The Who Quadrophenia Tour Is a Pathetic, Money-Grabbing Joke

What we need is a good Who tribute band.

This Saturday, the Who will perform Quadrophenia in its entirety at the Wells Fargo Center. And it will suck. Oh, sure, it will be better than the Who performing Tommy in its entirety, because Quadrophenia is a vastly better album, but it will still suck, nonetheless. Why? Because the two surviving Who members—Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend—became irrelevant phoners-in long ago, and this tour is a money-grabbing joke. We’d be much better off with a Who tribute band.

Take Philadelphia’s own Get the Led Out (pictured), perhaps the finest Led Zeppelin tribute band in existence. GTLO’s six members play the music of their favorite band “off the record,” meaning note for note, the way it was recorded. Not even Led Zeppelin ever did that, because with all the multi-tracking and overproduction on the albums, it’s damned hard to do. GTLO also plays B-sides and lesser-known works, the kinds of tunes that the real band would never revisit for a “greatest hits” final tour, and they do all of this remarkably well.

Zeppelin fans may pray for a reunion, but based on the band’s 2007 performances, as depicted in the new concert film Celebration Day, as well as the ill-fated reunion at Live Aid in Philadelphia so many years ago (see the YouTube video above in case you’ve forgotten how bad that was), GTLO is as good as it gets. See for yourself when they play the Electric Factory on December 15th.

And GTLO is just one of hundreds of tribute bands paying the bills by playing other peoples’ music. Misstallica, also locally based, is the world’s only all-girl Metallica tribute. Bruce in the USA does a mean Springsteen. The annual Australian Pink Floyd shows at the Tower Theater have become favorites among the tributed band’s diehards. Just to name a few.

No, you’re not getting the enigmatic personalities or the rock-and-roll image, the legacy of sex, drugs and destroyed hotel rooms, but what you are getting is, in many cases, an exceptional night of live music from people who love playing it, not from an old fart thinking to himself: I’ve got to play that song again? Cha-ching.