Review by Jocelyn Healey
Posted on 2013-06-15 11:08:22
Quadrophenia is the second rock opera by Pete Townshend and tells the tale of young mod Jimmy, as he battles with a personality disorder and rebels against the mundane society that surrounds him. Said to be inspired by an autobiography about The Who, Jimmy’s four personalities represent each member of the band. Although it was first performed in 1973, the 2013 revival still sits well with fans of generations old and new.
Directing and producing this new production, front man Roger Daltrey as reinvented Townshend’s dream. With the use of multimedia imagery, significant periods in history and old footage of the band were displayed all the way through the show. Throughout the “Quadrophenia” track, a timeline of images were projected onto the large circular screens showing moments from the First World War through to the Brighton Beach fights during the 60s which put the rock opera into context.
As Daltrey swung his microphone around like nun-chucks and Townshend effortlessly wind-milled his guitar, it seemed as though the two were transported back to their youth. This was encouraged by the audience as they screamed the famous line "We are the mods". During a duet of “Cut My Hair” Daltrey’s voice seemed ageless, however it would appear that the wild times have caught up with Townshend as his once gentle voice is now a bit rough around the edges. He was later given a run for his money by brother Simon as he sang “Dirty Jobs”, declaring that we wishes to be known as the fifth Jimmy.
It was a spectacular moment when former bassist John Entwistle appeared on the big screen at the end of “5:15” performing a solo that very few could replicate. Another touching moment was during audience favourite “Bell Boy” when live footage of drummer, the late Keith Moon, was projected onto the stage. Daltrey looked on in wonder as the comedic Moon donned the character of Ace Face turned bell boy. Entwistle and Moon have been immortalised through this production and, for a moment, the band were together again.
Throughout the penultimate song, “The Rock” another timeline of footage was shown, this time starting from the Brighton beach fights, leading to the present day, showing that Jimmy and the issues that surrounded him are still relevant today. “Love Rain O’er Me” brought the rock opera to its dramatic climax with Daltrey belting out its emotive lines with his gravelly tones.
Townshend causing a stir among the audience as he urged them to vote yes for independence, creating a mixture of cheers and boos. However this was quickly rectified with the opening synthetic riff of “Who Are You”. This was the start of a half hour set which included classics such as “Pinball Wizard”, “Baba O’Riley” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. The night ended on a solemn note when Townshend and Daltrey were left alone on stage to perform an emotional rendition of “Tea & Theatre”. Although reflecting on a band that used to be, Daltrey and Townshend have carried on and moved forward with their generation, with a few new ones joining them along the way.
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