Editorial: Who dat? Old rock group played pinball

Published 3:59 pm Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010

Somewhere Abbott and Costello must be smiling.
Who provided the halftime show for the Super Bowl?
Maybe next year Super Bowl can feature Guess Who.
No, they performed last year.
Guess Who.
Burton Cummings.
Who Dat? Why, half of a British group that belongs on Mount Rockmore with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, even though they formed in 1964 during Vietnam and the Johnson administration.
They played Woodstock and made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame their first year of eligibility, 1990.
We would remind those grousing about baby boomers’ pet graybeard rockers – except for that kid (the kids are alright!), Prince, 48, 2007 – how we got to this point of featured performers five of the past six years old enough to belong to AARP.
Other legendary rockers who have taken advantage of playing a live mini-concert before an audience of 72,000 in Florida’s Sun Life Stadium and 100 million viewers, including the XLIV president and perhaps Jay Leno, Oprah and Dave Letterman, now that they’re appearing in commercials together, include The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, and the E Street Band, that Heartbreaker Tom Petty, the Stones and McCartney.
The Who definitely did not favor us with “My Generation,” further drawing attention to the age issue with lyrics about wanting to die before you get old, plus, though will.i.am has retooled it with a Slash guitar solo as a Haitian fundraiser.
No, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, strumming his guitar like the windmill of old, but not destroying it, opened with a snatch of “Pinball Wizard.”
Pinball? What Dat?
The Who segued into “Baba O’Riley,” which you probably thought was called “Teenage Wasteland”; “Who Are You?”; “See Me Feel Me” from the 1969 rock opera “Tommy”; and the timeless anthem “We Won’t Be Fooled Again.”
Old boss, new boss, when they pick up their guitars to play, it’s just like yesterday, even if they’re on a circular stage with a wrap-around video screen and fireworks go off during the finale.
It didn’t hurt that some of these songs are “CSI” theme songs for CBS shows.
The Who, who lost drummer Keith Moon at 32 in 1978 and bassist John Entwistle at 57 in 2002, to their credit never took the bait of filling their vacancies with a Wings bassist named McCartney and an all-Starr drummer named Ringo and cashing in with an arena tour as The Whotles.
Although drummer Zak Starkey is Ringo’s son. He divided his time between The Who and Oasis until they split.
“We prefer acts that are not overexposed,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said, perhaps tongue in cheek, since the last edgy halftime show was in 2004.
Boy bander Justin Timberlake, 23, in a memorable wardrobe malfunction, overexposed Janet Jackson, 37.
Before the big game won 31-17 by the underdog New Orleans Saints over the heavily favored Indianapolis Colts, Queen Latifah sang “America the Beautiful” and country queen Carrie Underwood, discovered by “American Idol,” belted out the national anthem.
McCartney and the Stones with ageless Glimmer Twins Mick Jagger and Keith Richards – “Paint it Black” – used to scare parents, not be the safe the adults brought in to soothe a boob tube brouhaha.
Eventually, edgier shows are likely to return, but we probably won’t be seeing Lady Gaga next Feb. 6 at Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium, even if Elton John chaperones like at the Grammys.
We liked 12 minutes of The Who just fine.
We’re Happy, Jack, down here in Who-ville.
Beyonce, Taylor Swift and the Black-Eyed Peas can wait.