Posts Tagged ‘Pete Townshend’

The Who - Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and Keith MoonThe Who 'Live at Leeds' Concert, Leeds, Britain - Feb 1970

On the 50th anniversary of a legendary gig by The Who, people who were there have been recalling how the band “threw everything into it.” The rock group played at the packed University of Leeds refectory on 14th February 1970 and recorded the gig. The record it spawned, Live at Leeds.

It was 50 years ago today that the Who walked into the University of Leeds Refectory in Leeds, and played what many rock fans consider to be the greatest concert of all time. At the very least, the album they recorded that night “Live at Leeds” is one of the most celebrated live albums in the genre’s history, up there with the Allman Brothers’ At Fillmore East, Nirvana’s Unplugged in New York, the Band’s The Last Waltz, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band’s Live Bullet, and Cheap Trick’s Live at Budokan.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Live at Leeds, the Who’s longtime sound engineer Bob Pridden to chat about the momentous gig. He joined their ranks in 1966 and, amazingly, stayed on the road with the Who until 2016 when he decided that half a century traveling around with a rock band was enough. “It was getting hard,” says the 74-year-old. “I wasn’t getting any younger. The pressure each night was getting hard for me.”

Pridden witnessed well over 1,000 gigs during his life with the Who, but he says they reached their peak in the late Sixties and early Seventies. “That’s when they were on fire,” he says. “The were working all the time and just on top of their game. As a unit of just four people, a band couldn’t be any better.”

It was his job to mix the sound every night for the room, but actually recording the shows for posterity wasn’t even a thought for the band in their earliest years. Tragically, that means that the hundreds of gigs they did between 1963 and 1968 have been completely lost to history beyond little bits here and there.

“About two years before Live at Leeds, I thought I’d try recording them with a couple of microphones plugged into a tape recorder,” Pridden says. “I brought an Akai seven-and-a-half–inch reel-to-reel and started taping shows on it. We went from that to a Vortexion where you can take a D.I. [direct input] into it and then put two mics into it and mix them in together.”

The enormous success of 1969’s Tommy forced the band to think more seriously about recording their shows. The rock opera gave them a huge new audience, but it was largely a studio creation that didn’t capture their explosive onstage sound. When they headed to America in the fall, Pridden was instructed to tape 30 shows for a live album that was envisioned as the perfect follow-up to Tommy. (Bootlegs were also becoming big business at this point, and the band wanted to beat the pirates at their own game.)

In Pete Townshend’s memoir “Who I Am”, he recalls speaking to Pridden after the tour and realizing he hadn’t taken any notes about the relative quality of each show. “There wasn’t enough time for us to wade through 30 shows again,” he wrote. “Plus we now had an additional eight that Bob had recorded in England — including the most recent show at the London Coliseum. For me to listen to 38 shows would take five days in a studio. Even with notes I would lose track. The live album was never going to happen if we didn’t do something, and fast.”

This was early in February 1970, and the band had only two gigs coming up before a long break, at Leeds University on February 14th and Hull’s City Hall the following day. “‘Hire an eight-track rig, record the shows, I’ll mix them both at home on my new eight-track machine, and the best of the two nights will have to do,’” Townshend instructed Pridden. “Bob was looking anxious again. ‘What do I do with the live tapes from the tour?’”

In a move he’d later label “one of the stupidest decisions of my life,” Townshend told Pridden to burn the tapes so that they’d never wind up in the hands of bootleggers. Pridden remembers the moment well all these years later. “I burned them in a dustbin in the back of a cottage I had,” he says. “I put them in the bin, dropped a match and that was it. I felt weird, but we were already planning on playing another show. I didn’t think that 20 years on people would be crying out for these things. But it couldn’t have been everything because some of them did eventually surface and they got used.”

Pridden’s bonfire put immense pressure on the Who as they headed to Leeds and Hull. They had just two nights to capture a perfect concert after thinking they could simply pick the best out of 30 in America. Making matters worse, the mobile recording kit that Townshend envisioned the label sending over wound up being “a bunch of bits and pieces in military-grade boxes” that arrived in a van. This equipment was set up in the cafeteria one floor below the general assembly hall where the Who were performing.

