28 Friday. December 7. 1979
Philadelphia Daily News
The Who Prophesized Teen T ragedy
By JONATHAN TARIFF
BLIND ANXIETY. Bitter frustra-
tion. Aching boredom. A teenage
wasteland of no future and hardly a
present. Sex and drugs and rock and
The Who have built their art and
legend on just such teenage melodra-
ma. the anthems of “My Generation.“
"I've Had Enough," and “Who Are
You" and the rock operas "Tommy"
"I don't deplore anything kids do."
proclaimed The Who‘s lead singer
Roger Daltrey just a few weeks ago in
an interview promoting their new
"Quadrophenia" film and long await-
ed tour, the latter bringing The Who
to the Spectrum on Monday and Tues-
day for their first local appearances
since 197.1 “it's wonderful It's all
wonderful, All youth is violent. all
youth so urgent. There is no time for
articulate expression. 1 don‘t deplore
any of it. More power to youth's el-
bow, and that’s one thing rock and
roll's given it. Obviously. I don‘t like
ll all. But I understand it. which is a
Would The Who feel differently
today. having witnessmg the beast
turn on them? In a rush on the gate
at The Who's Cinctnnati concert
Monday night, 11 young people were
blindly. savagely trampled to death.
many more injured. The prophecies
of Pete Townshend's lyrics come true
“What is it?1'll take it.
Who is she? I‘ll rape it,
Got a bed here? I'll need it.
Gettin'high. you can 't beat it."
1111-: WHO WEREN’T THE FIRSI‘
rock group to suggest the possibilitec
of a seli-contained alternative youth
culture. But they‘ve always been the
most outspoken and hrashest repre-
sentatives, living up to (and in drum-
mer Keith Moon‘s case. beyond) the
limits of their ethic:
“Hope I die before I get old. "
“Our audience today provides us
with a great challenge." says Pete
Townshend, The Who's uidin; light.
The Who appears at the Spectrum Monday and Tuesday. a week after the Cincinnati tragedy
“0n the surface, it seems to be the
same kids, with the same feelings
and the same needs. And of course.
we're very different. We were 1920
years old when we started. Now we're
35. with families. not grown up but
damn near. Sometimes the physical
strain of perlortning becomes in-
“Sometimes it feels a bit silly,
smashing guitars on the stage, and
singing ‘My Generation.” But you
have to dc it because you’re celebrat-
ing your past. But it’s the same kids
out there. lt‘sthe same football game.
the same crowd. the same hand wav-
ing, the same sentiments. Every time
I go out on stage, I wonder ‘What do
they get from one another? What do
the get from us?‘ It‘s been a question
that a lot of people have been trying
to answer. It's fascinating, it's ob-
sessed me all my life And it’s the
reason I’m still more interested in
rock and roll than everything else."
THE WHO DON’T CLAIM to be talk-
ing for the youth of today, but their
own, aging generation of 19605 Mods.
"some of whom must still be alive,"
jokes Roger Daltrey. “People look
back when the present doesn‘t offer
enough. when the present is a vacu-
um." he hypothesizes
In the next breath, though, Daltry
proclaims that “When Keith died (in
1978). that was the end of an era for
The Who. His death freed the group
of some problems, almost like a sacri-
fice. Now it's a new band. We go on,
but it’s gotta be different. better.
We’re playing tighter than ever And
While most rock groups peak after a
few years. our audience is always
increasing. always growing. Today,
every home has a record player.
People grow up with rock and roll
music. It’s really in their blood. They
take it for granted and demand it.
They demand the self consciousness
and the social consciousness and the
review of political events and human
events it seems to cover."
And The Who accepts the mission
"to encapsulize feelings of people as
they go through their lives. and help
them through hard times by under-
standing the times."
So how will The Who explain away
the tragedy of Cincinnati? Like the
central character of their rock opera
"Quadrophenia," The Who have [all-
en victim to the ultimate Mod mis-
talte — bad timing. They were the
right group at the wrong time —— too
big, too alive and volatile for their
environment. The ultimate irony is
that the Cincinnati stampede — as
the final, music-related impression
of 1979 — will cast an icy pallor over
the entire decade.
Once again, the myth that ‘rock can
set us free‘ has been shot full of
the music must