'Quadrophenia' with the original four faces of Jimmy at the 02: for John Entwistle and Keith Moon were imaged large. Though the rock opera first appeared in October 1973, Pete Townshend looked back in anger at 1965, when he was just turning twenty. His childhood had been a Britain in the aftermath of war. Changing social structure and austerity, national pride and blanket optimism disintegrated into disaffectation and hopelessness.
Thanks to the picture archives and to the amazing graphics directed by Roger and exec-produced by Rob Lee, we saw it all there last night. Raw, unsubtle, aggressive, The Who voiced teenage angst through music in ways that no band had yet dared to do. Together with The Beatles and The Stones, they wiped the floor with America.
It can be difficult to comprehend now what it all meant then. Most of us in the audience last night were too young to have known first-hand. Many of us only got to The Who in the early Eighties, by which time Moonie was gone, and they had already become the landed gentry they'd once despised. Round and round ... 'There's life in the old f***ers yet!' crowed Roger. 'Rock 'til we drop! It's better than getting smelly and old!'
I missed John, though how incredible to see his face looming huge during '5:15' at 'I hear thunder ...', Pino standing aside to let the maestro roll. The greatest bassist who ever played.