“They played in the room where students would get together and the headmaster or the teachers would talk from the stage,” says Pridden. “There were no seats at all and it was really packed. People were hanging off the side of the wall and onto things. It was packed to the gills. I don’t think these days that amount of people would even be let in.”

The set featured the vast majority of Tommy along with earlier hits like “I Can’t Explain,” “Happy Jack,” and “Substitute,” along with covers like “Fortune Teller” and “Summertime Blues,” and a nearly 16-minute version of “My Generation.”

“I played more carefully than usual and tried to avoid the careless bum notes that often occurred because I was trying to play and jump around at the same time,” Townshend wrote. “The next day we played a similar set in City Hall in Hull. This was another venue with good acoustics for loud rock, but it felt less intense than the previous night.”

When Pridden listened to the tapes, he was horrified to discover that John Entwistle’s bass parts somehow weren’t recorded at Hull. “Forget about Hull then,” Pridden recalls Townshend telling him. “Concentrate on Leeds.”

That show had its own problems though. In addition to intermittent clicks, the backing vocals weren’t recorded properly. “I arranged a session at Pye studios,” Townshend wrote, “played the show back, and John and I simply sang along. We covered the backing vocals in one take, preserving the immediacy of the live concert.”

Townshend tried slicing out the clicks with a razor blade and quickly realized it would be impossible to get all of them. But subpar-sounding bootlegs were flooding the market at this time, so the band just added a note to the label saying the clicks were intentional. The cover was a faded stamp reading “The Who: Live at Leeds” on brown paper, mirroring the look of illegal vinyl bootlegs of the era.

The original Live at Leeds, released May 23rd, 1970, featured just six of the 33 songs played at the show, and not a single one of them was from Tommy. It wasn’t until 1995 when a CD version arrived containing 14 of the songs, and the complete gig wouldn’t see the light of day until the release of a deluxe edition in 2001.

All this time, the master tapes for Hull sat in storage. They were presumed to be worthless because of the issues with Entwistle’s bass parts, but when prepping a 40th anniversary of Live at Leeds a decade ago, Pridden listened to the full Hull show for the first time. “That bass wasn’t there for the first five or six numbers,” he says. “Then all of a sudden it kicked in and stayed.”

He went to Townshend with his discovery. “Let’s get someone to overdub a bass on it,” Townshend said. “We can use it.” Horrified at the idea of someone else attempting to replicate John’s bass parts, Pridden came up with a better solution. “I thought to myself, ‘They did exactly the same set both nights,’” says Pridden. “‘Maybe we can lift the bass from the first few numbers on Leeds and drop it in.’ This is when Pro Tools was on the go.”

He tasked an audio engineer, Matt Hay, with the delicate task of lining up the Leeds bass parts to the Hull recordings. “We went in and set up an eight-track machine, which Hull was recorded on, and lifted the bass from Leeds and dropped it onto the track with Pro Tools,” says Pridden. “Poor Matt was running for two days and nights marrying the bass from Live at Leeds. But when we did, it was fantastic.” (Live at Hull was released on the 40th-anniversary edition of Live at Leeds in 2010 and as a standalone disc two years later.)

After the Leeds and Hull shows, the Who slowed down the pace of their touring considerably so they could focus on the creation of complex studio releases like Who’s Next and Quadrophenia. Their tours after 1971 were shorter affairs marked by private planes, drug binges, and sloppier sets, especially when it came to the work of Keith Moon. These were still incredible gigs by the standard of most any other band, but the magic of Live at Leeds — the culmination of seven years of relentless road work was never quite achieved again.

After Moon died in 1978, the group never again played as a four-piece band, despite coming close in 1999 and 2000 when Daltrey, Townshend, and Entwistle were joined only by drummer Zak Starkey and keyboardist John “Rabbit” Bundrick

“They are still fantastic, though,” says Pridden. “I went to the concert at Wembley last year. It was certainly different with the orchestra, but it was magical. Maybe the next thing they’ll do is go back to a four-piece, but I don’t think there’s a chance in hell it’ll happen. It would be amazing, though.”

