Last night The Who’s truly Olympic performance proved that age doesn’t matter. Or that it does matter. It can make you better.
A younger artist covered one of their songs quite well. But when the real deal hit the stage, they filled the auditory and visual space in a way that no other performer could. Timing? Talent? Experience? It’s hard to put your finger on it. But some people just have it. And The Who sure do.
Maybe it’s because these guys have kept growing and haven’t stagnated. Both Roger Daltry and Pete Townsend have pursued their own interests (some of them questionable, mind you…) into their ripe old years. And I think this might be it. They’re not riding on their coattails or lamenting the past. They just keep evolving. So when it comes time to belt it out, they’re ready, prepared and can do it better than anyone else.
One of the first concerts I saw was a Who concert at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. I was about 16 and the Who were enjoying a massive comeback with their Who Are You? album. My first steady girlfriend had given me the red vinyl edition of the lp for my birthday (bless her heart) and I was totally into the band back then. I screamed so hard at the concert that I had a hoarse voice the next day.
Last night reminded me of those good times. And how great you can be at any age. Inspirational? You bet. The Who didn’t get old at the Olympics. They got gold.