Thursday, February 25, 2010

Inside The Squared Circle: Undertaker Burned, Sad Flair News, NXT, Bret Hart, 'Mania

A very scary incident took place this past Sunday night at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. The Undertaker got burned during his very elaborate ring entrance. ‘Taker suffered first-degree burns on his chest and legs but still wrestled. This video which was shot by a fan shows what happened.

Also, Sunday night Ric Flair was assaulted by his wife of several months. Reportedly, the two were at a bar watching the U.S. versus Canada hockey game. Flair’s wife got jealous when a female bar employee offered to drive Flair home. The woman began assaulting Flair at their home when one of her kids decided to call the cops. His wife was arrested and spent the night in jail. The Ric Flair story is just very, very sad. By the way, he turns 61 today and will be making his return to the ring on March 8 when TNA begins its head to head battle with Monday Night Raw on a regular basis.

WWE NXT made its debut on Tuesday night. While the show has some things to work out – like what exactly is the purpose – I thought it was good. I was especially glad to see Daniel Bryan (formerly Bryan Danielson). Announcer Michael Cole constantly ragged on Bryan and the so-called Internet Wrestling Community. OK I got your point that Bryan hasn’t wrestled in front of 80,000 people but that does not mean he isn’t one of the best in the world. I’ve probably written this before but in my opinion the three best technical wrestlers are Kurt Angle, Desmond Wolfe and Daniel Bryan.

Speaking of Cole, I know that much of what he says is fed to him through the headset by Vince McMahon so I don’t want to get on him too much. But when a car backed into Bret Hart on Monday Night Raw last week I hated the stunned and somber silence in which the “accident” was being reported by Cole and Jerry Lawler. I especially cringed when Cole said that it was the worst day of Bret’s life. Hmmm, Michael was it worse than when Bret had a stroke or when his brother Owen died in a real accident on pay-per-view? Shame on McMahon and the W.W.E.

An ambulance was used on Raw to take Bret to the hospital and incredibly some people called the number on the ambulance to find out how Hart was doing.

On a more positive note, Wrestlemania is shaping up to be a very good card:
-World Champ Chris Jericho vs. Edge
-Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker in a “career vs. the streak match”
-WWE Champ Batista vs. John Cena
-Money in the Bank

The Who Live In Boston DVD

I recently used a gift card that I got for Christmas to pick up The Who Live in Boston DVD. This was the final show of their 2002 summer tour in which the band played about 20 or so concerts. On the eve of the tour, bassist John Entwistle died at the age of 57. Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey made the difficult decision to go on with the tour. The DVD includes interviews with both Pete and Roger.

Daltrey explains that one of the main reasons they decided to go on with the tour was because it was completely sold out and when they began thinking about all of the people that were working on the tour, it numbered in the hundreds.

Townshend talked about his relationship with Entwistle which dated back to when they were 11 years old. He also compared and contrasted Keith Moon and Zak Starkey.

The DVD also includes some of Entwistle’s drawings of Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger, Elton John and others. Now onto the concert...

Pino Palladino (picture far left) was tapped to play bass. Pino had played with Townshend on many of his solo shows and also is part of the John Mayer Trio. His bass playing is good, but very different from the great Entwistle. Zak Starkey manned the drums; Pete's kid brother Simon (pictured next to Pino) played extra guitar and sung backing vocals; while John "Rabbit" Bundrick (pictured to the left of Pete) was on keyboard.

Interesting, when Keith Moon died, The Who brought in a new drummer and added a keyboardist. When "The Ox" passed, the band had to not only bring in a bass player but an extra guitar. No doubt a testament to the greatness of Moon and 'Wistle.

The band played a setlist that touched all of their albums and put on a blistering performance of "Amazing Journey/Sparks" which has to rival anything they did during their halcyon years. Daltrey also delivered an incredibly potent and emotional rendition of "Love Reign O’er Me."

This DVD reminded me of when I saw the band on that tour in August 2002 at Madison Square Garden, where incidentally I ran into Lenny Kravitz in the audience (I never realized how tall he was). I still have the t-shirt from that tour.