And looking back at Live at Leeds five decades later, Pridden says he and the band were moving so quickly they didn’t realize what an amazing legacy they were leaving for future generations to discover. It was just another show.

“We were making history,” he says. “But we weren’t history. We never thought about making history. We were just wandering minstrels out there having fun.”

The Who Roger Daltrey – lead vocals, harmonica, tambourine Pete Townshend – guitar, vocals John Entwistle – bass guitar, vocals Keith Moon – drums

The Live and Leeds album and singles

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“Live In Amsterdam 1969”. The Who’s performance at Amsterdam’s Opera House in September 1969 was remarkable in a number of ways. It was the first of a series of gigs in more formal surroundings and one of the longest live gigs the Who ever performed.

The recording was made by a Dutch radio/tv broadcast. It’s not 100% certain who did it, but it was probably done by the VPRO, who also did the Pink Floyd recording the same year at the same venue. And just like that Pink Floyd recording, this one was also bootlegged a million times from various very good to very poor sources. Alll of these sources were originated from radio broadcast/s. Back then, and today still, The Concertgebouw was not a place for rock bands but for opera’s and other classic music.

Mixed directly to 2-tracks, this may been one of the reasons why the mixing engineer had a hard time finding the right balance. The mix changes often, and sometimes the drums or the guitar just disappear or get buried for a while. It also must have been hard for the band to hear each other, because of the extremely reverbrating acoustics. Remember, this was 1969 and sound monitoring on stage was still a thing for the future.

When comparing this one to other Who shows from this period, this one probably isn’t the best. Roger Daltrey has once said that he didn’t think he sang very well this night. And playing the “Tommy” album on stage was obviously not a routine for the band yet. But, there is more than enough to enjoy here. It is the only complete soundboard recording from this year. It is also the only one with complete lineage, and it has the best sound. Beside that, all other Who ’69 board tapes are far from complete and don’t have most of Tommy.

Somewhere around 2000, a Pre-FM source of this show was unearthed. Funny enough, the same thing happended with the aforementioned Pink Floyd recording . They may have come from the same person though.

The recent boot “Amsterdam Journey” on the Hiwatt label is the one taken off his copy.

The Who – The Complete Amsterdam 1969 
Venue: Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Date: 29th September 1969

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The Who has one of the greatest rock legacies in music history, they’re one of the all-time great live bands, have sold over 100 million records world including 9 US and 10 UK top ten albums and 14 UK top ten singles in a career spanning six decades. Now Fifty-five years after they made their first recordings, The Who is back with their first new album in thirteen years simply entitled Who.

The eleven-track album was mostly recorded in London and Los Angeles during Spring and Summer 2019 and was co-produced by Pete Townshend and D. Sardy (who has worked with Noel Gallagher, Oasis, LCD Soundsystem, Gorillaz) with vocal production by Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers, Roger Daltrey, Wilko Johnson). Singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend are joined on the album by long-time Who drummer Zak Starkey, bassist Pino Palladino along with contributions from Simon Townshend, Benmont Tench, Carla Azar, Joey Waronker and Gordon Giltrap.

I’ve never bought a brand new Who album on – or near to on the day of release, which is a strange thing to consider. 2006’s Endless Wire passed me by – the hideous artwork not exactly helping – but this new record ticks every box, including the evocative Peter Blake cover. The simplicity of the title tells you everything you need to know. It’s short, direct and elemental, like the songs on the album. If this was a perfume it would be called Essence of Who. Opener ‘All This Music Must Fade’ sounds like what you’d get if you asked a computer create a new Who song based on analysis of their previous output, and I mean that in a good way. The lyrics are all thoughtful (Grenfell, #metoo, getting old, Guantanamo Bay) but never get in the way of a good tune, including ‘Detour’, ‘Street Song’ and ‘Break The News’. A massive and very pleasant surprise.

“A powerful, relevant album that does what good art should do: it expresses something about what it means to be alive” The Times, *****

The brand new album from The Who, “WHO” is out everywhere now!

