The Who have played “My Generation” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” numerous times, but never with The Boss onstage.
According to NJ, Bruce Springsteen came on stage at 9:22 p.m. at the Best Buy Theatre in New York City during the MusiCares special benefit concert. Springsteen was there to present The Who guitarist Pete Townsend with the Stevie Ray Vaughn Award for Townsend’s work with the MusiCares MAP Fund, assisting musicians recovering from addiction.
Sporting reading glasses publicly for the first time, Springsteen delivered a heartfelt speech about the first time he saw The Who at Asbury Park as a youngster in 1967. Springsteen talked about the disparate paring of Herman’s Hermits and The Who opening for them. He also talked about the set of songs The Who played, “My Generation” included.
“The first American tour that the Who were on, and I was in a long line staking out Convention Hall down the boardwalk. The billboard read in big type ‘Herman’s Hermits and The Who,'” Springsteen said.
The audience was filled with a significant amount of teeny-boppers who were waiting for “Mrs.Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter.” So they sat there with their mouths agape wondering: “Who are you? Who are these guys? What are you doing? Why are they doing it?,” Springsteen continued.
“All I knew, for some reason, this music and the demolishing of all these perfectly fine instruments filled me with incredible joy and I never looked back.”
The Consequence of Sound added that Springsteen thanked Townsend for his contributions before the group played My Generation.
“Pete managed to take the dirty business of rock and roll and somehow make it spiritual and turn it into a quest. He may hate this, but he identified the place where it was noble, and he wasn’t afraid to go there.
“I took a lot of that with me as the years passed by. So Pete, I’m here to say, congratulations, well deserved, and thanks for not just Who’s Next and ‘Who Are You,’ but for who I am.”
After Townsend thanked Springsteen for the honor, it was time to rock. Springsteen joined Townsend, singer Roger Daltrey, and the band and played “My Generation” for the audience. Then, the group broke out and performed “Won’t Get Fooled Again” to the delight of the crowd.
It can only be assumed, as this collaboration played My Generation, the line “Hope I die before I get old” takes on a whole new meaning.
[Image courtesy of Consequence of Sound]