The Who Re-Viewed Part 5
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, THE PARENTS ARE SOMETHING ELSE
There’s no way to sugarcoat this observation. The Who’s original audience are now in their fifties and sixties and, unlike Townshend and Daltrey, the years have not been kind to their physiques or their looks. At least not in suburban America, they haven’t. With advance apologies to the exceptions that proved the rule, the audience in Bridgeport was shockingly overweight, embarrassingly unhealthy, appallingly unhip. While fully acknowledging that the ageing male Brit is hardly the personification of fitness, I’d sooner have been among beerguts and baldness than outright obesity. And as well as sharing the bleachers with women dressed as the grandmothers they’ve undoubtedly become, I had to deal with those in the midst of mid-life crisis – like the 50-something next to me, whose shirt was emblazoned with the cover to the Rolling Stones’ Some Girls, of all (non-Who) albums to wear across your breast.
On the positive side, these ageing adults brought along hundreds upon hundreds of children and teenagers. This was hardly due to lack of babysitting funds: with tickets costing between $60-$200, the parents had made a calculated decision to invest their children with an education in live music before the last two remaining Who members bite the dust. I don’t blame them and in fact wished I could have joined them by bringing my own 11-year old. But Campbell’s as disinterested in popular music as I was passionate about it at his age, to which I should note that all the kids I observed seemed totally grateful for the opportunity to see The Who in concert, even if they didn’t fully understand why their parents sang that line about “teenage wasteland.”
The youngsters provided another saving grace beyond my hope that they’ll come away inspired by the experience: almost unanimously decked out in hooded sweatshirts, and more of the skateboard than collegiate variety, they showed some fashion sense where their parents have forgotten the very notion.