The Who towards the end
by Regis Boff
Keith Moon’s last tour was more about adhesive tape than music.
His headset, sticks, and shoes were held hard fast with gaffer tape.
He resembled more a sarcophagus than a drummer. The roadies were nailing his stool into the stage. Two guys spotted him like a gymnast in case he fell off his seat during the set.
There are sounds in showbusiness that connect to failure. The preeminent is quiet during a performance. That’s the worst.
Towards his end, every show was dodgy. We could never be sure he would make it.
During much of the evening, I would be on the other side of the area, settling the contracts. In case we forfeited, I would demand so much in cash that police with shotguns stood around inside the box office while I counted it. If the sound stopped, I would bag as much as I could carry and race across the stadium or venue with my cops so I wouldn’t miss the plane. Missing a flight would turn my life to shit.
Often the band after an encore would be in the limos before the house lights went on. Motorcycle police would shut down intersections to get them out and to the tarmac. If this went unsmoothly, the band would be stuck until the entire audience drove home.
On my first tour, I got backstage, and the band had gone without me. They left a car. When I finally arrived at their jet, it was snowing and windy, and I was sick with dread. I learned later that Bill Curbishley, ( their manager) and Townshend had fought because Pete wanted to leave me.
Standing in front of the stairs to the plane were the motorcycle cops waiting for their tip, which of course, they were not allowed to accept. I would always palm a couple thousand and sneak it to them.
Well, on this particular night, I had the money in my hand but didn’t factor in that the head cop was wearing bulky gloves, so he didn’t “feel ” the cash. The wind did not help. When our hands separated, the money took off everywhere. The police fired up their motorcycles and chased it.
I began up the steps without even bothering to watch the pursuit. I did look into the plane’s windows to see everyone in the traveling party peering out, laughing, and laughing.