The Who performed for a TV audience of millions at Live 8. In contrast, last night Pete Townshend played in front of several dozen fans at a pub in Balham.
Tickets would have fetched a fortune on eBay. But entry was actually free and only to those who queued on the night.
Townshend remarked that it was the first time (charity concerts excepted) that he had not been paid to perform. "My father once told me that marks the end of your career," he said.
However, it was Townshend's girlfriend, Rachel Fuller, who persuaded him to appear at her free gig.
So after she sang from her pleasant if unspectacular album, Cigarettes and Housework, he shuffled onstage with an acoustic guitar, a pair of reading glasses and a ring-binder of lyrics. That did not bode well. But his mercurial guitar playing on Drowned (from rock opera Quadrophenia) was a revelation in the intimate setting.
Townshend also sang a Gram Parsons cover and dueted with Fuller on a new song. And he got all the support acts on stage for the thrilling finale of I'm One.
Special guest appearances by rock legends rarely live up to expectations. Pete Townshend's 45-minute performance, however, was something spectacular.