A month or so ago, my brother-in-law, Buddy, who lives in New Mexico (which, contrary to popular belief, is in the USA), sent me an email and asked if I could get tickets to see The Who in Oakland, California. After some research, I figured out we had two options: pay a lot of money for nosebleed seats, buy some binoculars, and make the best of it; or pay an exorbitant amount of money, get reasonably close to the stage, and really live it up. The financial commitment to see a band whose time may have already passed seemed a bit much to both of us, and we regretfully let the matter drop.
Until this week.
That’s when I found today’s remarkable listing, a chance to Be a Roadie for a Day with THE WHO, Ultimate Fan Experience:
A “roadie” is defined as a person employed by a touring band of musicians to set up and maintain equipment. To be fair, the whole “be a roadie” thing does seem a little Tom Sawyer-esque to me. In the book Tom Sawyer, Tom (as punishment) is sent to whitewash a fence. He cleverly finds a way around this, by getting his friends to do his work. Here is the relevant edited excerpt from the book:
Tom, as he is whitewashing the fence: “What do you call work?”
Friend: “Why, ain’t that work?”
Tom resumed his whitewashing, and answered carelessly:
“Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain’t. All I know, is, it suits Tom Sawyer.”
“Oh come, now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?”
The brush continued to move.
“Like it? Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”
Certainly Tom was on to something. He ended up with all his whitewashing work done for him, and also became a bit richer, because many of his friends wanted to join in the “fun” of whitewashing, going so far as to pay for the privilege. In this day and age, he could have an auction on eBay to “Be a whitewasher for a day!”
Be that as it may, for true fans of The Who (and who isn’t?), the roadie “work” sounds delightful. Listen:
“This is a one of a kind, once in a lifetime experience. Get up in the morning and join the road crew as they assemble and prepare the stage and the venue for the day’s performance. The winner will spend the day working with the crew as a “roadie”, helping assemble the stage, organizing and preparing for The Who Quadrophenia show. (Any show in the forthcoming tour itinerary listed below)
The winner will have a bird’s-eye view of how a huge rock show is assembled from that unique vantage point: not just behind the stage, but actually right there in the middle of it.”
The listing goes on to say that the winner gets a picture with either Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, or, if they are both around, a photo of all three of you together. In addition, and this is good news for my brother-in-law should he decide to bid and win, there is no singing required of the auction winner (just kidding…).
The album Quadrophenia, released in 1973, was the second rock opera created by The Who (the first being Tommy). Pete Townshend, in a recent interview with the BBC, calls it “the last great album The Who ever made.” Early attempts to play the album live were met with mixed success, but this tour promises that the musicians have worked out all the kinks. In addition to playing the entire Quadrophenia album, the last part of the concert includes a best of The Who compilation of greatest hits.
It certainly promises to be an incredible experience for the lucky winner. Did I mention the auction ends on my birthday? Talk about a great birthday gift…just sayin’, Buddy, just sayin’!