The Who give one of the best live performances of Tommy at Tanglewood, Lenox, Massachusetts, July 7th, 1970.
If anyone wants to know what The Who were like at their best, then they need only take a look at the talent, passion and energy of these 4 exceptional, young musicians, who together make this an incredible and unforgettable concert.
01.“Heaven and Hell”
02. “I Can’t Explain”
04. “I Don’t Even Know Myself”
05. “Young Man Blues”
07. “It’s a Boy”
09. “Amazing Journey”
11. “Eyesight to the Blind”
13. “The Acid Queen”
14. “Pinball Wizard”
15. “Do You Think It’s Alright?”
16. “Fiddle About”
17. “Tommy Can You Hear Me?”
18. “There’s a Doctor”
19. “Go to the Mirror!”
20. “Smash the Mirror”
21. “Miracle Cure”
22. “I’m Free”
23. “Tommy’s Holiday Camp”
24. “We’re Not Gonna Take It”
25. “See Me, Feel Me”
26. “My Generation”
Ken Russell’s 1975 ribald cult favorite Lisztomania will be screened this coming weekend at Cinefamily in Los Angeles as part of the Allison Anders curated Don’t Knock The Rock film festival:
The most fantastical, bawdy, synth-adelic, opulent and outré film ever from the Seventies’ most audacious cinematic enfant terrible! Following the huge success of Tommy, Ken Russell next tackled one of his trademark composer biographies—and the result was the life of Franz Liszt as channeled through Superman comics, 10-foot phalluses, glittery hoedowns, Frankenstein, Metropolis, Ringo Starr as “The Pope”(!), and a stupendous list of other impossible stuff. Portrayed by Roger Daltrey (and accompanied by an adapted score from keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman), Liszt is at first shown as a 19th-century equivalent to Daltrey’s real-life brand of rock ‘n roll animal—but, of course, Russell gleefully ramps every piece of sensory input to 11, pitting Liszt as a superhero priest sent to annihilate the scourge of vampiric Nazi mad scientist Richard Wagner. Not all pure insanity, Lisztomania also features startling moments of quiet clarity, exemplified in a heartrending flashback re-imagining Liszt’s idyllic romantic life as a cross-pollination between the winter cabin scenes of both Citizen Kane and The Gold Rush. Woefully misunderstood and critically savaged upon its original release, Lisztomania is one hell of a good time, and exemplifies a kind of radical chance-taking Hollywood can’t even conceive of today—the kind that Russell couldn’t conceive of not bringing to the screen.
If you live in the Los Angeles area and you’d like to win tickets to this special screening of Lisztomania, Dangerous Minds is giving away three pairs of tickets. All you have to do is come up with a good caption for the above photograph of Roger Daltery and Rick Wakeman (seen here playing a particularly demented looking Thor).
The three “Caption This” winners will be chosen by the number of “likes.”
There was an interesting letter in that scurrilous rag, the Daily Mail yesterday, printed under the headline, “Let Ken’s movies inspire a new audience”. It was written by Paul Sutton, of Trumpington, Cambridgeshire, who gave a passionate plea for the BBC to stop using edited clips of Ken Russell’s early TV work to liven-up crap shows made by today’s lesser talented directors:
These Ken Russell films aren’t entertainment fit only for ‘found footage’. They’re films, works of very real cinema in which every frame,pictorial composition, cut and music cue has been thought through with a craftsman’s hand and an artist’s mind and eye. They constitute a body of work which stands with the best of any director working anywhere in the world between 1959 and 1970.
Mr. Sutton went on to explains how both Lindsay Anderson, in If…, and Stanley Kubrick, in A Clockwork Orange, lifted from Russell’s TV work, and concludes:
Every one of Ken Russell’s 35 BBC films displays the master’s art. We should be boasting about them and using them to inspire the next Lindsay Anderson, the next Stanley Kubrick and the next Ken Russell.
I for one, certainly do hope the BBC listen up and release all of Ken Russell’s TV films for all of us to enjoy, very soon.
Most recently, the Beeb made this fine documentary Ken Russell: A Bit of a Devil , and while it doesn’t cover all of the great, genius director’s work (no Savage Messiah, no Crimes of Passion, no Salome’s Last Dance) it does manage to show why Ken Russell was England’s greatest film director of the last 50 years, and one of the world’s most important film directors of the twentieth century.
