At work tonight, I was able to catch the Super Bowl in bits and pieces. Pulling hard for the Saints, I was impressed with the way they overcame an early 10-0 deficit to earn the win and wrap up a storybook season if there ever was one. I was even more impressed with the cajones of New Orleans coach Sean Payton, whose huge onside-kick gamble to start the second half paid off with a touchdown that had eluded the Saints thus far AND kept Payton Manning from establishing himself right away. (The Colts did quickly answer the TD with one of their own, but I’d argue the Saints’ score was still huge considering their inability to get in the end zone in the first 30 minutes).
I would have loved to watch more of the game, but I did make sure to take a break from work at halftime. Instead of, say, Michael or Janet Jackson, or some red-hot pop sensation of the moment, there was The Who, ready to rock. And rock they did.
It was the early ’80s, if memory serves, that the Who toured behind their "It’s Hard" album, with the Clash opening in support of "Combat Rock." Actually, the Clash’s record was probably the more successful of two; "Should I Stay or Go" was on that album, as well as "Rock the Casbah." Almost any other band, though, had – and still certainly would have – to play second fiddle to Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend. (Original drummer Keith Moon has been dead for nearly 32 years; bassist John Entwhistle passed away in 2002.)
My uncle Larry saw the Who/Clash show in Shea Stadium; it was kind of a "shock and awe" thing for me. I was shock that he went, and awed, too. The word was that it was going to be the last Who tour. Here was a classic rock band I’d never have the opportunity to see again, I thought.
Well, I still haven’t seen them, and I couldn’t help thinking the brief string of rock anthems they played in Miami tonight was probably as close as I’ll get (although I did briefly imagine taking my daughter, as a teenager much later in this new decade, to see some really old rock ‘n’ rollers make their joyful noise). Still, roughly 15 minutes of the Who on TV was enormously satisfying. "Won’t Get Fooled Again." "Baba O’Reilly." "Who are You?" "Tommy." But where was "Pinball Wizard"? And maybe it was a conscious decision to skip "My Generation," with the lyric, "Hope I die before I get old."
Just about 20 years ago, I remember being lucky enough to come into tickets for a Rolling Stones show, also at Shea Stadium. I was only semi-excited to go, though; we had to drive about four hours to get to New York from my college town of Binghamton, and even though the talented Living Colour (anyone remember them?) was opening, the Stones were – well – old. Could these guys actually put on a decent rock show?
Well, that concert remains one of the most memorable of my life. Mick Jagger’s performance, his incredible energy, floored me. And he’s still incredible; witness the ’08 Martin Scorcese concert film, "Shine a Light," in which Jagger – who will be 67 this year – was prancing around and reveling in his performance … and the rest of the band smoked through tune after tune.
Come to think of it, maybe my daughter and I will be catching a Stones show someday. Hey, you never know.