After crushing the dreams of a seven-year-old girl last week at a gig at Hamilton, Ontario's Copps Coliseum, The Who's Pete Townshend has made a point of apologizing to her and her father for an incident during the concert.
On Feb. 19, Eric Costello and his daughter Jenny — a huge fan of the British rock band — traveled from Cleveland to see the group perform its 1973 album "Quadrophenia" in its entirety along with other hits. According to the Toronto Sun, Janey brought a homemade sign with her that read "Smash Your Guitar, Pete!" and displayed the sign near the front of the stage while with her father.
"Go away with that sign please, just go away with it, just go away with it," Townshend said when he spotted the sign as shown by the Toronto Sun on a video clip. "Don't bring your children, use them. I want to tell you two words but I can't because you've got a child there." Townshend then mouthed the words "F--k off!" before moving on. Costello and his daughter left before the concert ended as she was extremely upset by what happened and wondering what she may have done to anger the musician.
After news of the incident spread last week, Townshend atoned yesterday for the incident by writing a personal letter to Costello according to the Sun News Network. "Apologies and condolences from my side, and very best wishes to you and your family," Townshend wrote, adding he would like to "meet and be friends and put this behind us."
According to music historian and journalist Alan Cross, Townshend reached out to Mike Tyler, a radio personality with Giant FM in Hamilton, who earlier this year ran into Townshend in Antigua while Tyler was on a honeymoon cruise. After a chat, Townshend invited Tyler and his wife to have special access to the Hamilton show. But when Townshend heard about what happened following the Hamilton show, he contacted Tyler.
"I asked my friend Mike Tyler to find you so I could tell you that I am so sorry the story about us blew up the way it did, but also to tell you that I sympathize with you both, and your daughter's mother, and that I am most certainly not angry," Townshend wrote. "I was not angry on stage either. I was in rock star mode, the big mouth. I could have handled it differently. I thought of sending someone to find you both and telling you I was not upset, but we were flying to New York straight after the show, and had no time to spare. I wish things had been different. It would have saved you from all this furor."
The guitarist, 67, also made a point of telling Janey he liked her sign but tried to explain why he wasn't about to destroy the guitar. "I thought your placard was fun," he wrote. "I had a job to do (to announce our musicians) and I didn't want to lengthen the show by trying to deal with you directly and in detail. I was also worried that your daughter looked a little frightened as the crowd started to follow you down the aisle. The ushers should not have let you leave your seats and walk forward. All that said, you did nothing wrong."
Townshend also planned to personally meet the daughter and father sometime in April privately to have a talk about it, with Townshend promising there's one thing he will not do: "I will not swear."
Meanwhile, singer Roger Daltrey did a nice thing for a different girl earlier this week before a show in New Hampshire. According to the band's site and the Concord Monitor, Daltrey spotted 12-year-old Josey Murayda-Pelillo from his limo. The blind girl had her walking cane as she and her parents struggled through a snowstorm to get to the concert venue. Daltrey made arrangements for the daughter and parents to meet him backstage and took photos, chatted with the family, gave Josey a tambourine and said he'd dedicate the show to her.
The Who recently wrapped up their North American tour but has a European that kicks off June 8 in Dublin.
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