Anyway, I heard about this DVD on The Who’s message board and I’m glad I did. Definitely two thumbs up.

Here is the setlist:
•I Can't Explain
•Anyway Anyhow Anywhere
•Who Are You
•Another Tricky Day
•Baba O'Riley
•Sea and Sand
•Love Reign O'er Me
•Eminence Front
•Behind Blue Eyes
•You Better You Bet
•The Kids Are Alright
•My Generation
•Won't Get Fooled Again
•Pinball Wizard
•Amazing Journey/Sparks
•See Me Feel Me
•Listening to You

Daltrey Touring With Clapton

A few other Who items....

Roger Daltrey and Eric Clapton hit the road starting tonight in Pittsburgh for a bunch of shows. From what I gather it will be a similar format to the one used by Clapton and Jeff Beck at their recent shows. A solo set by each performer and then the two team up to close out the concert.

Daltrey told a radio station that he was interested in getting Liam Gallagher for this year's set of Teenage Cancer Trust concerts at the Royal Albert Hall but that Liam had another engagement that night. This led to a couple of media outlets to report that Gallagher snubbed The Who. So much for responsible reporting.

The annual benefit celebrates it's 10th anniversary this year and Daltrey has lined up some pretty good performers. Depeche Mode, Them Crooked Vultures, Noel Gallagher and others are slated to perform at the series of concerts which take place next month.

The Who News

Plenty going on in the world of The Who lately. First, Pete Townshend told Rolling Stone that his tinnitus has been bother him quite a bit lately and that if it keeps up they are done with touring. At the same time Roger Daltrey was asked by an interviewer what is left for him to do and Roger said he would like to revisit his blues roots and make an album with Jimmy Page. So take the two stories and the press has gone wild with speculation. Whatever. Pete Townshend clarified what the status is with his hearing on his blog:

“I am writing some more songs, testing out some studio and stage in-ear monitor systems, and wearing a Phonak hearing aid almost all the rest of the time. I feel as though I've been reborn in some ways. Not everything I hear is worth hearing, but at least I don't have to turn the TV down in order to tell everyone in the room that what they are watching is rubbish.”

Apparently Neil Young’s guitarist recommended a hearing device that Pete will test out at The Who’s Teenage Cancer Trust show on March 30. On that occasion the band will be performing Quadrophenia at the Royal Albert Hall.

Pete had more to say:

“Thanks everyone who stood by me during the Super Bowl (especially Roger as always), and to everyone who has emailed to say how much they enjoyed the half-time stint. The hat I wore, that was popular with some-but not all-of our fans, contains some ancient technology that helps me hear myself better on stage. It's called, the BRIM.”

As far as a Daltrey-Page CD, I took it as Roger just thinking out loud. But we'll see. By the way, Daltrey and Page both share the same management.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Two For The W.W.E. Hall

Ted Dibiase is the first announced entry into this year’s W.W.E. Hall of Fame. As a wrestler he was known as the “million dollar man” and even had his own championship made with diamonds, etc. that he referred to as the “million dollar” belt. I’m not sure of the exact cost but it definitely was not worth a million shekels, nor was it something that you could pick up at the local five and dime. Regardless, DiBiase was one of the best technical wrestlers of the last 25 years. The fact that he made it in the W.W.E. showed how great he was. Back then the W.W.E. resembled a bodybuilding federation. DiBiase was all about wrestling ability and could talk better than most. I'm sure they will do some kind of "my hall of fame dad is better than yours" involving Ted's son Ted and Cody Rhodes.

Also, Antonio Inoki, who once took on Muhammad Ali in 1976, is headed for the W.W.E. Hall of Fame. Inoki was another great technical wrestler, however, I have seen very little of him as he mostly wrestled in Japan. So I can’t comment further about what Inoki could do inside the squared circle, but his accomplishments are well-documented.

