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Was the Who’s Glastonbury Set Sabotaged?

Ian Gavan, Getty Images

Even the world’s biggest bands have off nights every now and then — especially when someone’s been monkeying with their equipment.

Brian Kehew, keyboard technician for the Who and author of the “Backstage Blog” at the band’s official site, suggests that’s what may have happened when they arrived for their headlining set at this year’s Glastonbury Festival on June 28. “As we began to prepare our coming changeover, we found someone had sabotaged the carefully tested audio connections for much of our gear,” reads the entry. “We’ve never seen that before, but we’re good at plugging things in, so all damage was repaired in time. Was it Mr. Weller or Lionel, no way. Dalai Lama – hmmm … he did steal the show already.”

While the band may have fixed those errant connections, they still felt something was off onstage that night, and after the gig, Kehew writes that Pete Townshend “felt it was one of the very worst the band had ever played” — although various members of the crew, including Kehew, disagree.

“Our sound and light experts felt it really worked, with one of the most fervent audiences we’ve ever had, and ZILLIONS of them going nuts, living the music as they sang and jumped and waved arms,” he counters. “Incredible response, so something had to be very right about all this.”

One possible explanation may have been a relative lack of preparation time: In another part of his post, Kehew reveals that the Who weren’t even on the bill until fairly close to the show. “Not many know that we were a last-months addition to the show,” he notes, saying the band were on hand “replacing Prince, who decided not to come this year.”

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