Zak Starkey live with The Who for:
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"A typically out of control rock and roll experiment, which may work or may fail"
-- P.Townshend '96
On April 23, 1996 organizers of the MasterCard Masters of Music Concert announced that Eric Clapton, The Who, Bob Dylan and Alanis Morissette were to headline "the biggest rock concert in London's Hyde Park for 20 years". Held to benefit The Prince's Trust Fund, a crowd of up to 150,000 people was expected to attend the June 29th event. It was to be the main event of the year's National Music Festival and was timed to coincide with the eve of the final in Britain of the Euro '96 football championships.
Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle, plus special guests, would be performing Quadrophenia, live - in it's entirety, for the very first time. Their drummer for the event - Zak Starkey. They sold 150,000 tickets in 48 hours.
however, was quick to point out that this was not a "Who Concert" but "a Who Thing".
He apparently had been casually kicking around various ideas for staging Quad
in some form, for some time. One idea that surfaced a year or so earlier was an
elaborate staging, with two bands, but because Pete did not want to perform in
it, the possibility of serious funding seemed unlikely, so it wasn't pursued.
He kind of started to seriously think about it in Feb or March of '96, when Des
McAnuff (dir. Broadway "Tommy") brought him a proposal to do a celebration for
the upcoming (August) 50th Anniversary of the Vespa motorscooter, from
the Piaggio company in Rome. Backing by a company like Piaggio could allow a "fairly
simple but elegant staging." Then enter the Prince's Trust opportunity.
"We're getting 'Quadrophenia' done because we went straight to Mastercard -- cut out all the people in-between -- got $400,000 and put the thing up. It's a strange place to be to realize that...all I have to do is stroll into a room with a few old guys and say 'I fancy doing 'Quadrophenia' as a dramatic work' and they say 'Hey, we'll give you money.' That may sound cynical, but the fact is I can do it, and I trust myself to do it well." - PT, Reuters/Variety
he still needed to enlist the help of the very people that he's avoided working
with collectively for quite a few years:
"I've never got on me knees to anyone, ever . . . but I actually said to Roger, 'I really want to do Quadrophenia in Hyde Park and I really don't think I can do it without you.' He said, 'I don't really want to do it.' And I said, 'Well, please will you consider it and help me put it together?' And he said, 'Well, what's gonna be different? You're just a [expletive] dictator.' And I said, 'Well, listen, you know, I'm not, I am different, I have grown up and I've learned a lot from working in music theater, give it a crack.' And he was willing to give it a crack. . . . He found it very confusing at first dealing with a Pete Townshend that listened." - PT to R Cromelin, LA Times, Oct 19, 1996
"I asked Roger to help me stage the thing. I couldn't do in on my own. And no one could sing the stuff like he can. When he agreed, it became natural to bring John in, partly to capitalize on the feeling that this is a Who project and to make sure that we sold tickets, but partly to get the karma in." Roger didn't simply show up to be the vox. "Roger and I creatively collaborating on the script. It's the first thing we've ever creatively collaborated on in our lives." - PT to Ira Robbins, SF Chronicle 10/13/96.
Filling out the core band along with Simon Townshend, would be Zak Starkey. "With Zak Starkey on drums and my brother on guitar we've managed to spin some karma into the piece, which makes it feel very comfortable for me."
"But what Zak has is a lot of karmic Keith Moon about him, which is wonderful. It's easy to make too much of that - - he really is his own drummer. He has his own style. But he's very intelligent. What he did was adapt his own style as an imitator of Keith Moon - - he does a garage band imitation of Keith Moon which is probably unbeatable - - but he's modified that, moderated it, in a very intelligent and musical way so that he won't be directly compared. He won't evoke uncomfortable memories for the audience" - PT to Ira Robbins
Townshend told a news conference in London: "It is a very exciting moment. I don't feel I could have done it on my own, without the founding members of the Who." Daltrey admitted that he was nervous: "It's a bit like looking forward to going to the dentist - it's good once you've done it."
The concert event began, on an unseasonably cold June 29th, with an unsigned band made up of beneficiaries of the Trust, followed by Jools Holland, Alanis, Dylan, then "Quadrophenia", and finally Clapton.
The official program labeled the event: "The Live Premiere of QUADROPHENIA Featuring Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, Pete Townshend and All-Star Cast." The cast included narration by Phil Daniels, Gary Glitter as The GodFather, Adrian Edmondson as Ace Face/Bellboy, Trevor McDonald as the news reader, Stephen Fry as the hotel guest. The band was Pete, Roger, John, Zak Starkey, Simon Townshend, Geoff Whitehorn on lead guitar, Rabbit and Jon Carin on keyboards, Jody Linscott, a brass section, backup singers led by Billy Nichols, and a guest appearance by David Gilmour.
