The Who's Spooky Tour: Awe and Hassles

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The photo book that comes in the album was done by Ethan Russell. "Chad, the kid in the book," said Daltrey, "is Jimmy. He's a little old – 22 or so, been married and divorced – but he was a real rocker. A secretary at the studio found him in a pub and brought him round as a model. At first everybody said, 'No, no, get him out,' but then we ran out of models and finally said, 'Piss, let's use him' – and he was perfect. He was fucking up before, petty theft and vandalism, but that little bit of a pat on the back straightened him up and now he's doin' well. Now his friends point him out and say, 'That's in the record,' and it's made all the difference. He'd've been in jail if it weren't for that.

"The studio is in Battersea, the industrial part of West London. Real working-class people there – you might call them Brooklynites. The street he's driving down in his bike on the third page of the book – the one with the dirty great industrial smokestacks – that's the street the studio's on."

The first Who tour in two years was a sizable project. For the American leg of the tour they brought a sound and lighting crew of 12 all the way from England – the total crew on the job at any date would be 30 – and carried around 20 tons of equipment in three 45-foot vans. There were self-examination sessions for every concert – sometimes after-hours post-mortems, sometimes simple onstage fisticuffs – to evaluate how it was all working.

The British tour started with a provincial runup, stopping off first at Stoke on the grim Midlands October 28th. After seven days of rehearsal it was courageous, if unwise, to attempt the whole of Quadrophenia in concert, involving as it did a score or more of guitar changes. In a post-mortem it was agreed that five numbers should be cut, reducing the guitar handovers to a reasonable count. That seemed to iron out most of the sticky patches, and the following shows at Manchester were smooth enough. Bobby Pridden, the sound engineer, seemed to have worked out the critical balance between taped material – John Entwistle's multiple horn parts, the sea and rain sound effects, Townshend's banjo and fiddle playing and his Moog orchestrations – and the live sound.

At the next stop, Newcastle, it all fell apart. The hall's management had instructed the usherettes to shine a flashlight at anyone who so much as dared to stand up, a tactic that might almost have been designed specifically to needle the Who, as it's long been their policy to play to the front rows, those kids who had stood in line longest to get in earliest. So when the tape synch warning signal on Moon's headphones came in about 15 seconds out of step with the band and Townshend realized it couldn't be held together, he exploded – dragged Pridden over the sound desk, knocked an amp over and stormed offstage. After raging about the dressing room for nearly half an hour, he cooled off enough to come back onstage. But Quadrophenia was abandoned for the night, and instead the Who ran through a selection of their golden oldies.

Next day, wearing a hangdog expression, Peter lent a hand repairing the gear and even went on local television with Moon to explain the outburst. The next night's show at the 2000-seat hall was better and the remainder of the British tour went smoothly, except for the chaotic box office scenes at the London Lyceum. For their return to the Lyceum December 18th, 19th, 22nd and 23rd, tickets will be available only through the mail.

The first US concert, oddly, was in San Francisco. Oddly because the time zone difference from England was a full eight hours, rather than the merely disorienting five-hour difference if they'd come to the East Coast first. When Keith Moon collapsed during the concert, twice (Rolling Stone 150, Random Notes), the collapse was at first attributed to jet lag and "high living" in the day they'd had in California before the November 19th concert. Not drugs.

But it was drugs, in fact, according to the group, but involuntary drugs: PCP, that perennial on the counterfeit acid market. "It was somebody gave Keith a drink spiked with monkey tranquilizer," said Roger Daltrey. "There were two girls drinking with him that was even worse off – one of 'em came near dyin'. They took him down to the hospital after the show, you know. Usually he drinks like a fish, but he'd only been drinking just a bit when he came onstage and he was playing fine. Then after a while he starts dragging – it was really frightening to see it. And he just keeled over."

"If I catch who spiked me drink," said Moon in Dallas, "I'll break off both their arms and beat 'em to death."

After the first collapse, the audience was asked to have patience while Moon was revived in the shower. But when he collapsed the second time, Townshend called out for drummers in the audience and one Scott Halpin responded.

"That drummer," said Daltrey, "none of the papers picked it up, but he was good. He was a little stiff when he first came onstage, because he didn't know how different it sounds when you're onstage from when you're down in the audience. The sound's always going out, you see. You can't hear yourself right. So he was really banging on the drums to hear himself."

"When Keith collapsed," said Pete, "it was a shame. I had just been getting warmed up at that point. I'd felt closed up, like I couldn't let anything out. I didn't want to stop playing.

"It was also a shame for all the people who'd waited in line for eight hours."

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