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"But we`re too old to rock and roll every night"
Daily Mirror, 20-12-1982
... were gunged up, but still he sparkedled and popped with energy. Roger said: "A whole generation has grown up with The Who and what we tried to give them was some sort of message of hope, not the self-destruct idea behind some some aspects of rock and roll.
Maybe we helped that generation through the difficulties that come to all of us. It has been mine and Pete`s decision to quit touring now.
We are getting too old to do kick-arse rock and roll every night and it will be a relief when it`s all over."
So now it was showtime and backstage at Maple Leaf Gardens, Roger Daltrey clowned it up in the shower room singing, "What a difference a shave makes" in his jump suit with all the zips glittering.
Pete Townshend was in his dressing room not to be disturbed because he was psyching himself up for the Last Great Rock Show.
Out front in the stadium the 20.000, kids to 40-years-olds, were washed and caressed in layer on layer of pastel colours laid down by myriad lights.
Every now and then, in some uncanny mass communication, they would grow perfectly quiet as though someone had whispered in their collective ear at a single moment.
During those couple of seconds you could have heard a rat pee on a tea bag.
Then the band was on, driving into its first number, and you could feel the release of tension from the throng as they let The Who take over their emotions like a hypnotist controlling a willing patient. This was Rock´n`Roll and their way of life.
When Townshend gave that ungainly scissor-legged leap of his and Daltrey stood with his mike raised in one hand over his head perfectly motionless it was as though a sign had been passed down from the Princes of Rock´n`Roll to their court followers.
A sea of flame from cigarette lighters lit the faces of the devotees, many of whom just stood in silent rapture.
Near the end, the lights went out, leaving only Daltrey and Townshend in a soft, solitary glow.
Then Daltrey burst into the rock classic Twist and Shout and twenty searchlight beams carved the huge arena into diamond bright chunks.
In an encore the 37-year-old Daltrey sang "All a young man has is rock and roll." Well, as Pete has said, there comes an end to the time when you can still act like a kid on stage when you`re pushing 40. And all these young men had ever had was rock and roll and they were looking back down that long, and often dirty road.
After the show there was the usual scene of chaos with the privileged jostling to get near their idols. Daltrey said to me: "It`s great to go out on top. We did just that tonight."
Pete Townshend hammed it up for the TV cameras, there to mark and record the end of an era, as they say.
We sat on a sette, Pete dressed in an old Teddy Boy outfit, the trousers cut spectularly low in the crotch. "I`ve been in this business since i was thirteen," he said. "It is all I
ever knew and all I ever wanted to know.
I`ll miss the touring because rock and roll is synonymous with being on the road. But I`ll be much better for having a natural rhythm in my life and, on top that, my wife has come back to me.
I`ve never wanted to be a star, Ive always wanted to be a normal guy. Now maybe, I can be something approaching that."
Pete has small peculiar pale blue eyes and when he speaks there is no light of animation in them, as though long ago he had grownup too soon. "I never had any mysterious magical quality, I don`t think."
Someone asked if they could take a picture of him sitting there just like that at the end of the road.
Alone in the jostling, gawping mob, Pete Townshend sat with his head down and a sadness and dejection and peculiar remoteness came on him as though all the lights in a brilliantly-illuminated room had been switched off...