Woodstock: Who’s right? Daltrey +Townshend bickering


The Who have long expressed disdain for their Woodstock performance: now Roger says “it was the Who’s worst gig ever”, Pete says “we were brilliant” Who’s right?

In a new interview, singer Roger Daltrey noted that a series of delays and equipment problems prevented them from playing until 5AM.

Pete Townshend, instead,  can’t help but gush at how well The Who’s 1969 Woodstock performance went down. During a chat with Rock Cellar, he spoke about the band’s watershed performance that helped catapult them into super-stardom, admitting, “The footage is brilliant. We were brilliant. It was all those drugged-up hippies that ended up looking like t**** in The Simpsons.”

Townshend went on to say, “Listen, Woodstock should have delivered what it promised. We did. The movie delivered too, I think. The sad part is that all I remember about Woodstock is meeting Richie Havens again and thinking, ‘This is a truly spiritual man.’ Everyone else seemed like rabbits in the headlights. I don’t f***with spirituality. I do it like it’s a personal war.”

Roger Daltrey: “You’ve got to remember, by the time we went onstage, we’d been standing in the mud for hours,” he told The New York Times. “Or laying in it, or doing whatever in it. It wasn’t actually that muddy backstage, but it wasn’t comfort, let’s put it that way. … That’s all you could do. Waiting, waiting, waiting. We were young, and life is a lot easier when you’re young. I wouldn’t do that show now. Sod that. I’d walk away from it. I’m joking. No, I’d walk away and come back 10 hours later.”

Ultimately, Townshend believes the “Woodstock Nation” petered out on itself: “Woodstock could have been a beginning, not an end. There were nearly a million very good souls there, with the best intentions. What went wrong? I don’t know. Maybe nothing. I didn’t have a good time. It was just another gig to me.”

Roger Daltrey remembers the endless waiting and how “the worst sides of our nature had come out.” (But also how great Creedence Clearwater Revival was.)

By Rob Tannenbaum – The New York Times – to read the full article click here


The lone highway that led to Woodstock was jammed with traffic, so the Who left the hotel early to play its Saturday night show. When the group arrived, word was out that bands weren’t getting paid; the promoters had decreed it a free show and stopped trying to collect tickets because so many people had turned up. The Who refused to go on until it received a cashier’s check, but all the banks were closed.

“I mean, you can’t re-do Woodstock, because the star of Woodstock was the audience. Well, most of them are probably dead by now, I don’t know (laughs). Law of averages, probably 50 percent of them are dead, anyway. You can’t re-do it — you can celebrate the dates.”

What kind of mood were you in when you went on at 5 a.m.?roger

Tired! You build yourself up for a fight. We were determined to make our music count. “We’re going to beat this one, we’re not going to let it beat us.”

What kind of mood were you in when you went on at 5 a.m.?

Tired! You build yourself up for a fight. We were determined to make our music count. “We’re going to beat this one, we’re not going to let it beat us.”


And the Who was the wrong band to keep waiting, right?

That’s exactly right. Our music was a kind of energized anarchy. We were breaking “Tommy,” the first kind of rock opera album, so we had a specific goal we wanted to achieve. Against all the odds, it all kind of worked.

But I don’t think the bands were the stars of Woodstock. In my mind, it’s the audience. They were the stars, that half a million people that put up with that crap [laughs]for three days. That coming together of that community was, I think, the key to getting America out of Vietnam. That’s when politicians actually started to take notice.

Your set ended a little after sunrise. What did you do after that?

Went back to the motel — Camp Tranquillity, laughingly called. The roadies were sleeping in the corridors and it was chaos.

Have you ever listened to the set you played?

No! And I don’t want to. I’ve never enjoyed listening to what we do, to be honest. I do it and then that’s it.

“We are a rock band, we are not a good-time rock ’n’ roll band like Rod Stewart, The Faces, Rolling Stones.





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