Daltrey came close to missing the show all together, after being accidentally hit in the eye by a mike stand swung by fellow performer Gary Glitter during rehearsals that Friday. However, he emerged on stage sporting an eye patch decorated with the mod's red-white-blue target logo. The show had it's share of first night glitches, mainly the sound mix and from most fan reviews, Pete's voice. But overall was received favorably, and the entire day raised over £500,000 for The Prince's Trust.
T.E.D then took their workshop across the pond to NYC.
A month or so prior to the Prince's Trust performance, T.E.D. revealed their plans to bring Quad to the states. Billed as "Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle present the only North American performances of The Who's Quadrophenia", they were initially scheduled for 3 nights (July 16, 17, 18) at New York City's Madison Square Garden. Tickets first went on sale to American Express card holders by phone starting June 17th. Tickets remaining after two days of Amex exclusivity, would be made available to the general public on June 19th via Ticket Master. Three more nights were eventually added (July 20, 21, 22).
The presentation and the special guest list changed only slightly. Phil Daniels was once again Jimmy - the Narrator, Gary Glitter as the Godfather and now Billy Idol was Ace Face/Bellboy. The band lineup remained the same, minus Gilmour.
The execution seemed tighter, especially as the nights went on, but no Who fan was truly satisfied with the mix. Besides being just a wee bit too quiet for most tastes, something always seemed a little out of balance with the mix each night - the biggest complaint being Entwistle's lack of presence in it. For the most part, the narration worked - (after all, this was a theatrical "Who thing", not a Who concert). It was well scripted and well done by Daniels (once he calmed down), and added a lot to the story's continuity. Some of the waiting on the video portions seemed to drag it at times, but overall it was a terrific presentation.
Unlike Hyde Park (where
a second helping of "5:15" was offered up), these NYC performances included a
"greatest hits" encore each night.
The July 18th show was broadcast live on West Wood One. Again, the mix did not do the show justice - muddy and lacking most of both John and Zak's presence. They do get points for letting the show go start to finish without a break (though some locals broke in with their ID's).
Pete seemed to really be enjoying himself. The group hug and thank you at the end of the final night appeared to be the most genuine and heartfelt of any group bow taken previously. Says Pete, "I absolutely loved the New York show[s]."
Things were progressing smoothly. Smoothly? This is the band formerly known as The Who! Harmony? Cooperation, collaboration. Wow, how times can change. The reports kept coming in on how well they were all getting along, and how nicely they were all working together. This was soon followed by the announcement that Quadrophenia was hitting the road. It would again be altered from the previous incarnation at MSG, thus not making the original claim of "only North American Presentation" completely false.
See Also:| 1996
1997 Euro Dates | 1997
US Tour Dates |
Nov 8 2005 - "Tommy and Quadrophenia Live" 3 DVD set released features an entire Quad performance (from 96 footage)
There were no official releases from either of these incarnations. The Hyde Park performance was shown (in part) on HBO in the US. The July 18th MSG performance was broadcast live by Westwood One. Though the original simulcast was a muddy mix (most likely on purpose), the actual program CD's from the rebroadcasts are said to have much better sound quality.
and family backstage at Hyde Park, June 29 1996.
[Lee Starkey, Barbara Bach, Zak, Ringo, Augusta Tigrett and Tatia Jayne Starkey]
are at the 1996 Hyde Park and MSG Quad details |
|See also the 1996 Quad Tour details |
|See also the 1997 Euro Quad Tour details |
|See also the 1997 US Quad Tour details |
|back to Zak's work with The Who |
|back to Zak's Bands,Gigs,Sessions |
Who related sections on Kathy's Zak Starkey Site:
Quad Hyde Park and MSG * Quad USA '96 * Quad Europe '97 * Quad USA '97
Who's Serious? * Daltrey Sings Townshend * Who convention '95
Pete's Olivier Award Party * John Entwistle's The Rock * Pete's 98 solo gigs
* Who 1999 shows * The Who 2000 * Tony Ashton Testimonial Show
* The Who 2001 * The Who 2002 * The Who 2003 * The Who 2004 *
* The Who 2005 * The Who 2006 *The Who 2007 *
* The Who 2008 *The Who 2009 *The Who 2010 *The Who 2011*
* Kathy's Simon Townshend Pages *
Last Updated: Saturday, February 4, 2006
Created: March 1997
Copyright © 1997 - Kathy VanTassell