Rock legend Pete launches show

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Wed May 13 11:06:20 UTC 2009
[includes slide show]

Rock legend Pete launches show
Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 07:00

ROCK legend Pete Townshend dropped into Plymouth for the official launch of his musical Quadrophenia.

Around 40 Vespa scooters ridden by members of local clubs helped herald the rock opera's run at Theatre Royal Plymouth by riding down Royal Parade just before yesterday evening's show.

Quadrophenia was the two-disc album issued in 1973 by Pete's band The Who.

Six years later the album became the inspiration for an iconic film, which included Sting, Phil Daniels, Toyah Wilcox and Ray Winstone in the cast.

Now, 30 years after the film's release, the album has been brought to the stage and a six-month UK tour opened at the Theatre Royal Plymouth on Saturday. 

The production Quadrophenia charts the life of a hedonistic but troubled teenager at the height of the Mod era.

Pete, who is pictured (above right) beside a Vespa with Phil Daniels, who played lead character Jimmy in the film and who was in the audience last night, has done extensive work with the Teenage Cancer Trust, which supports young people suffering from cancer.
Speaking exclusively to The Herald, Pete – guitarist with legendary band The Who and creative consultant of the production – said: "I'm familiar with Plymouth, mainly from tours but also from the hospital cancer schemes."

When asked whether it was true that The Who had trashed the Guildhall when they played there in 1965, he said: "Quite possibly, but we didn't do much of that. Hotels were more our thing."

He said the production had been a long time coming.

"We'd been discussing how we could get Quadrophenia on in various different ways with the Theatre Royal for the last five years, including doing something with the army on the moors.

"I'm glad to have it in the theatre. There are dozens of shows in London that started here. The Theatre Royal's got so many facilities. What was great for me was seeing so many of the educational programmes going on here too."

Theatre Royal's Anne-Marie Clark said tickets were selling very well and added: "As a theatre we're really proud of the production."

Shaun O'Connor, from Torquay, was one of the Vespa riders from the South Devon Showmen Scooter Club who took part in the launch.

He said some of the riders, which included members of Plymouth scooter club the Southern Templars, were riding scooters dating from the late 1950s to the present day.

"I came to see Quadrophenia on Saturday night," he added. "It was very good."

And last night's audience seemed to agree. One member said: "The music is fantastic of course, and the scenery is great. It was a very enjoyable evening."

The show received a standing ovation at the end, and the audience went wild when Pete Townshend appeared on stage to take a bow.

Another fan said: "It was brilliant music and a great production. It was a special moment for Plymouth to have such a rock legend on stage."

The show runs until Saturday, May 16.

 -Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month! 


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