Monday, February 8, 2010

Oh, The Whomanity!

Okay, so it's only barely related to hockey, but about the only thing I've dedicated more man hours to than hockey is music. This does not make me an expert or anything (I mean, how much is an undergraduate degree in music worth in "expert" currency, anyway?) but let's just say I've tried to keep at least one eye on the industry through the years.

But it's time to ask: who the hell comes up with the bands they sign for the Super Bowl halftime show?

The roster is a motley crew (crue?) of odd, to be sure.

From the University of Arizona and Grambling State University Bands, ole Sugar Lips himself and the Anaheim High School Drill Team (1st) we've traipsed through the Carol Channings (yeah, you heard me), Ella Fitzgeralds (with the dulcet stylings of both Ms. Channing AND Sugar Lips, both in redux), Up With Peoples (twice), George Burnses, Mickey Rooneys, Chubby Checkers, something called Elvis Prestos (in 3-D, no less!), the Mighty CSUN Matador Walls of Sound, Olympic Figure Skaters Brian Boitanos and Dorothy Hamills (same year as "Go frosty, go frosty go! Yo frosty, yo frosty yo!" seriously, WTF?!), Michael Jacksons, Indiana Joneses (complete with Marion Ravenwoodses), Blues Brotherses, Chaka Khans, Savion Glovers (bring in da noise, bring in da football?), Phil Collinses, NKOTBs, Warren Moons, Edward James Olmoses, Ben Stillers, Adam Sandlers, Chris Rocks, 'N Syncs, R Kellys (good call, NFL), Nellys, Stings, JJs & JTs (oops?), Paul McCartneys (too late), Rolling Stoneses (too late), Princes (2 late), Tom Pettys (too late), Springsteens (baby we were born to run...or pass)....and, most recently, The Who.

Yeah, that's a long list of bizarre.

Now, I should get it out there that I think The Who has some of the most iconic RnR songs of all time. Certainly among the British Invasion set - the seminal importance to the current "popular" music genre of which really can't be debated.

Innovators, pioneers or just plain bad ass rockers, The Who could bring it like few other bands in history.

Past tense.

Waaaaaaaay past tense.

Regardless of whether or not it was live or previously recorded, that was one of the worst musical performances since, well since the Hope For Haiti disaster.*

If it was live then Daltrey's vocal, um, adventures might be explained away by illness or a staph infection, or vocal herpes or something. If it was previously recorded then there's no such excuse. I'm going with: His Voice Is Just Shot. And if your front man can't sing the high notes in your Who set, you've got problems. Now, on the other hand, if your front man can't sing the high notes - why not just change the key in which you're playing the damn song?! Surely a musical genius the likes of a Pete Townshend can figure out how to play down a couple keys.

Well, I suppose that assumes Pete's actually playing. By the end of their set, Pete wasn't even trying to pretend he needed to actually hit the strings when he was doing his patented arm windmill thing. Thankfully all of us at home were treated to an "up the shirt" shot of Pete's geriatric belly which may have either distracted people from that fact or caused them to avert their eyes lest their gag reflex completely kick in.

Perhaps the best explanation for Pete allowing himself to be on stage with Daltrey sounding like a dying goat is that Townshend's hearing loss has progressed to the point of oblivion (bliss?) - I mean, the man is both very intelligent and not necessarily a card carrying member of the Roger Daltrey Fan Club.

The connection between sports and music is pretty strong. And The Who has some of the best, most indentifiable rock songs of all time. But they looked like the winners of Retirement Home Idol, not an iconic rock band.

The stage was awesome. The band/music....not so much.


*The music in the Hope For Haiti show, with precious few exceptions, was atrocious. Between that, the SB halftime show and the upcoming We Are The World redux, are we seeing the supernova of musical talent in the music industry? Instead of artists we're going to get musicians who can be produced to sound "good" and dressed up to look the part on stage? Sure looks that way. Where have you gone, Paul Simon?

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