THE WHO, Survey Cricket Club, the Faces, the Oval Cricket Ground, Buffalo Music and Bangla Desh may sound like an odd mixture to anyone who wasn't around Kennington on Saturday. But these six ingredients, coupled with the weather, combined to make Saturday not only a memorable day in the history of British rock, but one of the most enjoyable days of my 24 and a hald years.
It is doubtful whether any of the 31000 official guests (the figure was probably more like 35000) had cause to complain. The show, compered by Rikki "Isle Of Wight" Farr and a cricketing Jeff dexter, was superbly organised. With one notable exception, the delay between acts was never more than about 15 minutes.
The Oval itself proved an ideal natural venue for staging a rock concert of this magnitude. The unlikely partnership of the rock business and the establishment of the cricketing world paid off handsomely. At least 15000 Pounds will be given to the Bangla Desh victims as a result.
The choice of the Who and the Faces to finish off the night was a stroke of genius, not only because both rely on visual excitement to build up their act, but because there was undoubtedly a certain amount of rivalry between the two cramps.
The Who have long claimed the crown for the most exciting live act on the road - both in this country and across the Atlantic - while the Faces have challenged them for the crown for the greater part of this year. Few, I feel, will disagree with me when I say that the Who retained their title.
Not that the Faces played badly - they warmed up into one of their spontaneous chunks of excitement comfortably - but the Who played and sounded better. Comparisons with groups like the Who are unfair, but the sight of the audience cheering and waving their arms when the Who's gigantic arc lights were switched on is a sight I shall remember for many a year.
While the Faces establish their friendly rapport with the audience, the Who are surrounded by a charisma which elevates them much higher than the 20 foot high stage. The violence and sheer guts of Pete Townshend's performance on Saturday made him the most commanding figure of the day.
The Who brought a new stage act to the Oval and a new sound system which was clearer than any other band on the bill. They played most of the numbers from their new album, so for most of the fans it was a first live hearing.
They opened with "Summertime Blues," a good choice which hits the audience full in the face at the very start. Entwistle's "My Wife" and "Love Ain't For Keeping" from "Who's Next" follow and then straight into a medley of "Can't Explain" and "Substitute," oldies which never lose their appeal. Three more new songs, including a lengthy "Won't Get Fooled Again" accompanied by taped organ, before the "Tommy" medley. First It's "Pinball" then the lights darken for the opening chords of "See Me Feel Me."
This song was the act's highlight. A single spot on Daltrey's head brought out the dramatic opening lines. Slowly the tempo built up with the lights simultaneously, until both group and audience were singing.
Seconds after the climax, the group went into "Generation," with Townshend leaping around the stage like a madman. He ran around in small circles whilst playing, smashed his head against his guitar and spun his arm in the propeller fashion he's made his trademark. Daltrey, with hair like some Grecian goddess, grabbed the mike stand for support while Moon attacked his drums with a ferocity no other drummer can. Sticks flew everywhere. And Entwistle, calm as ever, stood and watched.
"Naked Eye," Townshend's anti-drug song which hasn't, as yet, been recorded followed, and they closed on "Magic Bus." Inevitably Townshend's guitar - a brand new Gibson bought for the day - was sacrificed to the crowd. He hammered it to pieces with the mike stand and took a flying leap into his stack. The wreckage was thrown to the crowd as Moon stood up and literally walked through his drum kit.
Perhaps with a better start, the Faces would have matched the Who. Unfortunately, their sound balance during the opening numbers was shaky and Rod Stewart - in a leopard skin suit - could do little about it. It wasn't until "It's All Over Now" that things started moving.
Ronnie Wood gave his usual superb display of slide guitar work during "Plynth," and "Maggie May" brought the crowd to their feet while Stewart camped around the stage swinging the mike stand like a drum-major. They finished with "Losing You," but came back for an encore (they were the only group to play an encore throughout the day) to play "Feel So Good."
Once off the ground the Faces put every ounce of effort into their set. Few groups, apart from the Who, could have followed them. With so much excitement in the closing hours of Saturday, other acts were probably quickly forgotten. Cochise opened the proceedings at 11a.m., followed by some chunky rock from the Grease Band.
"Lindisfarne" - who received an outstanding ovation when they walked on stage - suffered from a faulty PA system, and Alan Hull's vocals were barely audible at times.
"Quintessence chanted merrily for three-quarters of an hour but generated little effect. Mott The Hoople succeeded in waking people. Although their Stones' impersonations were lost, their stomping attack on "Keep A Knocking" was the liveliest session of the afternoon. America, a three-piece acoustic group, took a long time tuning up and played a short set which sounded strangely like Neil Young with his fellow Laurel Canyon men in the background. Pretty music for a sunny afternoon. Irishman Eugine Wallace, who apparently had never appeared before an audience greater than a few dozen before, took us on to Atomic Rooster.
Rooster had broken an American tour specially to appear. It was the debut of the "new" Rooster and, unfortunately, they were another band to suffer from poor sound balance.
So it was left to the Faces and the Who to bring the evening to a climax.
Sorry, I don't know the date and the name of the magazines. Any help is recommended! Mail to: ConcertGuide@thewho.de; date unkown!