Their first studio album in 13 years, and proclaimed by Roger as their best work since ‘Quadrophenia’

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The Who has one of the greatest rock legacies in music history, they’re one of the all-time great live bands, have sold over 100 million records world including 9 US and 10 UK top ten albums and 14 UK top ten singles in a career spanning six decades. Now Fifty-five years after they made their first recordings, The Who is back with their first new album in thirteen years entitled Who.

Not in a million, trillion years would I have expected to love a new Who record as much as I love “WHO.” Is it “The Who Sell Out?” Of course not. Nothing is, damnit! NOTHING IS! Is it “Who’s Next?” No, not even close. But it is truly wonderful, because of what it isn’t and that is trying too hard. This is a collection of solid Pete Townshend songs, played with mature restraint, and sung by one of the greatest voices in rock and roll, Roger Daltrey. There are just enough elements of The Who you’ve grown to love scattered throughout, and when you notice them, the record gets even better. I am both thrilled and relieved by “WHO.”

The eleven-track album was mostly recorded in London and Los Angeles during Spring and Summer 2019 and was co-produced by Pete Townshend and D. Sardy (who has worked with Noel Gallagher, Oasis, LCD Soundsystem, Gorillaz) with vocal production by Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers, Roger Daltrey, Wilko Johnson). Singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend are joined on the album by long-time Who drummer Zak Starkey, bassist Pino Palladino along with contributions from Simon Townshend, Benmont Tench, Carla Azar, Joey Waronker and Gordon Giltrap.

All This Music Must Fade‘ from The Who’s new studio album WHO, released on 6th December 2019.

The Who - WHO

The Who has shared another new original single to appear on the veteran rock band’s forthcoming studio album, simply titled Who, which is set to arrive on November 22nd via Polydor Records. Titled “All This Music Must Fade”, the new recording follows the previously-shared “Ball & Chain” as the second single which will appear on the band’s first studio effort since 2006’s Endless Wire.

The recording starts out hot with a burst of sonic energy which is followed by singer Roger Daltrey‘s cheeky and honest opening lyrics of, “I don’t care, I know you’re gonna hate this song/And that’s it, We never really got along/It’s not new, not diverse/It won’t light up your parade, It’s just simple verse.”

While many older artists of the “Classic Rock” era take pleasure in the shower of praise which critics and fans offer in regards to their hit singles of the past, The Who share more of a realistic, selfless point of view on their new music, as Daltrey is also heard belting out the repeated chorus lines of, “All this music will fade/Just like the edge of a blade.”

According to a statement shared by The Who guitarist Pete Townshend, “All This Music Must Fade” is “Dedicated to every artist who has ever been accused of ripping off someone else’s song. Seriously? Our musical palette is limited enough in the 21st century without some dork claiming to have invented a common chord scheme.”

All This Music Must Fade’ from The Who’s new studio album WHO, released on 6th December 2019.

 

Roger Daltrey did not mince words when sharing his excitement for the Who’s upcoming LP. “I think we’ve made our best album since Quadrophenia,” the legendary singer proclaimed during a recent Q&A with fans.  The Who will release ‘WHO’ their first studio album in thirteen years, this November.

Mentioning the new material in the same breath as the band’s vaunted 1973 concept album is high praise, indeed. The comment also represents an about-face for the Who frontman. The eleven-track album features the talents of long established Who musical stalwarts Zak Starkey (drums) and Pino Palladino (bass) along with Simon Townshend, Benmont Tench, Carla Azar, Joey Waronker and Gordon Giltrap. The record was co-produced by Pete Townshend & D. Sardy with ‘vocal production’ by Dave Eringa (best known perhaps for his work with Manic Street Preachers).

Earlier this year, guitarist and cofounder Pete Townshend revealed that he didn’t even get a response from Daltrey after sending the singer 15 demos. “Just silence from Roger,” Townshend said. “I had to bully him to respond, and then it wasn’t the response I wanted. He just blathered for a while and in the end I really stamped my foot and said, ‘Roger, I don’t care if you really like this stuff. You have to sing it. You’ll like it in 10 years time.'”

