The stage is being set for Rock Honors: The Who at the Pauley Pavilion. I’m lucky enough to have an all-access pass, and walking around a day before the show, you can tell something big is in the air. The monitors are being tested and the psychedelic images are flowing –- giant pulsating speakers, trees, planets — I see it all, man (and it totally makes sense). OK, so there may be one or two acid flashbacks in the course of reporting, but this is the Who, and if you’ve seen the movie Tommy, we should be on the same page.
To find out what’s going on behind the scenes the day before the big show, take the jump.
The sound check and staging are moving ahead nicely. Yesterday, I caught the the Flaming Lips post-rehearsal discussion. Although I didn’t see the actual soundcheck, my good pal Jay assured me it was, “Tight and fun and everything you would expect from the Flaming Lips.” Today, as I sit here quietly in the back taking it all in, I hear guitar techs playing recognizable riffs, and familiar notes from the piano techs that are getting me amped up to hear the Who and the tribute bands live on this stage tomorrow.
I haven’t seen the Who live since they passed through Hartford, CT in 1997 on the Quadrophenia tour. It was a great show that I remember fondly because 1.) It rocked, 2.) It was the first and only time I’ve ever seen “ladies of the night” working the parking lot of a rock show and 3.) I narrowly avoided death when a jackass going the wrong way on the highway almost plowed into me (head-on, of course). The show was awesome and I highly recommend that you find a bootleg copy somewhere online or wherever quality soundboard recordings are sold.
As I was writing this reverie, I failed to realize the Foo Fighters had taken the stage for their soundcheck. They’re rocking some extended blues jams that may be a warm-up exercise or a snippet from whatever they’re going to be playing in their tribute to the Who. The Foos always impress with solid, tight sets that really surpass the expectations I would have for an ordinary power-pop band. Then again, if they were just some run of the mill power-pop quartet, they probably would not be invited to Rock Honors where they consistently hit it out of the park. If you have a chance, check out their set with Queen from 2006’s Rock Honors (“We Will Rock You,” in particular, kicked serious ass). It should be on this site somewhere, maybe you can go and find it while I listen to the Foos’ soundcheck. Spoiler alert: so far, it is AWESOME! — Stephen Pavlopoulos