Saturday, February 9, 2013

Memorable Moments from the Las Vegas THE WHO Quadrophenia Concert 02-08-13

Memorable Moments 

  • The gal a few rows ahead of us just off the aisle who spent the entire concert waving her arms sinuously in the air.
  • Pete stabbed his hand on the whammy bar during a Quadrophenia song and had to leave the stage for a few minutes to stem the bleeding and get it bandaged.
    • Later he said that one of the challenges of doing Quadrophenia live was that there were no breaks to talk “or to bleed.”
  • At one point, Roger got extremely angry & upset because someone was smoking despite the announced request that nobody smoke because he is very allergic to it. Roger let loose with a swear-fest about it.
  • The little man in the black suit, white shirt and white scarf who looked very tinily dapper until he spent much of the concert in the aisle dancing with a peculiar arm-whirligig-dipping motion, then used his scarf to snap into the air in front of him for awhile. Reminded me of, “I don’t always go to concerts, but when I go to The Who, I really let loose as if on X.”
  • AND - despite my frantic attempts to draw one, I was unable to add to my "celebrity wave" collection with a wave from Pete Townshend. Bummer!!! (My collection currently consists of a wave from Roger Daltry and another from Shania Twain.) He waved to the balcony. He waved to the other section. Nowhere near me. :( 
And for the rest of the comments, here's a little perspective.
Before the show began, I took a picture to show just how close to the stage our seats were:

It's not very far, right?
And so, here are the rest of my notes:

  • Not being able to SEE. I'm a short gal, and tall people were in front of me every which way, and everyone stood the entire time. Peeking through changing windows of visibility… very distracting and upsetting.
  • The extremely tall guy who was just in front of and to my left, blocking my view of Roger. At one point he leaned to the right to talk to someone else and entirely obscured my view. I said, “I can’t see!” and he argued with me, “But I’m over there!” (pointing). I said, “Well, you’re not over there now.” 
  • Ironically, both Extremely Tall Guy and the Tall Girl with the Hair Up and Big Earrings Directly In Front Of Me Obscuring My View did not seem to even care about the concert. The people who they were with (sitting more toward the middle) cared, but these younger folks didn’t really even seem very “into it,” as if they'd just been brought along. It got me angry that this was ruining my experience when I CARED MORE THAN ANYTHING and I’d spent so much and it MEANT SO MUCH TO ME. I really had trouble getting past that. It was an extremely difficult situation for me.
  • Moving down the aisle a few times to get in closer. Once even spurred on by a blonde woman behind me urging me in my ear, "Go, go, go, go, go!" This after I'd already been sent back to my seat by Security, but when a GIANT man planted himself squarely in the center of the aisle holding a camera above his head, it was necessary for me to move in order to see anything at all. Security starting hassling me a lot and finally, even when I was near our seats, came over and demanded to see my tickets. >:-[  I let loose on them - perhaps I was "technically wrong" but I didn't care - that I COULD NOT SEE and I paid a LOT OF $$ for these tickets and it was IMPORTANT to me and I COULD NOT SEE. (I know they don’t care, but I was about the only one in that situation back there, couldn’t they have let me stand a couple of rows up??? Everyone else was in the aisle…Shit.)
  • At one point I was standing about 20 feet away from Pete. Awwweeesooommmme! Couldn’t really savor the moment, though, because Security came and kicked me back. 
  • All this really prevented me from being able to “connect” with the concert and the fact that it was The Who live in front of me, and not just one of the videos I’m so ingrained with. It was all very distracting and upsetting. I couldn’t appreciate the concert very well because I could barely see the performers – and when I could see part of them (sometimes by having to continually crane or duck my head side-to-side), it was only the one performer at a time. I couldn’t watch both Roger and Pete.
  • Some of the video I took, I just held the camera way over my head and pointed it at the stage. I could not actually see what was going on. (Yes, I know there are video screens that I could have been watching, but that just makes it seem like...watching a video. If the act is in front of my person, I want to watch them in person, not view an image of them when they are actually right there in front of me.
  • Some video I took became abbreviated because of Security hassling me for being forward of my seat and in the aisle (although I tried to stay at the edges of the aisles, and it seemed like there were other people more flagrantly misbehaving that weren’t as hassled as I was).
However, there were a few moments when I saw Pete wail, going at it with his particular genius on guitar, and that I was in the presence of  it was something very special. The sound was great, there were times when parts were done differently and even more interestingly than on the album (a shame that there’s no download of it?) and the performance was excellent. I just couldn’t see it L.
You see... This wasn’t “just a concert” to me. It was more like a spiritual pilgrimage: 

Imagine there’s a place – a city – your soul burns to visit, only it’s very, very far away and not even open to the public. It’s walled up and nobody can go there. You think about it and yearn for years, never believing you’d actually have the chance to go there. Then the city unlocks its gates and allows visitors – only it’s for just a short period of time. They may never unlock those gates again. And even if they do, you may not have the chance to go. So you do ALL you can to go right then, right now. Your soul is in disbelief that you can actually do this. But you put together all your resources and make it happen. It’s a struggle, and challenges arise along the way. But this is so important to your soul, you want to give it the best shot you can.

You finally arrive at the city’s gates. You’ve arranged for the best transport available to you. But as you reach the gates, they partially close. You cannot see above them. You can barely see the city itself. You try to go toward the gate, to breathe the air of this place, to feel the atmosphere and experience being there. But you are shoved aside. Others much larger than you take precedence, and you – despite your equal resources, and despite the way this place, this city, touches you and thoughts of it alone have been life-changing for you – despite all that, you are not permitted to see the city, breathe its air or feel its terrain. Despite others’ full view, and despite your supposed equality to them, you are only permitted to view a glimpse through cracks in the fence, while they are able to experience it fully.

The word is: “Them’s the breaks.”
But I have a right to feel disappointed.

Now... Lest you think I was simply a miserable ass during this concert – that wasn’t the case, I just honestly found the difficulties to be so pervasive that unfortunately they pretty much overwhelmed the experience, despite my trying earnestly to push them aside..

So, here also were some of the memorable “Good Parts:”
  • Pounding and punching the air furiously along with thousands of others singing along with songs – Punk and the Godfather… I’ve Had Enough… and anytime the Zoot Suit lyric came up…
  • Filling in along with the crowd when Pete turned over the singing of the now-politically incorrect phrase “just like the lesbians and queers”… 
  • Everyone feeling empathic with Simon’s rendition of The Dirty Jobs and “gettin’ put-down,” “gettin’ pushed-round” and “bein’ beaten every day.”
  • Finding it impossible not to sing along with every song...swept along on the wave of sound
  • The oh-so-different energy of the crowd just two rows forward filled with people who were seriously digging the time they were having, the music and The Who.
  • The poignancy of the inclusion of Keith Moon and John Entwistle’s oh-so-familiar parts in Bell Boy and 5:15.
Songs performed after Quadrophenia were (not necessarily in this order):
  • Who Are You
  • Baba O’Riley
  • Behind Blue Eyes
  • Pinball Wizard
  • Won’t Get Fooled Again
…and, they surprised me by not ending with Tea & Theatre.

And now I'm having tea, after the theater, just me.

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