Even after giving the new music his attention, Daltrey only felt a connection with a handful of tracks. “When I first heard the songs I was very skeptical as I didn’t think I could do it,” the singer explained. “I thought Pete had written a really great solo album and I said to him, ‘Pete, what do you need to do this for? Release it as a solo album, it’s great.’ But he said he wanted it to be a Who album.

The artwork is of course immediately recognisable as the work of Sir Peter Blake, The Who’s relationship with Blake actually pre-dates that period; they met him in 1964 at a taping of the legendary TV show Ready Steady Go. Sir Peter also designed and contributed a painting to the sleeve of The Who’s album Face Dances in 1981.

Pete Townshend is refreshingly candid about the new work and his and Roger’s place in the world in 2019. He says:

“This album is almost all new songs written last year, with just two exceptions. There is no theme, no concept, no story, just a set of songs that I (and my brother Simon) wrote to give Roger Daltrey some inspiration, challenges and scope for his newly revived singing voice. Roger and I are both old men now, by any measure, so I’ve tried to stay away from romance, but also from nostalgia if I can. I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Memories are OK, and some of the songs refer to the explosive state of things today. I made new home studio demos of all these songs in the summer of 2018 using a wide collection of instruments old and new. We started recording as The Who in March 2019, and have finished now in late August just in time to make some vinyl………maybe even some cassettes……ready for release in November”.

“So I took the songs away and I listened to them, and listened to them some more, and I had some ideas. [Pete] let me have a bit of freedom with changing a few things, changing the tenses of songs and other little things. And he gave me complete melodic freedom. And I gotta tell you that after being very skeptical I’m now incredibly optimistic.” “I think we’ve made our best album since Quadrophenia,” he continued. “Pete hasn’t lost it, he’s still a fabulous songwriter and he’s still got that cutting edge, man.”

The band is in the midst of their orchestral ‘Moving On’ North American tour. Townshend only agreed to the trek, which keeps the group on the road through October, on the condition that the Who release a new album. The as-yet untitled LP will be the band’s first new studio material since 2006.

For over two decades, “The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus” was a lost film, unfinished and unseen, more rumor than pop culture memory. In theory, it captured a lot of what anyone might desire in a rock ‘n’ roll movie from London circa 1968: the Stones, the Who, John Lennon, Eric Clapton and more.

On a sound stage designed like the inside of a circus big top, each of the musicians performed at the height of their powers while mingling with trapeze artists, fire-eaters and other semi-dazzling acts from a traveling circus. “The clowns and the Rolling Stones got along very well,” recalls the film’s director, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, 78.

Yet the film’s planned television premiere was delayed indefinitely for one reason: The Stones thought the Who’s performance was better.

It took 28 years, but the Stones came around in time for Lindsay-Hogg to finish the legendary rock film for a 1996 premiere at the New York Film Festival and release on home video. “You had these little explosions of greatness in the room,” says Lindsay-Hogg of the two-day shoot, “and the Rolling Stones recognized that.”

Now, in time for the North American leg of the Stones’ ongoing No Filter Tour, “Circus” has been remastered for a limited U.S. theatrical run during the first week of April. Last week, Lindsay-Hogg, who now lives in Los Angeles, attended a private screening in Hollywood of the film, recast in vivid Dolby Vision color and Dolby Atmos sound.

“I was thrilled by it anew, which I hadn’t been for a long time,” says Lindsay-Hogg, whose career began in England as director on the ’60s music show “Ready Steady Go!,” where the camerawork could be as frenzied as the acts onstage.

He also directed music videos for the Stones, Beatles and the Who, and made the intimate Beatles documentary “Let It Be.” In the pipeline is a long-awaited restoration of the 1970 Beatles film, which will follow an entirely new film being assembled from the same 55 hours of footage by New Zealand director Peter Jackson. Attending the “Circus” screening was Brett Morgen, director of 2015’s acclaimed “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” and his own Stones documentary, 2012’s “Crossfire Hurricane.” In an onstage Q&A with Lindsay-Hogg following the film, Morgen celebrated the filmmaker’s essential work with these epochal musical figures.

