DFW Music News

For Your Pre-New Year's Listening Pleasure: The Who Bring Tommy to Memorial Auditorium

Four months ago I stumbled across a rough keepsake of The Who's first-ever Dallas performance in July 1967 at Memorial Auditorium downtown; it's a rumble of feedback and chatter, though buried somewhere beneath it all is The Greatest Rock and Roll Band of All Time roaring toward immortality. And now we have this to add to our ever-growing stack of live-and-local Who odds and sods: On June 19, 1970, the band returned to Memorial, touring behind both Tommy and Live at Leeds, the latter recorded in February of '70 and released in May, one month before Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Keith Moon and John Entwistle's triumphant return with the deaf, dumb and blind boy in tow.

The show, available here, appears to be incomplete; various set lists, such as this one, insist the band opened with "Heaven and Hell" and closed with "Summertime Blues," "Shakin' All Over" and, but of course, "My Generation." Nevertheless, Dallas audiences were treated to rarities seldom heard after that, including "The Seeker" (which, so the story goes, fell off the set list after this performance and wouldn't make its in-concert return for another 30 years) and "Water" (a Lifehouse composition first released as the "5.15" B-side in 1973).

After "I Can't Explain," "Young Man Blues," those lost gems and a little "pop song" (per Pete) called "Substitute," Townshend calls out the "maestro" -- one Keith Moon -- to "assemble the members of the orchestra for the overture" to Tommy, which fills the remainder of this playful, invaluable recording. I always was a Quadrophenia man myself; that said, they were shooting "Sparks" on this night. And lest I forget: Tickets cost $3 then. A ticket stub will run you $75 today.