The Way It Was – The Who, 1967

The Who, 1967
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1967The night of Nov. 22, 1967, is indelibly etched in the memories of local music fans lucky enough to nab a ticket to The Who’s performance at Southfield High School’s gym. “It was packed to the gills, and I was in the front row,” recalls Don Henderson, who shot this photo. The British group was preceded by warm-up bands The Unrelated Segments and The Amboy Dukes (with Ted Nugent). Singer Roger Daltrey’s back is to the crowd in front of drummer Keith Moon while guitarist Pete Townshend puts the finishing touches on his signature windmill move, in which he wound up his arm in anticipation of striking a furious power chord. Not pictured is bassist John Entwistle. Henderson, who was just 17 at the time, was himself then in an established local group, The Gang, which was one of the house bands at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom. Lead guitarist Henderson also saw The Who in June of ’67 at Ann Arbor’s The Fifth Dimension club, now long gone. He and his bandmates were smitten by the English group. “Our band looked up to The Who,” Henderson says. “They were what we wanted to be like and sound like and we did their songs.” By the time they appeared at Southfield High, The Who already had a string of hits, including “I Can’t Explain,” “My Generation,” and “Happy Jack.” Their signature concert finale was smashing their instruments. Henderson says they did so at Southfield High — after a fashion. “They didn’t go too crazy,” he remembers. “Pete Townshend knocked his guitar to the floor a couple of times and Keith Moon tipped his drums over.” Incidentally, the fellow peeking out of the curtains is Tom Weschler, a respected music photographer in his own right who also became Bob Seger’s road manager. Henderson continues to keep in touch with Weschler and Nugent. Although The Gang broke up in 1968, Henderson still performs occasional dates with another original member and a few new guys. But The Who keeps soldiering on. Moon and Entwistle are dead, but the song isn’t over for the group. Daltrey, Townshend, and their fellow musicians drop into Detroit at Joe Louis Arena on Oct. 17 as part of “The Who Hits 50!” tour.

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