“The man defined the image that so many of us have of the Stones and the Beatles,” Morgen said in an interview with The Times. “He created a new language. You look at the ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ video and what he did is as innovative as what Busby Berkeley did to the musical.”

In “Circus,” the Stones performed several songs from the just-completed “Beggar’s Banquet,” the first of four consecutive album milestones that defined the band’s greatest work. There was also Lennon leading a supergroup he called the Dirty Mac, with Eric Clapton on guitar, Keith Richards on bass, and drummer Mitch Mitchell from the Jimi Hendrix Experience performing a new Beatles song, “Yer Blues.” Yoko Ono then joined for an improvisational jam. Other performers included Marianne Faithfull, Taj Mahal and Jethro Tull. The Who’s playful reading of the mini-rock opera “A Quick One While He’s Away” was close to perfect. Jagger had personally invited all of them.

“In those days, rock ‘n’ roll bands would arrive late. You’d schedule something for 1 and they’d arrive at 4,” recalls Lindsay-Hogg. “But on this particular day, because they all respected each other, everybody was on time.”

A London sound stage was rented and Lindsay-Hogg hired the best camera operators from “Ready Steady Go!” The production also used experimental cameras from France, which shot both 16mm film and provided a video feed to the control room. Aside from having to change film canisters every 10 minutes, the new cameras frequently stopped working. “When one of the cameras had broken down for the 11th time that day, we had a little break,” the director recalls. The musicians would then retreat to their dressing rooms. “I went backstage to see how everybody was, and they were all sitting in a room – John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton – playing blues on guitar and harmonica. Keith Moon was playing spoons on a table.”

The Stones didn’t get onstage to perform until 2 a.m. It was the final live appearance of guitarist Brian Jones, dazed and fading from drug abuse, but still able to re-create his heartbreaking slide guitar lines on “No Expectations.”

Within months of filming, Jones left the band and drowned soon after. Jagger went to Australia to star in “Ned Kelly.” Lindsay-Hogg traveled to California to work on a film. The momentum of the era pushed its participants forward, but somehow left “Circus” behind until the footage was rediscovered in the ’90s.

Lindsay-Hogg continued working with the Stones through the early 1980s, directing several music videos, from “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)” to “Waiting on a Friend.” He turned his attention to feature films, TV specials and directing theater, though he remains friendly with the Stones. “We knew each other when we were kids,” he says now. “It wasn’t my nature to hang ’round if I didn’t have to. In a funny way, I think they respected that. I was happy to just be working with them.”

I first saw The Who perform this on The Kids Are Alright movie soundtrack. The performance was electric. I liked the studio version but the live versions they push the song a little harder. The song didn’t chart being so long. The album “A Quick One” peaked at Number 4 in the UK charts. The hit song of that album was “Happy Jack”.

The Who had 10 minutes left to fill on the album. Kit Lambert, The Who’s manager, suggested to Pete Townshend that he write “something linear… perhaps a 10-minute song.” Townshend responded by saying that rock songs are “2:50 by tradition!” Lambert then told Townshend that he should write a 10-minute story comprised of 2:50 songs.

The song was a “mini-opera,” paving the way for the other mini-opera “Rael” and eventually full-length rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia.

The plot of the story is simple. A girl is sad that her boyfriend is away. Her friends suggest that she take a substitute lover, Ivor The Engine Driver. When the boyfriend returns, she confesses her infidelity and is forgiven.

The Who performed this on the Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus, which was going to be a TV special. It never aired on television but it was released on VHS in 1996 and DVD in 2004. The Who’s performance of this was included in The Kids Are Alright, a 1979 film about The Who.

According to legend, Rock And Roll Circus didn’t air because the Rolling Stones felt that they were showed up by The Who. Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithful, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and Mitch Mitchell all appeared on Rock And Roll Circus.

A live version of this song appears on Live At Leeds and the soundtrack for The Kids Are Alright.

