Folk Stuff:Who Rocks

Tuesday, June 18th 2013

You will remember last week that D. and I went on a river trip on the Wye; embarking at East Yat.
 Yat is an old word for gate.  Symonds Yat, is a nearby,  popular tourist location,  famous for the Yat Rock, which looks down upon the Wye 200 feet below.
This place was named after Robert Symonds, a Hereford Sheriff, who ran a toll road there, thus giving  the name   'Yat ' or gate.

More info. here:  R. Symonds.


Last Saturday June 15th, I watched 'The Who ' in concert at the O2 Arena in London.

They were in dazzling form.

It was an emotional journey as they played the entire near 90 minutes of the Rock- Opera  " Quadrophenia"   then followed up  with some old 'goodies '

" Who are You?"; " You better, You better, You Bet " ;" Pin Ball Wizard" ; " Baba O'Reilly ";  "Won't Get Fooled Again" and concluded with Pete Townsend  (acoustic guitar) and Roger Daltrey ( vocals) on the quiet reflective " Tea and Theatre. "

"Quadrophenia " was written in 1973 and remains a very demanding piece, especially for the lead vocalist Roger Daltrey. He has kept his voice in good shape and produced an excellent tonal range, as he attacked songs with zest and verve.
I understand, together with his creative team, he worked on the visuals and special effects.
They were carried on two huge screens to the right and left of the stage,  with  three circular screens on stage and back projection behind them.

This picture, taken prior to the performance had the following legend inscribed upon the two screens:

" Roger is allergic to smoke and would  greatly appreciate if you could stick 
to brownies. "

Pete Townsend's voice was not as stable as Roger and tended to croak at times; clearly pay-back time for ingestion in the past.

Further pictures of Roger and Pete; with the complete set-list here: P & R

 The above two original members were augmented by drums, bass, piano, two keyboards/syths, rhythm guitar and a brass section.

The performance of " Quadrophenia"  was both life and death-affirming. Life-affirming,  by showing Roger and Pete, both in their late sixties, still at the height of their powers and willing to take risks with the material. Roger, in particular, felt only now, could he do justice to the opera.

Death-affirming in that, some of the biggest applause of the evening was the reserved for the video appearances of diseased members Keith Moon ( drums) singing 'Bell Boy ' and John Entwhistle (bass) playing an incredible bass solo.

The last time I saw The Who live was in July 1965 at the Athletic Rugby Ground, Cheltenham. They  were just starting their musical career and  I remember being impressed with the raw energy and boundless enthusiasm they showed. together with their sharp mod, fashion sense, complete with union flag jackets and 'back-conbed ' hair styles.

So,  being only slightly younger than them, in a sense their musical journey was mine too. The numerous video sequences, which helped to position the "Quadrophenia "  time-line, followed through from the 50/60s to the present day.

 So  Rock, remains the sound-track to my life.


The longest day will be with us this week and although not especially warm, June has been mostly dry.
The outlook for the Royal Ascot meeting is set fair and I think will provide us with some welcome colour and excitement.



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