Can You See the Reeeaaaal Me? Can Ya? CAN YA?
Those are the opening lyrics to one of the best concept albums ever made. Back in the early 70s, four guys took to work on their second rock opera. Straying a bit from the first rock opera about an iconic deaf, dumb, and blind boy, this album is about four distinct personalities living inside one British teenager. It is called Quadrophenia and the four guys, or the four personalities, are none other than the loudest rock-n-roll band ever: The Who.
I’ve been a huge Who fan for a little less than a decade now, and I haven’t looked back since. Prior to the past eight years, all I’d heard or bothered to listen to was what was being shelled out on the Jacksonville, FL Classic Rock station and man, did those songs get old fast. Of course I’m talking about “Who Are You” (which can be heard on every other CBS crime drama these days), “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” and “Pinball Wizard”. All are really great songs, but after repeated listens I just felt tired of the band as a whole. I didn’t know at the time how naïve I was being. Once I had completed my Doors collection, my Led Zep collection, and my Pink Floyd collection, I needed somebody new (to the extent of classic rock, mind you) to indulge myself in and when my old man told me to listen to Tommy, I felt intrigued. He’d never led me wrong in classic rock before, why would he start then? So after that fateful listen, I was hooked. The drums, both guitars, and the lyrics floored me. Blew me away. What an incredible story to come out of 1969! For the record, Tommy is my second favorite album of all time, following The Wall. Once I was hooked, I started to read about the band; the members, the music, the influences, the everything. That’s when I came across another rock opera, Quadrophenia. Not as favorfully received as Tommy, but still an incredible work of music.
Today’s MVM is the first lyric’d track from the double album and it does very little to convince you that these guys can’t rock. I’d put them up against any band touring today and guarantee they’re better. A bold statement you might think, but I actually just saw them live on Saturday night. And yes, they were loud. And yes, they did kick so much ass that I’m still singing the songs in my head (Is It In My Head?). They performed the opera in its entirety plus a five song set that included three of the tracks mentioned above (I didn’t stick around for those ones), all without a break. Not bad for 70 year olds. It’s one thing for these old dudes to keep rocking (i.e. Dylan, the Stones, etc.), but another thing entirely to kick ass while doing so. To be honest, I wouldn’t even have been upset if they didn’t sound anywhere near the way they did back in ’73. A common Dylan argument is that he no longer sounds good live. I love Dylan, but I’ve never thought he sounded all that great live, so when I hear that particular argument, I laugh. I mean, what can we expect from a guy who’s been touring practically non-stop for over 50 years? But I digress, because the bottom line is; The Who did sound young again and that’s fucking awesome!
Enjoy the track and the video, which is actually the first scene of the movie based on the album. Can you guess what it’s called? Check it out if you haven’t seen it and let me know what you think. Have a good week, Mods and Rockers, and remember to always let love reign.