Something borrowed – something new.
The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.
The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.
Death is not selective. It does not weed out musicians from the grass of normalcy.
Visiting TheMuseum in Kitchener, Ontario to witness UnZipped – immediately the above lyrics from The Stones’ song Sympathy for The Devil jumps into your head. Truer words have never been written to describe a Rock n Roll band that have endured for fifty-nine years.
Entering the exhibit – people are greeted by a video montage with several screens overlapping one another. Along with music and dialogue – the history of the band and all their trials, tribulations and music grabs you. A fan or not – the adventure which is The Rolling Stones awaits as you enter the highway of world and music history.
Charlie Watts’ – the only drummer in Stones history and the man who made Mick Jagger dance the way he does, passed away in 2021. Charlie’s drum kit – the one he used on all studio recordings from 1965-68 greets a visitor on the next step of the visit. Like Charlie himself – the Ludwig kit stands quietly and elegantly. No words were needed by Charlie and no words required by his kit as it is displayed fittingly surrounded by early photos of his band mates and friends. Charlie in the center and the antics that created the band around him. Poetic.
Decade by decade – the Stones’ bodies rust yet the frame remains intact. Album covers and tour posters, costumes reflecting the times and fashion trends, guitars and instruments on display as the exhibit continues to amaze and excite. Like Ronnie and Keith’s guitars themselves – Unzipped weaves through their history anciently and artistically. Warhol, Gucci – the beacons of the art and design world mirroring the Stones artistic catalog. Stage designs larger in scale than most five hundred dollar Lego sets give a nod and a wink to Charlie. Thinking, listening, dancing and watching. As much as part of TheMuseum visit as a Stones concert itself.
Most museum visits and exhibits give the punter a glance of times gone by and a wonder of what the people that made history were like. Ancient artifacts and people dead for many years are for the most part – the exhibit. How often does history at this level, with this much impact on popular culture consist of people and artifacts that are still in use and continuing to write history? Like The Rolling Stones themselves – Unzipped is a one of a kind experience that must be seen at least once.
On the stage at the Filmore West in San Francisco -not only magic, a spontaneous musical interaction took place. Concert goers in 2021 have no idea of what a live show sounds like when music is natural and played by the best of the best.
King Curtis was the bandleader and was at the top of his game. Few players understood the soul of a song like King Curtis.
Please listen below to some information on King Curtis, the band and the Filmore West. Also hear some great tracks from the fabled album; King Curtis Live at Filmore West
Many Rock bands from the sixties and the seventies remain there. Most times – songwriting disappears or band members depart for the heavenly stage. Sadly – the chances of seeing or hearing your favorite group live in it’s original glory; slim as a drum stick. Live footage is available only in grainy, low production quality. The Who – in many people’s minds, one of ‘those‘ bands.
Keith Moon , the original drummer – passed away in 1978. According to even the most ardent of fans; The Who died along with him. In concert, Moon provided ‘the show’ while driving the engine periously close to falling off cliffs. Guitarist Pete Townshend wrote the songs, Daltrey delivered the vocals and John Entwistle tried to keep things grounded on bass. Moon’s fills echoed Daltrey and became part of the chorus. Moon’s energy pushed Townshend into another realm of rhythm at top speed. In their heyday – few came close to The Who live.
Following Moon’s death – the songs came few and infrequent. Even the best of the post Moon era paled in energy to The Who in their prime. Daltrey, Entwistle and Townshend all lost their muse. Once Entwistle left via a true Rock Star’s death; The Who were filed away and destined for Classic Rock radio.
A concert / mini – documentary was filmed at London’s Hyde Park. Townshend and Daltrey – the surviving members, interrupt the live show ( backstage and recorded ) with insights and observations of both the past and the present. An interesting take on a band who arguably sit in position number three of the top Rock bands of all time. The show then goes on to prove why The Who sit behind only The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in Rock history.
A lot of bands (whose best days lay in decades void of the internet) put on nostalgia shows parading hit after hit for outstanding performances. Great songs last and stand the test of time. The tunes endure in the hearts of fans because they remind people of simpler times. It is also a chance for parents to introduce the kids to the music of their youth. Sadly – with exceptions ; these concerts lack the revolt and original feeling of the times when they were released. It’s music’s version of a hockey team’s old-timer ceremony.
Without Moon and without Entwistle. Lacking the energy of youth and sans the surprise factor of smashing instruments ; Townshend and Daltrey in 2015 capture the magic of The Who ‘with a little help from their friends’.
Ringo Starr’s son Zak is the muse Daltrey and Townshend lost many ‘Moon’ (s) ago. Starkey’s energy and immense ear for fills and rhythm inject life into half of The original Who. Just as Keith Moon made them forty years ago, The Who 3.0 are relevant on this night thanks to Starkey. Suddenly – songs which could have easily been portrayed as golden oldies in much the same fashion Elton John (2021) does, the tunes take on freshness and a Rock n Roll attitude. Just like that – The Who are ‘Live at Leeds’.
When Moon was alive and Entwistle was safely interacting with hookers – The Who ,on stage and in studio, were four guys calming and creating teen angst. In 2015, as with many artists in the modern age; adding the right amount of backing musicians is more of a law than a felony. The Who can (and) do sound better than 1977 or 1967 live. A fuller sound is now completed by Townshend’s edgy guitar work and Daltrey’s equally ( at times) menacing vocals. The sums of all the above make songs such as My Generation , I Can’t Explain, Who Are You, Pictures of Lily and Behind Blue Eyes new and dangerous once more.
Watching The Who live in 2015 conjurs up ghosts of the present and future. Entwistle and Moon smiling onstage. A pair of ghosts from Christmas past. Enjoying a haunting good time.
Please listen below to my great chat with Kellylee and find out about a charity TV show this weekend to help The Ottawa Mission.
Please listen below to my great chat with Miss Emily and find out about a charity TV show this weekend to help The Ottawa Mission.