The fourth LP by the Who was released by Track Records in the UK today (it had come out six days earlier in the U.S.). An ambitious double album billed as a “rock opera,” Tommy must have been inspired at least in part by Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band — but it takes the idea a lot further, with an actual narrative throughline that runs from beginning to end.

The plot of Tommy is not 100% coherent, but a three-paragraph synopsis can be found here. Reading it I realize that I don’t really know the album all that well; I mean I know it but I don’t know it, you dig? I was never really a Who guy, a situation which I’ve only begun to rectify relatively recently.

So I can’t claim to be any kind of expert on Tommy. You probably know what you think, anyway; I’d love to hear from you, as always.

In the meantime, against all odds, the Who are on tour here in 2019 — they’re down to just Daltrey and Townshend now, but still, you have to award some points for sheer endurance. They are playing in St. Louis this very night. On this tour they’ve been playing parts of Tommy (and also Quadrophenia) with an orchestra, which must be Quite a Thing. One might be tempted to shell out the shekels it would take to see them when they come west in October, if long experience had not trained one to be skeptical of such things.

So swimmingly is the current version of the Who going, they are even talking about making a new album, their first in many a year. One would be well behooved to be skeptical of this also, but why be a poor sport about it?

And that’s probably enough of that. But I would be remiss if I did not point out that the drummer on the tour is Zak Starkey, son of Richard, who has been playing with the Who on and off since 1996. Which brings us back to…

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