Friday, July 10, 2015
Pete Townshend 14: Classic Quadrophenia and Truancy
Still, there’s plenty of gold in those hills, and as the band learned once they started performing it again in the ‘90s, technology has enabled them to recreate the album live on stage. Now that he lives with a classical arranger, it was easy for Pete to spearhead an orchestral version of the album.
Pete Townshend’s Classic Quadrophenia (the composer having fallen to Paul McCartney’s tendency to put his own name within the title of a piece) is faithful to the original recording, except that there are no electric guitars, bass or drums. The elaborate synthesizer parts have been replicated and expanded by the orchestra and choir, and Jimmy’s lead vocal is tackled by one Alfie Boe, an operatic tenor (born the year the album first came out) who’s obviously studied Roger Daltrey’s parts closely. Pete himself sings the part of The Godfather, careful not to try the high note on “stutter”, while Phil Daniels, who played Jimmy in the film, appears twice in lines attributed to the dad. And Billy Idol, who was in the all-star performances in 1996, shows up four times as the Ace Face slash Bell Boy.
As the album was deemed “ineligible” for the classical charts, it will remain to be seen if this new incarnation will be anyone introduction to the music, and where that may lead. If you like the original, you won’t hate this, but you’ll likely play the original several times before even thinking about throwing this on.