In 1989, The Who reunited for a tour celebrating their 25th anniversary. The LA show, during which they played the entirety of Tommy, aired on Pay-Per-View. My small self was glued to the TV for the whole concert, later begging my parents to let me watch the VHS recording they'd made. The music had stirred something in me I did not have words for. My mom dug out her "Overture" sheet music, and I picked out the melody for "We're Not Gonna Take It" incessantly on my cheap keyboard.
I've seen The Who over a dozen times since 2006, but I had never seen them 1) with an orchestra; 2) play "Overture" or "We're Not Gonna Take It." The two shows they put on this weekend at The Hollywood Bowl were straight out of my wildest childhood dreams.
I want everyone to experience these stupendous orchestral arrangements by David Campbell. Please listen to what he did with "Eminence Front" and the way "Who Are You" builds into something no other human could have conjured into existence. This version of “Eminence Front” was off the charts, full of improv from Pete, and a surprise ending that made the man himself laugh, and my seat neighbour (whom I did not know) and I grin at each other in delight.
U2 might be my favourite band, "Bad" my favourite song, but it's Pink Floyd's The Wall that I believe to be the most perfect album ever written, and "The Rock" by The Who the most perfect musical composition. Every twist, swoop, dance, and dive is perfection. Hearing this track live has been a highlight of my concert-going adventures, but hearing it live with an orchestra surpassed anything I could have imagined.
It could be the sleep deprivation, but, honestly, right now I can’t manage more than that. You just have to listen. Here’s one more for good measure:
How lucky are we, to be alive at the same time as these humans? Long live The Who, and long live rock.