The Who Rock The Super Bowl

The Who delivered a very enjoyable performance at this past Sunday's Super Bowl. I've looked at several reviews such as Rolling Stone and which were favorable. But the reviews that matter the most are those of the fans.'s message board was favorable and the folks over at the Pete Townshend message board, The Shout, liked it as well. Who fans are the harshest critics of the band, but the majority of comments that I have read found the show enjoyable.

What’s different about this year is that The Who aren’t promoting anything. Past Super Bowl performers have had a new album or tour. The Who may have a tour later in the year and Pete Townshend is writing music which may or may not end up as a Who album, but that also will not be until later in the year or 2011.

I was glad to see drummer Zak Starkey get quite a bit of recognition. Incidentally, his father Ringo Starr got his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame yesterday.

Roger Daltrey was not in love with doing the Super Bowl and said it was weird to play a quick 12 minute set. Pete Townshend on the other hand said he liked it and got an appreciation for how big the Super Bowl is.

So far sales have spiked for The Who on iTunes and the like, which has been the case for past Super Bowl performers, who don't get paid to play at the event.

Super Bowl Thoughts

Every year I read about a large chunk of people that like the halftime show and a large chunk that dislike it. Whatever. You can’t please everyone, especially when it comes to music. But one thing that is indisputable is that it is a major reason as to why some people watch the Super Bowl. In order I would say first the game; second the commercials and third is the halftime show as to reasons why people tune in.

So now people are wondering who will perform at next year's show. Does the NFL go the classic rock route again? Billy Joel perhaps. Maybe Bon Jovi, Pearl Jam or the Foo Fighters? Or will they go with Beyonce and Jay Z? Maybe they will go in an entirely different direction and choose a country music star. By the way, voters on a Rolling Stone poll last year correctly chose The Who.

Regardless, many people love to rip NFL commissioner Roger Goodell - some legit, some nitpick. But the fact is that the Pro Bowl drew 12.3 million viewers and the Super Bowl drew in 106 million people, which makes it the most-watched telecast ever in U.S. history; dethroning M*A*S*H from the top spot which it held for 27 years!

Why was this year's so widely watched? Was it the star power of Peyton Manning? Some have theorized that the bad weather has driven people inside. I’m not sure about that or the reasons as to why this particular game was so popular. But I also find it funny that there were a number of people on my Facebook page that said they had no interest in the “big game.” So what did they do exactly?

In regards to Goodell, did he get people to tune in? No, but the NFL is a "cash cow" and his job is to not destroy it, so far the numbers bear out that the league is in good hands. Right now, the NFL is the model for all other sports leagues and there is no denying that. Will that continue with a potential lockout looming?

Time will tell....

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Super Bowl Pick

I really have no idea about today's game. You could make a case that the Colts will blow out the Saints. But then for me it seems as though whenever everyone believes something - that this will be a high-scoring game - it usually is the opposite.

What the heck...

Saints 20
Colts 17
(in overtime.)

Regardless of what the outcome is, I'm just hoping for a good game.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Who Interviwed by Rich Eisen

After the Super Bowl press conference, The Who's Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey talked with the NFL Network's Rich Eisen. Although both admitted to not being fans of American football, Roger took the Saints, so Pete naturally took the Colts.

"Won't Get Fooled Again" Super Bowl Press Conference

Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey concluded the Super Bowl press conference with an acoustic version of "Won't Get Fooled Again."

The Who Super Bowl Press Conference "Behind Blue Eyes" and "Pinball Wizard"

Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey took some questions this past Thursday at a Super Bowl press conference and then played three songs. The above YouTube video is of Pete and Roger playing acoustic versions of "Behind Blue Eyes" and "Pinball Wizard."

Sons of Beatles

I heard this a while back but a couple of Beatle blogs are reporting that Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr's son) is busy on a new album with the Lennon half-brothers (Julian and Sean); Paul McCartney's son James and George Harrison's son Dhani.

Not a rumor is that Starkey is busy working on an album with Liam Gallagher and the other former members of Oasis, sans Noel.

Oh and Zak will most definitely be on the drums with The Who during tomorrow's halftime show.