DFW Music News

Here's a Cure for the Summertime Blues: The Who at Memorial Auditorium on July 23, 1967

Earthquake. "Today may end up being the coolest day thru the middle of the upcoming week." Sun storms. "U.S. drought may persist for another year." Pastor Perry.

But, amidst all that awful news, there's this reprieve posted just Thursday: "The Who - Live at Memorial Auditorium, Dallas, 23 July 1967." That was a little more than a month after the Monterey Pop Festival, where Pete Townshend and Jimi Hendrix sparred over who should follow whom. (The Who got their way and lost anyhow.) This was the band's first U.S. tour, as the opening act for Herman's Hermits. Roger Daltrey would later shrug it off: "It got us around America, but it did us no good at all," he says in Richard Barnes's book Maximum R&B. "The audience's didn't mix."

It's evident, at least early. A woman intro's the band: "I'd like to introduce to you now the most explosive group ever to come out of England -- The Who." Screams. Applause. Followed by 30, 45 seconds' worth of fiddling about. You can hear the crowd's chitchat; a feller sitting next to the taper twangs, "I wanna hear 'Boris.'" But first there's "Substitute," greeted ... politely. Then: "Summertime Blues"; then, "Pictures of Lily," which prompts one man in the audience to note, well, "they got style."

With but two records to its credit and little time to play, the opening act's set list is short, an intriguing mishmash -- why, there's "Love Hurts," of all things, amongst the classics ("So Sad About Us," "I'm a Boy" and "Happy Jack," then the closest thing The Who'd had to a U.S. hit). Finally, the closer: "My Generation," the beginning lopped off on this audience keepsake but its explosive ending intact. The audience roars at the chaos that cost the band more than it made on its first American tour. The feedback fades into whistles of adoration. So the audiences did mix.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky