We're Not Gonna Take It
Music/Lyrics: Pete Townshend
Vocals: Tom(my) Marshall (lead), Page, Trey (backing)
Original Artist: The Who
Original Album: Tommy (1968)
Historian: Craig DeLucia
No, Phish has not (to date) played any Twisted Sister. This “We’re Not Gonna Take It” is from The Who’s classic rock opera Tommy. Tommy details the life of a child pinball prodigy who, upon breaking free from his deaf, dumb, and blind affliction, opens up a camp to instruct his followers. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” is from the end of the epic and is a song of revolt that occurs when his followers can’t handle the truths they thought they sought. Therefore, some consider it ironic that Phish performed this number for the first and only time while Internet fans were actively bashing the band for selecting the 1998 Hampton shows for official live release in lieu of either other shows from that fall 1998 tour, or the 1997 Hampton run.
In his lone fall 1999 appearance, Tom Marshall provided vocals on “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” Given Trey and Tom’s long-standing collaborative experiences, it was no surprise that Tom addressed Trey directly and put his arm around him as he sang the ending refrain: “Listening to you / I get the music / Gazing at you / I get the heat / Following you / I climb the mountains / I get excitement at your feet.”
Unfortunately, fans were deprived of seeing Tom in full Tommy regalia; he had been told the song would be played during the encore and was in the middle of practicing, sans costume, when he was called upon to sing before the second set had ended. Tom did, however, whip the microphone on its chord, a la The Who’s Roger Daltrey.