The Who

Tue, 12 August 1969:

Tanglewood, MA, Music Shed


No known setlist


Pierre Toureille

I saw The Who in 69 (Tanglewood), 70 (Tanglewood again), and 71 (Saratoga), and each of the shows was a monster in its own right. The first time I saw them was a gig that deserves to be legendary - their August 12, 1969 show at Tanglewood in Lenox, in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. The show was a Bill Graham production, with The Jefferson Airplane at the top of the bill, B.B. King at the bottom, and The Who sandwiched in the middle. I went as a callow youth interested in seeing the Airplane and with only a passing but favorable awareness of the Who's singles and their new deaf, dumb, and blind boy double LP set. From my seat in 5th row center, I and 21,000 other folks basked in the blues of BB King, who seemed an ancient icon to me (he was 43), while we contentedly awaited the Airplane. All that contentment was shattered when a very pissed-off looking Who strode on the stage and commenced to tear the place down musically and physically. I later learned that they had wanted to cancel this whole two-show U.S. tour (Tanglewood and some little pissant festival four days later somewhere in upstate New York that someone thankfully filmed) but had refrained from doing so for fear of offending Bill Graham. So there they were, not happy and taking it out on all those hapless notes. What with the singer's microphone twirling and buckskin fringes, the guitarist's windmilling and frenzied pogoing, and the drummer's ranting, nonstop mugging, and maniacal pounding, they seemed almost too close to me. I had never felt so physically intimidated by a band's sheer presence before - and I had seen Jimi only the year before. At least the Ox was a calming, bemused fixture. In any event, they raged through Heaven and Hell, all of Tommy, Summertime Blues, and My Generation. The experience seems to have obliterated any but a fleeting memory of the Airplane.


I attended YMCA Camp Becket for many years. I was 13 years old at the time I and my camp mates attended the concert. We were awarded a "prize" for coming in first place in inter-cabin camp games. This was my first rock concert. Having just moved to LA from Wellesley, MA, I was fascinated with It's A Beautiful Day and their song White Bird, and the SF sound that was evolving.

I beg to differ on the line up. I recall The Who, Jethro Tull, and It's A Beautiful Day. Not The Airplane. I no longer have my ticket stub, just my pre-drug days memory of the bands and Hare Krishnas wandering around selling incense. I can't find supporting evidence of my claim, but am pretty sure I am right about my first rock concert lineup.

Woodstock was about five days later, which we also went to for one day, but only our counselor saw the acts. He made us stay behind and watch the bus and possessions. It was horrible, wet, and no fun. I don't know what happened to the counselor who hailed from Denver, but he was not there the following summer.

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The Who in Tanglewood, MA