48 Years ago today:
THE WHO, JUNE 6,1969: FILLMORE EAST
My obsession with seeing/hearing LIVE MUSIC began by the time I was 12 years old but grew in leaps and bounds at age 16 when I found out how easy it was to obtain tickets for a LED ZEPPELIN show at FILLMORE EAST. The day the Zep tixs arrived in my SASE, I immediately ordered two seats for CHUCK BERRY and ALBERT KING, a Friday night early show, June 6, 1969. I was especially looking forward to hearing Albert King as I wore out his LIVE WIRE BLUES POWER album that spring. To my joy the tickets arrived in record time. I was “in the house”. During an intermission at the Zeppelin show I scouted where I would be seated for the Albert King show, fourth row aisle seat on the left. Too cool, really nice sight lines. Then it happened. At the Led Zeppelin show, Bill Graham announced a few future shows and had a special announcement. An additional act would be added to the Albert King Chuck Berry bill, headlining that show would now be…. THE WHO. Oh my… I was ecstatic…But How?
Actually, The Who had played the Fillmore East only two weeks prior to the Led Zeppelin show, when during their performance a fire occurred in the adjoining building . A Fire Marshall, not in uniform, attempted to evacuate the premises when Pete Townshend The Who’s guitarist got into an altercation with the “undercover” official. Townshend thinking that this guy was a nut job hit him and an arrest of Pete Townshend abruptly ended the show. So now this show, the one I had two tickets for, was labeled as THE TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF THE WHO.
Their album the “rock opera” TOMMY was released a few short days(May23) before this rescheduled performance and the songs were already in heavy rotation on the FM radio.
There I sat four rows back from Albert King, he dressed to the nines with a dark suit, white shirt, and a tie while playing a short but sweet set on his Flying V guitar, BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN, PERSONAL MANAGER,AS THE YEARS GO PASSING BY and STORMY MONDAY. I was amazed.
Chuck Berry was up next doing what I found out years later was his traditional set list, nothing too outstanding except seeing him doing his duck walk. Chuck closed with MY DING A LING a really stupid sing along which I found embarrassing. Chuck was gone and forgotten by me almost that quickly.
THE WHO on the other hand was fantastic. I was in awe the entire time, mouth opened kind of awe. The sheer power of the band along with the visual presence. Daltry, dressed in fringe was swinging his microphone, Townshend windmilling on the guitar, Entwhistle had magical fingers running up and down the bass, and then Keith Moon on the kit, a show within a show. Amazing. CAN’T EXPLAIN ,FORTUNE TELLER,New TOMMY stuff, SUMMERTIME BLUES, MAGIC BUS, needless to say my very limited concert experiences just had a new threshold to beat and that would be… THE WHO. Live music to me became a real education and an obsession.