I had an entire moribund and depressing post ready to go until our tech guru Scotty Don't wrote to me, "i'd like a day less of forced depression." Good point. So, quickly, here's your list of names of the deceased in the attacks eleven years ago, the requisite link to Sage Francis' prescient "Makeshift Patriot" and the one-two punch of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band "My City of Ruins" and "The Rising." Remember when Ryan Adams suddenly had a topical hit? Or how U2 was our most patriotic band? Or that we were so shocked as a nation that we turned to P.O.D. and their alt-Christianity for guidance? Truly dark times.
Instead, let's enjoy something, yeah? Among many of those "you remember where you were" moments that I'd like to forget rests one that I go back to every now and then regardless of the date. During the Concert for New York City, a star-studded line-up of your favorite Album-Oriented Rock groups played in front of a packed Madison Square Garden. The floor was packed with members from the transit authority, medical workers, FDNY, and NYPD (presumably the other half were on security duty) doing their best to unwind after a hellish number of weeks by simply rocking the fuck out. There was Bowie poignantly playing "Heroes" to a crowd amassed with them, Billy Joel put us even further into a "New York State of Mind," and Paul McCartney led a concert-closing sing-a-long to "Let It Be." And that was great.
Then The Who came along and just kicked everyone's dicks in.
The quintet's four-song set isn't a reverie for those lost. It's a searing indictment of any mother fuckers who DARE mess with New York City. After a fairly heart-wrenching evening, capping over a horrific number of weeks, The Who set about for something far more bold. They tapped into the anxiety, the anger, the terror and turned it into true catharsis, playing with that emotion instead of placating to it. And they nailed it. The band, with Keith Moon-trained, Ringo Starr-birthed Zak Starkey on drums powered through the oddly appropriate "Who Are You," the soaring heights of "Baba O'Riley," pausing if briefly, for the combination of "Behind Blue Eyes" and the soaring, climactic "Won't Get Fooled Again." If the night was meant to be a somber remembrance of what we lost, The Who reminded us to keep our chins held high and to never, ever forget our swagger. Suck on that, P.O.D.