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Old 20th May 2019, 08:20 AM
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Susan Foreman Susan Foreman is online now
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Although the 'Quadrophenia' movie is good, the LP it is based on is much better. It has become my favourite one of their records, and on first hearing, I was really surprised at how 'heavy metal' is it

Unlike the film version of 'Tommy', the music is very much in the background, either being hear on the radio or as the soundtrack to individual scenes - the band don't appear in person at all

The film also changes the ambiguous ending to the record. In the movie, Jimmy, disillusioned by his life, and feeling let down by everything and everyone around him, steals a scooter belonging to the Ace Face, takes it out to Beachy Head, and drives it off the cliff-top. On record, however, he steals a boat and sails out to a rock in the middle of the sea. It starts to rain, the boat drifts away, and JImmy is left stranded, contemplating his life

As Townshend has stated, it was the last truly great Who album. The two releases from the original band the followed ('The Who By Numbers' and 'Who Are You') have some good songs, but are missing that certain je ne sais quoi. 'Quadrophenia', however, showcases a band that were at the top of their game

Because of the extensive backing tapes and sound effects, the tour to promote the album in 1973 was very problematic. Everything was mechanical in its timing. There was no room for improvisation and Keith had to be on his best behaviour. Disaster struck during an infamous show at the Newcastle Odeon on November 5th when the tapes got hideously out of sync during the song '5:15'. Townshend went into meltdown...

Sound engineer Bob Pridden was dragged on stage from the wings and he was physically beaten by Townshend. A guitar was smashed and wires were ripped out of the equipment. Amplifiers went flying. Roger, Keith and John, along with the audience, stared at him, wondering what on earth he was doing. By then, the theatre management had realised that something was going seriously wrong, and they dropped the fire curtains. The audience sat in darkness for about 20 minutes until the band reappeared with Townshend still in an awful mood. He was swearing at the crowd, and they replied in kind! The show restarted, but instead of continuing with the remainder of 'Quadrophenia', they instead played a 'greatest hits' set, ending with the usual destruction of guitars, amps and drums. They left the stage to thunderous applause! The rest of the tour continued without incident

Although the album was still represented on tour, usually as a short medley, it wasn't played again in full until June 1996 when it was performed in Hyde Park as part of the Prince's Trust 'Masters of Music' benefit concerts. The band were billed as TED [Townshend, Entwistle, Daltrey] instead of The Who, and they were joined by some special guest stars Gary Glitter as the Godfather, Phil Daniels as both the Narrator and Jimmy, Trevor McDonald as the newsreader, Ade Edmindson as the Ace Face / Bell Boy and Stephen Fry as the hotel manager. A subsequent tour of the US and UK followed, using many of the same guests, although Billy Idol replaced Ade and P.J Proby took the role of The Godfather. A DVD of the concert from Dayton, Ohio was released as 'Quadrophenia And Tommy Live' although this is not considered to be a good show

A further tour entitled 'Quadrophenia And More' started in November 2012 with a stripped back band, without any guest singers or announcements, playing the album in its entirety. These shows included additional video projections, including Keith singing his parts from 'Bell Boy from a concert in 1974 and a bass solo from John during '5:15' from a concert in 2000. A DVD from this tour was released to great acclaim
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