Monday, July 14, 2008

Codependent No More, or My Night At the VH-1 Honors "The Who" Show

Yesterday I was swimming in a sea of human need. There is so much of
it flying around in Whoville. It's mine, it's Ozzie's, it's Joyce's,
it's Lauren's, it's all of our's. It's fifty other people I don't even
know. At a Who show, it is thousands. If you have been fortunate
enough to be up close enough to Pete Townshend during a show, you can watch him
take it all in. Last night it was a little too much like watching a
caged animal, a caged genius – his eyes were giving him away but for
the first few songs he might as well have been in chains. Maybe he
was tired, jet lagged, still annoyed at the airport autographazzi. He
didn't seem to want to be there. And we all know what that feels
like. I watched him looking out at a sea of people who all wanted
something. How can he possibly meet all those needs? It's gotta be
exhausting just to walk out on the stage.

Earlier in the evening, he had stopped by party
specifically to sign pictures and posters that my friend Joyce and another guy
had brought. These were to be auctioned off for money for the Meg Fox
family. Rob Lee, who I don't know, but is the webmaster, had called
Joyce on Friday and said he couldn't get Pete to sign anything until
sometime Sunday. But then Pete said he'd show up at the dinner
sometime yesterday. I was impressed and suspected Rachel's influence
but of course I have no idea. What a very kind gesture that was, and
I hope Meg's kids can benefit from that. I know it meant a lot to the
people at the dinner. Joyce, it worked out - I am happy for you!

As an audience member, I was codependent enough to want to try and
make Pete feel better – give him energy rather than wanting to get it.
I was right in front of him with our friends Bob and Carrie and husband Ozzie. There were a
few other 'real' fans around us and I thought we gave him some
support. Maybe I just want to think that. It's a hard line to walk
because we all want something from the band. I think that's why we
go. I think I've made my peace with the fact that, if I buy a ticket,
I'm paying for that privilege. Outside the show, no, not so much.
Last night I finally had what it took for me to say "nah, I don't do
that anymore" about going to the band hotel. I was already booked to
see "My Generation" and that's what I wanted to do (ok, really I
wanted to lie down for a while!)

The night was odd – it was a television show. It was just so much
show business. Teleprompter, fans who were brought in to be there
because they were young, David Duchovny, Sean Penn. Bob and Ozzie
tried to buy tickets from the two very young women in the front row
seats in front of Pete at the beginning of the show. Ozzie said "hey,
how did you guys win these tickets?" and the one said "I'm the
daughter of the producer." Once the producers assistant or wife or
whoever she was got wind of a deal in the works she came over in a
panic `NO, they cannot give up those seats. We need the young people
in the front! They are part of the show!"

In the end, it turns out that nobody needed to trade tickets anyway.
Anyone could have walked up and stood up front for the most part. You
had to go back to your seat now and then when the production needs
demanded it (they brought a crowd of Flaming Lips ppl in as "part of
the show" who supplanted us for a while so they could keep Wayne Coyne
afloat in his plastic ball.)

At this point, I felt super old and I turned around and looked into
the face of Joel N., who was my travel buddy in Vegas back 2002. We
were hoping to see each other and it was really fun to do that. We
compared notes about the last 6 years of our lives and were happy to
find out that we had both come round to happier marriages and
kid-raising. His company did the production of some Who video show
that is on TV (VH-1?) tonight, I believe. He has done a lot o work
for the Who in the last year with Justin K. and all the fan DVD's and
such. It was great to see him happy.

Now, even when Pete's in a crappy mood, things are still pretty good.
I like to say it was an "eventful" show. Various gaffes, restarts,
broken guitars, early tape starts, whatever. It was nearly comical.
Definitely entertaining. Roger was in fairly good spirits and I felt
he was nervous about being in good enough voice for TV. I thought he was.

It was great to see the band, it was a bummer for some with no "Slip
Kid", but did you really believe that??? I still think that is Roger
just putting pressure on Pete in the media. 2000 Years was a surprise
– pretty gutsy move, I thought. No one knew it but the 40 of us there
who actually listened to it on Endless Wire.

I'll have to watch the show to really take in Adam Sandler, Jack Black
and some of the `other ends of the stage' acts. I was close enough to
Pearl Jam to be pretty wowed by "The Real Me". It was fun to see Ed
V. singing along to Jack Black's Squeeze Box before they raised the
screen for PJ.

