Marking the 40th anniversary of their epic release Quadrophenia, The Who hit the road again in 2012/2013 with the “Quadrophenia and More Tour,” wrapping it all up in Wembley, London on July 8th.
Rewind 40 years to 1973, and the release of Quadrophenia. Ever-determined to see another of my British heroes, I drove down to the acoustically-challenged Chicago Amphitheater without a ticket, certain that I would be able to find a scalper, or anyone with an extra ticket to sell. So, I mingled through the line of people who were waiting to enter the show when, from out of nowhere, some “Whooligan“ broke open one of the side fire-doors and I was literally sucked in like a human vacuum. As sincere as I was to rightfully pay my way in, there was no turning back. It took every ounce of strength and balance I had just to stay on my toes and not get trampled by the rush of inhumanity funneling through those doors. I considered myself lucky just to be alive much-less able to see The Who that night.
I eventually found myself an empty seat at the very back of the arena. Feeling a bit giddy over the whole ordeal, the obvious next question was “Who’s on first?” Actually it was Lynyrd Skynyrd who had just released their first album. I didn’t know much about them at the time, but would by the following year with the success of their Second Helping album, and Top 10 single “Sweet Home Alabama.”
After Skynyrd’s lengthy closing anthem (none other than “Freebird”), The Who took the stage. The band opened with teenage angst-ridden classics “I Can’t Explain,” “Summertime Blues” and “My Generation,” then proceeded to perform Quadrophenia almost in its entirety, closing with their own rock anthem, “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Then with lead-singer Roger Daltry’s final microphone fling, catching it in perfect time with the final beat, the hungry crowd screamed for what seemed like forever. Much to our surprise, and disappointment, there was no encore (possibly due to drummer Keith Moon’s recent health condition).
Just nine days prior during the show in San Francisco, “Moon the Loon” had collapsed from exhaustion…twice. The Who were unable to finish that show until guitarist Pete Townshend spoke to the crowd, “does anybody know how to play the drums? …I mean somebody good”. A 19 year-old from Iowa named Scott Halpin was helped to the stage and finished the final three songs with the band. Scott wound up with his fifteen minutes of fame as fill-in drummer for The Who, ironically with a ticket he had just obtained from a scalper prior to the show.
The entire catalogs of The Who as well as Lynyrd Skynyrd can be found by design on Mood’s Rock Show program!
– Submitted by Bill Spencer, Music Design
Moon The Loon…sad to see him go. (1978) There are so many accomplished drummers in the rock world. But I believe there is not one as unique with a non-stop frenzy quite like the late great Keith Moon.