Sorry Pete, I didn't realise...

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The Independent Online
I FEAR I was one of those who failed to give the necessary inspiration to Pete Townshend when he embarked on his 28-year quest to compose Lifehouse.

I was present at the Young Vic theatre in London when The Who staged their first and only performance of a drama that could have revolutionised rock music and foretold the Internet - not a bad double whammy to get in a small studio theatre.

It was a strange occasion. The audience was a curious mix, teenage fans like myself whose parents had been able to get them tickets because they were on the Young Vic mailing list, and diehard Who addicts, who must have swelled that list in a hurry when they heard what was happening. We had all come for a concert.

It was impossible to understand what giving "creative feedback" consisted of. But that was what Townshend asked for. This was not a concert, he insisted. We exchanged bewildered looks.

But Townshend kept on talking. He may well have talked of "the grid." I can't remember. The late Keith Moon broke through the jargon. "You are merely padding," he yelled at us. Roger Daltrey said: "Don't worry, we'll send you home happy."

So we waited for the promised greatest hits that would follow the grid- talk and film show. And happy, if puzzled, was how we departed. We could have had 15 minutes of fame. Instead, we deflected an artist from one of his life's great works for 28 years. Sorry, Pete.