The Who wanted to put Cellos on the track but Kit Lambert said they couldn’t afford it. So they sang “cello, cello, cello, cello,” where the Who thought they should go. >>

It was used in the Wes Anderson film Rushmore starring Jason Shwartzman and Bill Murray

The Who have announced a symphonic show at London’s Wembley Stadium on Saturday 6th July 2019.

Part of the band’s Moving On! tour, which also includes shows in North America in the summer and autumn, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and co. will be joined by an orchestra at the special concert.

Alongside Daltrey and TownshendThe Who line-up will also feature guitarist/backup singer Simon Townshend, keyboardist Loren Gold, bassist Jon Button and drummer Zak Starkey. Together with celebrating The Who’s legendary back catalogue, the show supports their first new studio album in 13 years, which is due to land at some point in 2019.

The very special guest at the show will be Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, along with Kaiser Chiefs and more acts to be announced.

Pete Townshend says: “The Who are touring again in 2019.  Roger christened this tour Moving On! I love it. It is what both of us want to do. Move on, with new music, classic Who music, all performed in new and exciting ways. Taking risks, nothing to lose. Looking forward to seeing you all.  Are you ready?” . Roger Daltrey adds: “Be aware Who fans! Just because it’s The Who with an orchestra, in no way will it compromise the way Pete and I deliver our music. This will be full throttle Who with horns and bells on.”

Tickets to The Who at Wembley Stadium go on sale from 10am on Friday 1st February. JULY 2019 
London Wembley Stadium – Sat 6th

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The 1970-72 “Lifehouse”-era of post-“Tommy” and pre-“Quadrophenia” Who yielded a prolific amount of single-only tracks, but the one that stands out every time is the B-side to “Join Together” called “Baby Don’t You Do It.” It was the sole live recording of the series as well as being far and away the most abandoned, passionate and reckless of the bunch in terms of high energy Rock. ‘Letting one go,’ kicking out the jams, going for broke, fucking rockin’ out, call it whatever but remember it’s Rock’n’Roll. For here, The Who did it, baby and did it all over this six minute blast of unleashed whirlwind thrash from their collective outgrown Mod past. “Baby Don’t You Do It” and several other tempestuous highpoints and flashpoints (i.e.: “Sparks,” “Underture,” etc.) continued throughout both sides of the dividing line twixt the sixties and seventies when The Who’s tour schedule was as severe and intense as the band themselves.

“Baby Don’t You Do It” was first born in 1964 as a pleading ballad by Marvin Gaye and quickly thereafter became one of The Who’s earliest covers. Giving it seven years of rough handling in the studio and on the road, it mutated into an apocalyptic beast of heavy Rock. Their live rendition doesn’t sound remotely Tamla nor Motown: it sounds like “Live At Leeds” and the songwriting credits should’ve read Holland-Iommi-Holland instead. It’s a raging soul plea shot with a Benzedrine dart to its heart. It’s a flippin’ template for their forthcoming “The Real Me.” It’s heavy, it fucking moves and it’s got it all: Townshend’s SG guitar power chords roar through dominant HIWATT loudspeakers; pretzel-shaped bomb-bass-tic Entwistlian 4-string runs are tautly performed with the greatest of ease; Daltrey’s throat-tearing vox and the outbreak of Mooning drum frenzy that continues unabated throughout. There are several sections where Townshend’s guitar cuts out and stays that way to leave Moon’s unaccompanied ferocious riding of cymbals and rapid double bass drumming to briefly hiccough then regain their lunatic balance on its rhythmic tightrope. After ending the song with several synchronised band crescendos, Daltrey places the microphone gingerly on the stage floor and instead of clinking it sounds like an explosive-filled projectile going off. Luckily, he didn’t sneeze into it or the walls of the venue would’ve probably collapsed or at very least: rendered them structurally unsound.

