Tricks or Treats: “Boris the Spider”

The Who is one of those classic bands that everyone has to love on mere principal alone. That being said, this live performance from 1982 of “Boris the Spider” at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, seemed like something we all needed to re-watch in hopes of bringing in some of that Halloween spirit.

Mixing comedy and horror, The Who brought us a song in 1966 inspired by John Entwistle’s fear of spiders as a kid. “Boris the Spider” was originally written as a joke, since during a long night of drinking with Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman, the character “Boris” was thought up in a conversation about funny names for animals.

“Boris the Spider” eerily captures Entwistle’s deep, chilling voice as it bellows somberly about a spider crawling on the ceiling. Meanwhile, he’s accompanied by a dreary, slow paced rhythm and a Black Sabbath-esqe guitar riff from Pete Townsend. During this particular performance, the band encounters “Boris” on stage which sends Townsend flying off as he repeatedly stomps on it, curiously enough on cue with the guitar.

The song became a huge concert favorite because it was so fun and offset many of their more serious songs. Also, the popularity of the song eventually wore off on Entwistle himself, and he began ritualistically wearing a spider medallion on stage.

If you haven’t caught this splendid performance before, you are in for one hell of a surprise. So sit down, turn the lights down real low and get ready to rock out!


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