Thoughts on The Who’s Haltime Show

8 Feb

Well, like with the Grammys, I figure I should write-up my thoughts on the music I’ve just viewed on television.  This time, with disgust.  Obviously, CBS already wank off to The Who, so it was obvious the set list tonight would include the songs chosen as the themes of CBS’ ever-popular CSI franchise.  What wasn’t expected, at least by me, was how much this halftime show would suck.  It is with a heavy heart that I present to you this rant, brought to you by Bridgestone.

Let me give a little back story before I begin.  When the Aerosmith/NSync halftime show occurred all those years ago (at least it feels like it was forever ago), I became a little obsessed with halftime.  It’s been an interesting run, U2 was momentarily loved by everyone, Nipplegate happened, I got to see Macca sing “Helter Skelter” while I tried to win tickets to a U2 concert, I missed the shows for two of my favorite bands (The Rolling Stones and Tom Petty), but I got to watch Prince use a guitar as a penis.  It’s been a good run, culminating in Bruce Springsteen’s show last year.  That show, was pretty fantastic, plus it brought us the Bosscock.  But, overall, it left me a little numb, as I saw Springsteen sell out “Glory Days” to football.   Yet, when I heard the announcement that The Who would be the lastest in a series of dinosaur rockers to headline halftime, I was excited, and I let myself get incredibly so.  I shouldn’t have.

Well, if you saw the show, you probably know what happened.  Nothing.  It was weak, it was lifeless, and I’m note even sure it was The Who’s fault.  I *think* there was an audience there, right in front of their, admittedly, huge stage, but they were never in frame, and the camera definitely never showed them.  What’s the point of watching a band perform, if there’s no one there to see them?  It feels artificial, it feels contrived, even if the audiences at these halftime shows are rarely fans of the band.  A few times the mikes on the crowd were actually opened up so you could hear them singing along, but all that did was make it feel even MORE contrived.

But enough about the audience, let’s talk about the show.  The set list, once things clicked in my head between the network and the band, was obvious: “Baba O’Riley”, “Who Are You”, and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.  Now, there was probably time for another song in there if they shortened one, or even just played a short track.  Instead…inexplicably, they decided to go ahead and played shortened versions of two songs from Tommy: “Pinball Wizard” and “See Me, Feel Me”.  The later was used as a transition between “Who Are You” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, but “Pinball Wizard” opened the show.  Let’s think about that for a second.  The SUPER BOWL half time show was opened by an ACOUSTIC GUITAR.   Yeah…I don’t think I need to say anything else. Oh, yes I do.  Thanks, “Pinball Wizard” for completely ruining my vibe, and as a result, making “Baba O’Riley” one of my favorite songs ever written, fall flat on my ears.  I couldn’t have asked for more than that.

Then there was The Who themselves.  First of all, pretty much the biggest complaint about them playing halftime was that they’re not “really” the Who.  It’s just Daltry and Uncle Pete at this time, so, if everyone’s complaining about this, why would CBS spend so much time filming a drummer who’s not Keith Moon?  It just felt incredibly awkward, like almost everything else.  And what about Daltry and Uncle Pete?  They didn’t help the awkward either.  Townshend, while performing in pretty much the same way he always has, was wearing a shirt that exposed his fleshy, pale old man stomach far more than I ever asked for.  Daltry, on the other hand, seemed like some sort of Elvis impersonator.  What I mean is, he acted like a parody of himself, he was just too over the top in his actions and his performance, and it really rubbed the wrong way.  Plus, I’m pretty sure he was, obviously expectedly, lip-syncing.  That was fun when he sang a wrong lyric, but the right words came out of his mouth ^_^>

Finally, a few positives.  While “Baba” may have failed me, the others were great, I was at the very least pleased by that, but even better was the light show.  Where the performance and CBS failed, the light show succeeded, though, as previously mentioned, the sheer size of the stage required to get the lights to work may have been responsible for the failings of the show in the first place.   I don’t think I’ve had a halftime show leave me feeling this rant-y, but, overall, it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen (I’ll have to think about what exactly that would be), and I have hopes for bigger and better shows in the future.  Even I’m beginning to think it’s time to move to younger acts, which, according to a research paper I wrote about 8 years ago, would signify the end of Rock and Roll, but hey, maybe it’s time.

One Response to “Thoughts on The Who’s Haltime Show”


  1. 12.12.12. The Concert for Sandy Relief « An Ocean of Noise - 13/12/2012

    […] were beginning to look grim for the 12.12.12 concert and, if you read my previous review on The Who at the Super Bowl, perhaps you can understand why I thought the night was about to reach disaster of epic […]

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