“Baby Don’t You Do It” is quite possibly one of The Who’s most unknown B-sides. It hasn’t been available on CD unless if there happened to be a minor European reissue of one of the “Rarities” compilations. Dammit: it even missed the clarion call for the “Thirty Years of Maximum R&B” box set while the version on the over-amended CD version of “Odds & Sods” contains an earlier studio version and as for the double expanded “Who’s Next”? There’s a version of it, but it’s yet another studio take — with Leslie West on lead guitar, no less. Luckily, second-hand copies of this single have always been relatively available and trade for about the price of a new CD and it’s so worth it so jump on it NOW — before it gets remixed like the rest of their back catalogue has and all the dirt gets spot cleaned into far less demanding digi-perfection (Crackling Noises Rule OK — DO NOT CORRECT.)

Speaking of the digital domain, all the other non-LP sides from the first four years of the 1970’s (including this here A-side, “Join Together”) are available all over the place on CD: “The Seeker,” “Here For More,” “Heaven And Hell,” “I Don’t Even Know Myself,” “Let’s See Action,” “When I Was A Boy,” “Relay,” “Waspman,” and “Water.” ALL of them except for…yup, you got it: “Baby Don’t You Do It.” Since it’s a 45 B-side, it would logically wind up either on a compilation or as a bonus track tacked on to “Who’s Next” along with lots of the above-named tracks. So why is it missing? Is it because it was such a storming, sweaty and sloppy set-ending afterburner that it would make all tracks fore and aft seem like CSN&Y in comparison? I dunno, but I love it not because it represents everything The Who were about as they operated on a far wider scale than just putting the boot in. But I love it because it’s everything they were about that I always loved: an undiluted channelling of aggression, passion and no-bullshit energy. Period.

I wasn’t alone in this sentiment except (weirdly enough) in situations surrounded by Who fans. I first heard the track on a New York City radio station show in 1985 hosted by Bill Wyman. He did an admirable job in hitting a lot of his own fave raves, which turned out to be obscuroes like “Dogs Part 2” and so on. But when the first few power chords of the B-side of “Join Together” called “Baby Don’t You Do It” rippled out from across the airwaves, it flattened me. It sounded like a “Live At Leeds” outtake. THIS was a killer, yet none of my half-assed Mod revival pals who’d seen the “Quadrophenia” movie umpteen times who wore green parkas had any clue about it. They didn’t want to either, for these were the new mod cons who’d stifle a yawn and get up to leave with the onset of the live ‘69 “Young Man Blues” during late night videotape viewings of “Kids Are Alright.” “Hey, this is the best part!” I’d exclaim to no acknowledgement and the place would soon empty out to the front door for extended goodbyes and leaving yours truly alone to suck it all in within the confines of a darkened room littered with empty beer cans and only the flickering red and white from the images of Townshend’s SG, the highlights of Daltrey’s shaggy mane and Moon’s cymbals the only light. What gives: They were apparently big fans of The Who and they all had “Live At Leeds.” Only thing was that upon close inspection the discs within were always in pristine shape with all signs of wear upon the front cover (and THAT was only from repeated removal and reinsertion of the adjacent copy of “Who’s Next” on and off the shelf when they should’ve just filed it next to “White Light/White Heat” for all the walks around the block — side one AND two — their copies of THAT sick puppy got when it was just glue factory compost to their “Face Dances”-era sensibilities.)

While listening to this song, look at the Spanish picture sleeve of the single or Jeff Stein’s Who photo book for visuals of Townshend going airborne, windmilling his heart out and casting off all inhibitions. Not that the music needs any help, but you probably will after repeated plays of this gale force classic. Just try not to break anything, as I sometimes do when jolted into a higher level of sensation by The Who and therefore put the boot in everywhere to everything. Sticking your fork in the socket was never half as entertaining or painless as this, and probably a few volts short.

This and three other tracks were recorded live at the same gig in San Francisco at the Civic Auditorium on December 13th, 1971. The other trio of “My Wife,” “Bargain” and “Goin’ Down” have turned up on various Who compilations throughout the years and instead of being powerful fragments from a late night sortie upon the heads and hearts of teenage wasteland USA, perhaps it’s time to release the whole gig, master it loud as fuck and we’ll all be happy as clams…before we get much older.