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The Who – Frank Ward

The Who – by Frank Ward

My greatest concert memory is actually a combination of 4 shows by The Who.

The first Who show for me was 1976 in Miami (baseball stadium I think) and at age 20. I was seeing every big show that came through town, and I expected this one to be at least on par with some of the other shows that I have seen such as The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Jethro Tull, Chicago, Steely Dan etc. I was treated to a concert at a level I had not imagined to even exist. The sound, musicianship, songwriting and energy, was inspiring enough for me to take up guitar and learn how to sing. The downside was that I knew I was unlikely to see a show that great ever again. I was right for 3 years.

My sister Val (R I P) who was 5 years younger than I, was a total Who freak and was truly heartbroken upon learning of the death of Keith Moon in 1978. I expected the band would never tour again without Moon, so I was happy to hear that they had booked 5 dates at Madison Square Garden in September of 1979 with Kenny Jones on drums. My sister who was 18 years old at the time, called and demanded that I take her to those shows. It was obvious that she was not likely to accept no for an answer, so we drove from Pompano Beach to NY and went to 3 of the 5 shows, which was all we could afford (#’s 1,2 &5). I remember being slightly embarrassed about the tears running down my face multiple times during the shows ( Bell Boy, Behind Blue Eyes and Love Reign O’er Me come to mind) until I realized there was truly not a dry eye in the house. In retrospect, I would have been ashamed if tears were NOT pouring down both of our faces. Only a person born without a soul would have been exempt. To this day I have never experienced the emotion, raw power and pure love for their former bandmate, than I did that week. It will change the way I play and listen to music forever.

“Famous” Frank Ward is a South Florida singer/guitarist/songwriter known mostly for his work as the bandleader of The Nucklebusters Blues Band, and host/producer of The Red White & Blues Festival and Blue Tuesday at Boston’s on the Beach/Funky Biscuit.

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