Monday, February 20, 2006

Hop Aboard The Magic Bus



Anyone got a spare $3.50? That's all it cost in those days to see the triple bill of Paul Jones (formerly of Manfred Mann - famous for singing 'Do Wah Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Doo'), the Small Faces and the headliners, The Who. I'd be amazed if a similar bill in today's environment managed to cost under $250 per ticket. Still, gotta love those 1968 prices. In case you're wondering, I found the ad in an old issue of Go-Set. That was one Big Show that lived up to it's billing.

The Who in Adelaide always reminds me of one of my all time favorite rock and roll stories. Back in the day (1992-1993 to be exact) I used to present a show about rock music on ABC Radio 5AN on a Thursday night. I was limited in what I was allowed to play (this was the ABC after all) but seeing how I went to air from 9:30 to 10:00pm I got away with more than I should have. I managed to do specials on Kiss, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles (one of my all time favs as I got to play a pile of Beatles bootleg demo recordings years before the Anthology series) and, eventually, The Who. I got to play a pile of odd tunes, the more obscure the better, and I got to interview a lot of people and hear a lot of the classic rock 'n roll stories that Adelaide is famous for (example: what well known singer from one of Australia's biggest '60s/'70s bands was a major dealer in dope in the early to mid '70s in Adelaide whilst working as a record company rep? Ummmmmm...) In the process of The Who programme a guy phoned in and told one of those classic Adelaide rock stories.

The guy and his then girlfriend went to see the late concert (there were two - a matinee and an evening show). By all accounts the concert went off great. Paul Jones was fine form, the Small Faces went over a treat and The Who, well they were The Who at that stage, with Keith Moon and Pete Townsend in full flight. The show was going along just nicely, the guy and his girl were having a great time bopping along and then the last song, I think it was My Generation, came to an end and Moon started demolishing his drum kit, as was his wont. Townsend threw his guitar up in the air, caught it and started to smash the living suitcase out of it on the side of the stage, resulting in a semi-broken guitar, the neck of which he grabbed and spun around. At that point the neck said 'Goodbye' to the body and the body went spinning off into the audience and struck the girl full in the face knocking her out cold.

On stage Townsend stopped dead and looked over at Roger Daltrey and both stared into the crowd at the unconscious girl with stunned looks on their faces. All of the band ran off and minders started coming into the crowd. At which point the guy looked down at the girl and wondered what should he do? Should he nurse her back to life or grab the guitar and make a bolt for it? After she'd not know that he bolted, she was in a deep sleep. And that guitar, well, it wasn't just a guitar, it was Pete Townsend's guitar. A worthy prize indeed.

Decisions, decisions. All the options ran through his mind, but being the nice guy he was he knelt down and cradled his girls head on his leg and allowed someone else to flee with the Rickenbacker, with the security in hot pursuit. Then the minders picked the girl up and took them both backstage where she was brought round with the help of some smelling salts. A voice behind him said, "'Ere mate, she owlright?" He turned to find himself standing nose to beak with Townsend, with Daltrey behind him and a giggling Moon. Reassured that she was Daltrey, Townsend and Moon all had a huddle (I presume that Entwhistle was off already getting pissed somewhere) and presented the guy with a drum head signed by Paul Jones, the Small Faces and The Who, a set of Moon's drum sticks (splintered, hence used) and the recovered guitar body, also signed by The Who. He could have all of that only if he didn't sue the band for damages.

He took it - you'd have to be a right bloody dickhead not to. He ended up marrying the girl, despite her crooked nose, and they lived happily ever after, with the booty all professionally framed and on the wall. He'd phoned in to ask it's worth so I gave him the only honest answer I could.

"With that story? Priceless mate, absolutely bloody priceless." That's rock and roll!!! Pity that kind of stuff doesn't happen anymore and who cares if it didn't actually happen, as some people have suggested since (methinks a case of jealousy). It does give my heart a certain sense of joy to know that it probably did.

1 comment:

Tim said...

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