Townshend in concert, 2008*
Seems like nowadays, you aren’t really a considered a true rock star unless you have yourself a good old fashioned walk off during a live performance – I’m looking at you Billie Joe Armstrong and Axl Rose. Well, in comes Pete Townshend, legendary guitarist and co-songwriter for The Who, who decided to have his very own this past weekend during last Thursday’s performance at the B&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
It all started when Townshend apparently left midway during the band’s first encore performance of a very shaky rendition of the 1981 hit “You Better Bet” during the opening night of their much anticipated “Quadrophenia and More” tour. After Townshend failed to reappear, a confused Roger Daltrey told the equally surprised crowd, “Pete’s having guitar troubles.”
Daltrey eventually gathered the remaining band members and proceeded to go through a very awkward and Pete-less try at “Baba O’ Riley.” After the song was done, Datlrey thanked the audience and told them to have a good night, ending what was an otherwise excellent concert by all accounts – aside from the confusing conclusion.
As far as why Townshend left the stage, the guitarist’s brother, Simon Townshend, revealed through Twitter (via @simont4000) that “pete walked off tonight because it was too loud. was a good show but had some technical problems.”
This actually makes a lot more sense than just “guitar troubles” as Townshend’s persistent hearing problems are very much well documented. He himself claims to suffer from tinnitus, a chronic and incurable ringing in the ears.
During an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 2010, Townshend admitted that he still had ringing in his ears several weeks after the band’s Super Bowl performance that year, adding “If my hearing is going to be a problem, we’re not delaying shows — we’re finished. I can’t really see any way around the issue.”
Well, hopefully it won’t go to those lengths any time soon. If the positive response to their current tour is any indication, fans want Pete windmilling live in concert for many years to come. We wish him all the best.
* Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons