More than 100 million people tuned in to Super Bowl XLIV last night, and it seems like each one of them has an opinion on the Who’s 12-minute halftime performance. Readers flocked to Rolling Stone‘s report on the Super Bowl set to leave comments praising and criticizing Daltrey and Townshend’s pyro-packed show. “The Who were an amazing band, but you gotta face the fact that they really didn’t sound good,” Bob wrote, while Redsox argued, “Everyone can say what they want, but I’ve seen them 28 times over the last 25 years and last night at the ripe age of 65 and 64 they were unreal, living the dream and spreading the genius of Pete’s music onto a new generation.”
Many readers lodged complaints over the band’s sound issues — a common issue when rockers perform on impromptu stages in open-air stadiums. Some commenters remarked that their telecast of the performance suffered from a slight delay between sound and visuals. Others felt that the Who showed their old age in the performance, and a small minority claimed that the band onstage wasn’t the Who at all since they were missing drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle.
However, an army of Who devotees applauded the Who’s energetic performance and marveled at their ability to rock in their 60s. Of course, some used the hyperbolic “Best halftime show ever,” but most of the positive comments suggest that the Super Bowl performance was just the latest chapter in the Who’s ongoing legacy. Drummer Zak Starkey — yes, Ringo’s son — was credited with channeling the spirit of Keith Moon, and Daltrey’s scream on “Won’t Get Fooled Again” managed to scrape the same heights as it did almost 40 years ago. And there’s no one who can deny that the stage setup was pretty remarkable.
Here’s a cross-section of RS’ best reader comments:
Who-Fan: “The Who will always be great, but that was not singingâ€¦they are long past their prime.”
Proud: “How many of you could get up and do that 60 50 40 whatever it was fun it wasn’t like 45 years ago but it was great just the same”
Are you kidding?: “worst performance at half-time in a while”
Timmyy: “Truly a great example of Live Arena Rock! People are so used to lip sync techno produced pop that they just don’t get live rock. Its not supposed to sound perfect, its not a CD. The Who showed why they are best of all time at LIVE ARENA ROCK!”
Siberia: “brilliant staging brilliant pyro brilliant stage design. the performance? sub par at best. what i wanna know is how oprah got letterman and leno to do a commercial together”
Lorraine: “The Who were Whorrible!! WHO came up with the idea of booking them? Who Dat???”
Moon the Loon: “25 or 65, The Who Rocked!! Best half-time show ever. Sad that so many of you are so f’n clueless!!”
Robin: “I didn’t enjoy The Who’s performance, but the lighting display was pretty cool. I find it hard to believe many people like the halftime show. People need to separate nostalgia from their opinion.”
Goatherd: “The Who were never noted for impeccable live rendition, but rather energy. There was plenty of energy here. And Daltrey hit the only note that matters: the HEYYYYY!!! at the end of Won’t Be Fooled Again. Rock on!”