What do you say when you’re standing with Pete Townshend and wife Rachel, Eddie Vedder, Billy Idol, and the singing star of the show Alfie Boe? As little as possible since we were first in a line of about 100 people to pose with the formidable cast.
93XRT contest winner Scott Schultze came down to The Rosemont Theater from Crystal Lake with his friend Mailman Jack. A couple of great guys and dedicated listeners. You can tell. We met at the V.I.P. pre-show party just after 5pm. They had some cocktails. Knowing I had to make stage announcements, I nervously sipped cranberry juice on the rocks. Around 6:30 we made our way to a staging area where they were taking the photos. I introduced myself to Pete as the guy who interviewed him on the radio about this show. Mr. Townshend seemed at ease and in fine spirits. I asked Eddie if he would be spending some time at Wrigley this weekend. He assured me he would be. Scott and Jack spent some more time at the party as I was ushered to the side of the stage to receive my instructions.
Some of the members of the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra, a collection of musicians from some of the best known classical ensembles in Chicago, were tuning instruments and milling about. I was able to share the history of The Who’s original recording and subsequent movie with some of the string section in the shadows of the theater. By now Pete had come on the side of the stage and it was cool to see some of these classical musicians shyly approach Pete Townshend for a quick photo.
At 8pm the Chicago Children’s Choir filled the back of the stage and the symphony orchestra took their places. I walked out and introduced a short video hosted by Roger Daltrey about Teen Cancer America.
After the video, I was joined on stage by my young assistants Hannah and Jack, who held a painting. Artist Elliott From painted this version of the concert poster in the lobby as people arrived. It was signed by the stars of the show and I told the audience it would be a raffle prize for a 10 dollar ticket at crowdrise.com/pete. That raffle is still going on.
Then it was time for me to get out of the way.
Quadrophenia was performed in its entirety with famed stage singer Alfie Boe playing the role of Jimmy with appearances from Eddie Vedder and Billy Idol, who did such an amazing job with the song “Bell Boy” when The Who toured Chicago with Quadrophenia in 96. Pete Townshend played acoustic guitar and sang on several songs, but he seemed to be relishing his role as composer. And when the piano intro to “Reign O’er Me” filled the theater, someone unseen presence tickled the backs of our necks.
Everyone came back out for an encore version of “The Real Me.”
They raised a lot of money and my source after the show reported that Pete Townshend could not have been happier with the fans who showed up and the good work Teen Cancer America is doing.
As for me, it was a star-crossed night filled with fans of The Who and I was home in bed by midnight.