Presneted by Alan Yentob, this documentary tribute includes interviews with Glenda Jackson, Terry Gilliam, Twiggy, Melvyn Bragg, Amanda Donohoe, Robert Powell and Roger Daltrey.
Read Paul Sutton’s blog on Ken Russell, Lindsay Anderson and Stanley Kubrick here.
It’s a Boy’s Own Adventure Story moment. You’re at a concert with your best pal, watching your favorite band, when the drummer collapses on stage. The call goes out, “Is there a drummer in the house?” Next thing you know, your buddy has pushed you into the spotlight and there you are playing the drums with your heroes.
Well this is kind of how it went for Scot Halpin when he turned up to see his favorite band The Who open their Quadrophenia tour at the 14,000 seater Cow Palace in Daly City, San Francisco, in November 1973. Halpin and his companion arrived 12 hours before the concert began to ensure they would have good seats. They found seats up near the front of the stage, which was fortuitous for both Halpin and the band, as an hour into the gig, drummer Keith Moon passed out and was carted off stage.
The house lights came up, and a thirty minute intermission followed, while Moon was revived backstage with “a cold shower”. The Who returned to the stage, and started performing, but once again Moon collapsed - this time for good. It later transpired that Moon the Loon had ingested massive quantities of animal tranquilizers, which he had washed down with his usual bottle or two of brandy. His three band mates, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and John Entwistle carried on, performing their next number “See Me, Feel Me”, with Daltrey filling-in for Keith’s drums on tambourine, before Townshend asked the audience:
“Can anybody play the drums? I mean someone good!”
It was at this moment Halpin’s companion started yelling at the stage crew that his friend could play. What he omitted to say, was that Halpin was slightly out of practice, as it was nearly a year since he had played. What happened next surprised both band and audience, and has become the stuff of legend, when concert promoter, Bill Graham approached Halpin and pulled him up onto the stage.
“Graham just looked at me and said, ‘Can you do it?’ And I said ‘Yes,“‘straight out. Townshend and Daltrey look around and they’re as surprised as I am, because Graham put me up there.”
A roadie then gave Halpin a shot of Moon’s brandy.
“Then I got really focused, and Townshend said to me, ‘I’m going to lead you. I’m going to cue you.’”
Townshend introduced him as “Scot”, and went straight into a couple of Blues standards, “Smoke Stack Lightning” and “Spoonful”. Halpin acquitted himself, kept good time and followed Townhend’s lead. Next up was The Who’s “Naked Eye”, which proved far more tricksy with its contrasting tempos. However, Halpin kept his cool and managed a steady beat throughout.
It was the band’s last number and Halpin deservedly then took his bow alongside Townshend, Daltrey and Entwistle. Backstage the band thanked:
...the skinny kid from the audience for stepping to the plate but didn’t hang around long after the show.
“They were very angry with Keith and sort of fighting among themselves,” Halpin said. “It was the opening date on their ‘Quadrophenia’ tour, and they were saying, ‘Why couldn’t he wait until after the show (if he wanted to get high)?”
Daltry, who’d begun drinking Jack Daniels from the bottle at that point, told the substitute they’d pay him $1,000 for his efforts, and a roadie gave him a tour jacket on the spot. “Then everyone split,” Halpin said. “My friend and I both had long drives ahead of us, so we loaded up on all the free food that was put out for the band, and we both headed for home.”
In the meantime, someone stole the tour jacket that Halpin had just received as a gift.
Halpin received favorable mention in the next day’s Chronicle review. He received a nice letter from the band but no money - not that it mattered.
However, the event was commemorated by Rolling Stone magazine, when they honored Halpin with “Pick-Up Player of the Year 1973.” Interviewed at the time, Halpin praised The Who’s stamina, saying:
“I only played three numbers and I was dead.”
Halpin went onto graduate from San Francisco University, and became composer-in-residence at the Headlands Centre for the Arts, in Sausalito, California. He also played with a number of bands including The Sponges, Funhouse, Folklore, Snake Doctor and Plank Road and also managed a punk rock nightclub before moving to Bloomington, Indiana, in 1995 to become a visual artist.
Halpin died in February 2008, less than a week after his birthday, he was 54.
More of Scot Halpin and The Who, plus bonus clip, after the jump…
With thanks to Heather Harris for suggesting this story!
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