One of my long-unfulfilled rock performance dreams is to have a gig in which my band sets up and “performs” in rehearsal mode: that is, facing each other, playing for each other, having the right to stop songs in midstream, adjust part of an arrangement, and criticize each other. We would completely block out the crowd and just do our thing, the way our thing is meant to be done.
Every once in a while I stumble across a video of an artist rehearsing for a gig or studio recording. I LOVE THIS STUFF! As a music lover, I’m as interested in experiencing what goes on behind closed doors as I am listening to or making music myself, also behind closed doors. Don’t get me wrong, the thrill of playing out or seeing a band out in the wild can be tremendous, but there are less opportunities for catching knowing glances, intimate gestures, and tossed-off asides and fills.
If this video is labeled accurately, it’s The Who rehearsing for the first time with former Small Faces/Faces drummer Kenney Jones, who replaced the deceased Keith Moon. Talk about big shoes to fill! There’s much to examine as the band works through this new dynamic on a Classic ’70s Who–style rocker. For me, the big test is how Kenney handles the extended drum fill, beginning at the 3:15 mark, into Townshend’s noodling, which brings the song to a close. It’s not just what Kenney plays. It’s not just what Kenney doesn’t play. In replacing Moonie it’s also how Kenney doesn’t play while Pete does his thing.
What does Kenney’s performance and his new bandmates’ reaction to it foreshadow? There’s a lot more more going on here than learning the chord changes and honing dynamics!
We’re not talking about a game…The Who continue to practice…after the jump!