It occurred to me somewhere between "I Can't Explain" and the "Tommy" medley that I do, too.

I didn't leave my job at the Flint Journal because I wanted out (though I do hate the cold). I didn't leave one home for the other. I have two homes -- 1,800 miles apart.

I've been back to Michigan three times since moving here in January.

I suspect I'll go back a couple of times a year. That's where some of my closest friends, and a piece of my heart, remain.

 -Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!


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