© Words Tracey Wilmot
Back in '79 thanks to the movie of the same name Quadrophenia was back on the shelves and broadening the brief mod revival scene as it was peaking. I was a 15 year old mod discovering the album for the first time and as a lone mod girl in a school full of punks and skins, I related to Jimmy's story of the angst of youth, growing up and experiencing heartbreak and disappointment for the first time and the rebellious attitude of youth.
It became my story too.
The Quadrophenia album was a celebration of the four personalities of The Who bought together in one iconic band in the character of Jimmy, each with their own unique contribution and with the story of mod captured eloquently within each track and movie scene. So when I got the chance to see The Who perform the entire album again at the 02 in London I was as excited as any fan could be. Still a mod all these years later I arrive with a few faces from the '79 era and take my seat sober swerving the bar, not wanting to forget a moment of this performance, which is a masterpiece. Daltrey sounds as good if not better vocally than he has ever done-still able to rock the stage and spinning the mic’ with the acrobatic skills of a world class majorette, while Townshend's windmill stance still reminds us of those My Generation moments of the bands earlier years.
The show is a blistering performance of every Quad track with a cleverly directed backdrop and a visual feast of all things mod, from Brighton beach, to The High Numbers it’s a reminder of the scene and the mods that were part of the original movement, all cleverly produced by Daltrey. The highlights of the night are the cameo appearances of "The Ox" Entwistle and his outstandingg bass riffs along with Keith Moon's Bell Boy vocals and drums. It felt like they were there with us all, and clearly the remaining duo still miss them as much as the audience who rose to their feet applauding in appreciation. The visual extravaganza was completed by Daltrey's exquisite ensemble of the history of the world in one beautifully directed film that captured every moment that the world remembered from politics to natural disasters and the icons we remember from every decade, while the lighting was brilliantly choreographed, at several points the audience became part of the ocean when the tracks alluded to the sea while on stage the lights complemented every track with vibrant energised precision. Epileptics beware!
The band took time to talk about the old days, those that were missed, and as Townshend remarked "Back then we would sit on the beach wondering what the hell life was about…nothing fucking changes" The finale was a collection of old favourites such as Baba O'Reilly, Won't get fooled again, You better you Bet, described as karaoke time by Townshend but nevertheless had people on their feet dancing and singing in the aisles.
Also great to see Pete's younger brother Simon Townshend on vocals, a talented guitarist in his own right and recently described by the band as the 5th Jimmy. You can catch Simon's acoustic tour on his website at http://www.simontownshend.com/
The Who Quadrophenia tour continues for dates see www.thewho.com