The best part of the event for me is seeing people that I have gotten
to know over all these years. It was so great to see and talk with
Seth and Diane. To again not be able to finish about 15 conversations
with Alan McKendree. KC – my friend from Vegas 2002! It was
fantastic to see you and I especially enjoyed you digging "My
Generation" during A Quick One. I vividly remember seeing Barry &
company do "A Quick One" back in 2002 and having that same feeling. I
couldn't believe I was seeing it live. I was happy to see Drew (you
looked great!) and friend Sue. As always, Max, Susan and Ian are a
delight and Ozzie and I will keep an eye on Ian this fall in Boulder.
Charles and Jan, you are the coolest parents and I can't wait to hear
about when you broke the news to the kids that you were actually in
LA. My buddy Dan from Chicago 2002 – nice to be with you up front
again for a few minutes.  You are always on top of things. Duke,
I've never seen you looked better and you were so fun dancing at the
MG show. Even David Barling was there – I haven't see him since 2002
in Irvine. Kim, I don't think I'd seen you since then, either. It was
great to see you at the MG show. David suggested I was a control
freak for wanting everyone to sit together at the pre-show. Sorry,
all. I just think breaking up into `us and thems' is what humans love
to do (hey, I'm the one who started Relayers) and I always want to
put it back together. I'm the daughter of a nasty divorce, I can't
help it :-)

I really appreciate the help of Erika, Joyce and Stef for our Who talk
party on Friday night. I couldn't have done that without you and you
were kind to contribute $$ and labor. I got to see some but not all
of Lauren's pictures from London. Thanks for being the chef,
Lauren! I appreciated that. Lauren and I have had our moments, but I
know that you are crucial to the art of Whoville.

John Ryan, our conversations on Friday were great and are still moving
me to tears. I wish you the very best with the things we discussed.
Stef, thanks for being my organizational rock before the party.

Bob, you are a smooth operator. I never want to go to another show
without you and Ozzie. And that means you guys can't go without me,
either! I love being at this show with the two of you.

I was freakin' exhausted by the end of the show. It took everything I
had to stay standing that long. I didn't know how well I would do at
the My Generation show, but I really wanted to be there. Poor `man in
a purple dress' Chris. He caught a ride with us over to the club and
had to put up with the `married-couple-navigating-the-car-in-LA"
thing. I thought the band was great. "Dreaming from The Waist" was
a huge high point, with great work by Mike and Barry. I had never
seen Barry sing "You Better You Bet" and that was cracking me up.
(Poor Bob had to hear it for a THIRD TIME in one night!!!! Bob's not a
YBYB fan.) They are all very talented and clearly have passion for
what they do. I can't imagine anything more fun than feeling like
that. Barry, you know I love you.

After the MG show, a group of us just stood around talking and taking
pictures for quite a while. That was a lot of fun. Carrie, Tom,
Kim, Mark W., Bob, Mike B. Barry, Darren from MG.

There's always an undercurrent going on when we all get together on a
large scale like this – whatever it is. People trying to upgrade
tickets, people trying to get to Pete, all of us trying to meet up
with people who are somewhere else, trying to keep yourself sane,
trying to get your kids to let you out for a night (hello, Gary
Alguire!), making sure your spouse or your Who spouse is happy. For
me, trying to let go of whatever "D for Dysfunction" I have going on
and just enjoying music and people. I think I was able to do that.
As long as the function is generally outweighing the dysfunction, I am
good with it. I had some moments, for sure. Having thing
going on at the same time as the preshow we had was too bad but I
didn't see any other way to be with many of Relayers. Alan McKendree
is a good guy, by the way. Thanks for showing up, Alan.

I know that there are always some disappointments with these things –
so-and-so didn't show up at a party, or blah-blah didn't show up at
the tribute band show. Yeah, we're Who fans. That's what we do. In
the end, we usually come through for each other, more or less. It's
tough being a human.

Pete loosened up around the middle of their set. I wouldn't wanted to
have been the sound guys at that show. I think he did a good job
"doing his job" in the end. One thing I noticed, and I wonder if
anyone else did, was that I felt that all the other acts were
performing for the TV cameras. Pearl Jam and The Who really played to
the crowd. Yeah, Pete probably threw in a few more kicks and
whatever, but he couldn't help but be there with the crowd. I am really
glad I was there. I had a good time with Ozzie the whole night. He's
been a treasure this whole weekend. He's really the best fan anyone
can have.



Trish, this is so cool!! I'm going to have to share this with my Sweetie who is a huge Who fan. We watched many of the special shows this weekend and he is planning his Thursday evening around the broadcast of the show you were at. He's gonna be so jealous. Well, maybe not jealous, but impressed.

Anonymous said...

WOO, great report! Thanks so much for writing it. I particularly loved "a sea of human need." Damn, that is apt.

Also, the TV stuff is fascinating. "We need to create the illusion that young people like The Who!" Really, maybe it's more the illusion that young people have greater access to the front of the stage than their more well-heeled elders...

trrish said...

Lisa, it was impressive. Not the best Who show I've seen, but an interesting experience. Show biz, baby. We're starting seeing some of the video coming out of it - heavy editing!!


trrish said...

or even the illusion that "young people love VH-1", I think. Sean Penn had a nice little slam at Vh-1 - wonder if they'll edit it.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit, I lost it coming across those pictures of "Who Talk" at the Who House.

That weekend would not have been about chasing Roger throughout L.A., as many would assume. It would have been about being with my Who family, sharing warm, fuzzy moments, and meeting new people.

The songs by the campfire videos especially got to me.


trrish said...

hey Sara,

well, I was in The Who house and I didn't even get to go to the 'sing around the campfire'. It was time to put my son to bed, and so that's what I did. So, you aren't the only one who missed! :-)

I know what you mean about the chasing Roger vs. hanging with the peeps. It's all about the peeps for me, too. Except when it's about Pete :-)