Did anyone else find themselves cringing at The Who during the halftime show?

Was it the 10, two-minute versions of their greatest hits like a bad K-tel commercial? Was it knowing that these guys, are what? Mid 60’s doing songs about teenage angst? Was it the out of place get ups on senior citizens? Was it the contrived, way over the top lights, bells and whistles?

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Why do they do it? Is it just cash? The intoxication of the attention?

In college, The Who was the edgier alternative to Springsteen (who did a half time show equally as weird.) The guys who were into The Who were hardcore and saw themselves as tough.

I couldn’t help but wonder how they felt last night. Pushing 50 themselves, did they get nostalgic or did they feel embarrassed?

Can you play rock ‘n roll when you’re old? Is it any different than those revival shows that Chuck Berry, The Drifters and The Platters do?

To tour with The Drifters and The Platters next?

Old people doing what was popular a long time ago when they were young feels strange. Like fat fifty-something guys talking about their touchdown in the homecoming game in high school.

That famed philosopher, Ricky Nelson, penned “Garden Party” after getting booed at Madison Square Garden for not doing enough oldies.

He wrote:

“If memories were all I sang, I’d rather drive a truck.”

‘Course Rick died in a plane crash smoking crack after performing at an oldies show.

Still, I think he got it right in “Garden Party.”

Roger and Pete ought to apply for CDL licenses.

  1. marycunningham says:

    We saw enough promo for the halftime show to decide to skip it. It reminded of me a commercial I saw on the Internet with a band of rockers who go off stage, remove their costumes and you see that they’re (very) senior citizens. Fortunately, our DVR allowed us to sail right through to the start of the 2nd half. Congrats to the Saints, btw, but sorry for my Colts. (sniff)



  2. Jen Forbus says:

    Didn’t see it. Don’t really know much about The Who except that my football coach in high school was a big fan…and he’s long since passed pushing 50, btw. But your whole schtick here made me think of the Stones…isn’t that what they were doing not too long ago?

  3. michael rivest says:

    Hmmm… 1972. “Who’s Next.” It put another part in my hair, changed my life. The world was ours then, mine and Pete Townsend’s. Last night was a reminder I didn’t need, that it’s all in our rear view mirrorS. Three billion years of evolution are telling us it’s time to go now. Only medical science and the boxing gym is keeping me alive. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH.

    BTW, Tom, I can’t watch the First Lady’s Haiti spot without focusing on her lip gloss. See what you’ve done?

  4. Robert Ward says:

    Gary Phillips and I watched the half time show and cringed through the whole thing. G. kept saying,”Why are they out there?” I thought it especially amusing when they sang Teenage Wasteland. Not to mention how awful they sounded. Daltrey-never a great singer anyway-croaked out his songs, and Townsend sounded like Walter Brennan. I never cared for The Who much anyway. They were always self righteous, and their heroic stance with all the windmilling used to annoy me when I was twenty. Now it looks sooo sad. There’s nothing much else to say. They’ve stayed at the party way too long. They should retire to one of their many homes around the world, and tend to their gardens. Maybe they can attract a Botox beauty or a Fortune Hunter at the Castle Wall.

    By comparison, Ray Davies goes around the world playing his wonderful witty songs on the acoustic guitar, charming one and all.(The Who never had any wit or irony. They were angry man! But you can’t do anger well after about 25.)

    Ray singing Sunny Afternoon, or Ape Man would be my choice if you had to have an oldies group. As one ages, Wit and Irony play much better than feigned fury.

  5. Just A Girl says:


    The lip gloss and the WHO show are part of the same issue – people doing things not inline with their age. Shiney Sparkley Lip gloss is for school girls…and Rocking out like that is for people who dont hurt after whipping their hair around in a circle…I am only 33 and I was demonstrating to my sons exactly how to get your hair going in a circle as you headbang (yes I am of THAT generation)…then I needed some advil…dont even make me think how I would feel if I took part in a mosh pit..i might need a few cc’s of morphine. You can do young things when you are older…just do stuff that doesnt make you look stupid…we got senior citzens going up into space, running marathons and winning, climbing mountains…but seniors in leather pants doing the grind on stage…not good…

    I left at about halftime and went shopping…the stores were gloriously empty and I got everything I needed done without the crowds. It was kind of weird though …felt like a scene from one of those “the day after” movies. I was expecting a zombie to jump out at me at some point. No cars on the road, no one really in the supermarket. Tumbleweeds blowing past. I guess all of american stops to watch the superbowl….me I got some killer shoes!

  6. BillD says:

    Saturday night there was a UFC ppv. The headliner was a bout between an almost 47 Randy Couture & a 46 year old Mark Coleman. Both former world-class wrestlers, both former UFC heavyweight champions, both UFC Hall-of-Famers. Both are battle tested guys in combat sports.

    It wasn’t a contest.
    Couture was alive, alert, aware & quick.
    Coleman was slow and tired and never had a chance. It was the 2nd recent fight of his I’ve seen where he all but admitted that he has kids, didn’t manage his money and can’t do anything else.
    That’s a shame to see in any arena.

    A week or so back Herschel Walker threw his hat (and his 47yr old body) into an MMA cage. He has a $200million/year chicken processing business, he claims to still have the $15M he got from Mr.Trump from when the USFL went t*ts up & most of his NFL money.
    Couture has been tossing around every new batch of 28 yr old upstarts that comes up the pike for 10 years in MMA.

    Herschel & Couture are rich as all get out, humble, driven athletes who love the challenge & competition. More power to them.

    We’ve seen the sad comeback attempts by past-their-prime men chasing past glory, or worse, desperately chasing a paycheck. A few do it for the love of it (with a dash of a perpetually-23 self-delusion that I plead guilty to as well) …and can still give the young pups a run for their money.

    I love an Aerosmith show. I love a Cheap Trick show. Head to head, either of’m would eat any google-platinum Black Eyed Nickle of Mudd alive.

    All that to say I enjoyed the half time show. I was even pessimistically looking for Pete to smash his guitar so I could dismiss the performance as cheap posturing. At that, I would have been disappointed.

    Daltry looks athletic still & Pete looks like s*it- an angry codger to the last. Just like I remember him when I bought ‘Who Are You’ and endlessly watched ‘Tommy’ and read/watched every interview with ‘the first punk rocker’ as some have called the surly old p*ick. I love it.

    What hit me about the performance was the missing Entwhistle & Looney Mooney. That hurts to think about. I can deal with a few more wrinkles & having a little more grizzle than how I remember them when I first discovered them.
    Seeing imposters in those places on stage is something that leaves me a bit gloomy.

    So it’s more a Geritol Wasteland these days. If the old geezers have it in them I say God bless’m. They didn’t appear to be going through the motions or in pain for having to play a collage of some hits to these idiotic Americans going on about this poofy glitz they insist on calling “football.”

    • Rebecca says:

      EXACTLY. Why are we limiting due to age? They could and did do it. THEY were playing the instruments, actually singing and making all that noise! It wasn’t “fake”. They are not going gentle into that good night. Bless ’em.

  7. tjs9261 says:

    One of your best BD…and that’s saying a lot…

  8. Kathy says:

    I don’t have a problem with their ages..my problem was that they stunk..if you can stillrockthe house at 60 more power to you… but really were the Who that great when they were “stars”.

  9. Keith Boggs says:

    I saw the Who about a year ago, and they flat rocked. Not sure what was going on with the soundat the Super Bowl. Also I would hate to be told I could not do the job I did all my life, becouse someone thought I was old. Tom I hope you don’t quit writing just becouse you got older. Might just have something differant to say, with age.

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