I thought the Who's Superbowl 44 halftime show rocked. Mindblowing? No. the best I've ever heard them? No. Great venue? Hardly. But they did rock. They sounded great (the TV mix was perfect, actually; and surprisingly). The stage, and lighting design/platform that surrounded it was awesome. And Daltrey, who never sings as good you want him to - including 4 decades ago - was good enough; I've heard him before, markedly worse than I did yesterday. Pete's guitar sounded great, and so did his vocals. The other musicians played well, and the backup vocals were good also. They had fun. I kind of felt like I was right there, having fun with them. It was just cool seeing the legends up there, rocking it, in front of the largest TV audience EVER.
Most of the people I was watching with - a large majority - agreed with me. I'd say, "good" to "really good" were the responses. But today, I can't view a single media outlet without hearing about how much they sucked. Why did it suck? How did it suck? Can anyone tell me how or why the performance, or the Who sucked? Seriously.
Was it because SBowl halftime venues suck? Well, that can't matter. It was a SBowl halftime venue - yes the "venue" sucks! Sure I'd like to see them at the Knitting Factory, but the Superbowl wasn't played there.
Was it because they're old? Well, they're old! But they still held their own, and sound better at this stage of their lives than the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Brian Wilson put together (at their late late late stages)!
Was it the song selection? (M)eh. Sure, I'd personally like to hear other songs, but they're up there playing to millions and millions of people who were hearing them for the first time and/or seeing them for the first time! Why not play the hits?! Played out to us, maybe, but not everyone.
Was it the medley? They got 12 minutes; what's wrong w/ a medley? I loved how they went from "pinball wizard" into "baba o'riley!"
Have you seen the other halftime Superbowl shows? Prince's was as good, perhaps better than the Who's, but no one else has come close. People need to put the 12-minute, Superbowl half-time shows in the proper context, and expect a little less. It's entertainment for a global audience, and if you're lucky, you see a really good performance. The Who's show was worthy rock.
Here's a quote from both Roger and Pete, on their performance, shortly afterwards... Roger: "It didn't even feel like a concert. It's a television show. And what can you do in 12 minutes? I thought it went OK. I understand. It's a TV show. Cameras were everywhere" And Pete: "We were trying to put on a great show. We had as much fun as we could have."
Perhaps Rachel Sklar at Medialite.com put it best: ""If you love The Who and are old enough to remember how awesomely groundbreaking they were, then you loved the 2010 Superbowl Half-Time Show. Amid the flashing lights and super-stadium pyrotechnics, there was a real honest-to-goodness rock concert," she wrote.
I totally agree.
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