WHO UK TOUR 2014 - Just Backdated Gets Hot Poop

Never quite knowing what the day will bring and having already had a post for today (the last Cat Stevens book extract) already prepared, I find myself doing two posts in one day, as at lunchtime I was at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in Frith Street in the heart of Soho for a press conference called by Messrs Daltrey and Townshend to announce a December UK tour by The Who, to hear them play four songs together and do a brief Q&A in front of assorted press.
        It’s the 50th anniversary tour, nine gigs announced so far, details of which you can no doubt find on The Who’s website. Fifty years ago today The Who played at the Railway Hotel in Harrow, and the last time they were at Ronnie Scott’s was on May 1, 1969, when they premiered Tommy. Today Roger and Pete take the stage after a brief film made up from highlights of their career which, at first, had no sound. Someone had kicked a jack out. “Probably me,” said Pete.
        They make a great duo, as well they might after 50 years, and played ‘Substitute’, ‘Bargain’, ‘The Kids Are Alright’ and ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, harmonising together; Roger with an emotional depth to his voice that rings out very clearly in this small club, Pete playing rhythm as only he can, chords zinging away on a 12-string for the first two numbers and a blonde Gibson J-200 for the other two. ‘Kids’ seemed especially poignant in this setting. During ‘Fooled Again’ I became aware of someone close by stamping his foot in time, very hard and very much in time in fact, and looked across to see that it was Zak Starkey, hopefully now reinstalled into the touring group.
        “This is the beginning of a long goodbye,” Roger was quoted as saying in a press release and when asked to expand on this he replied, “We can’t go on touring forever. My voice won’t last for ever. I think we’ll stop touring before we stop playing together.”
        “The heroin, the cocaine, we just can’t do it anymore,” quipped Pete, who went on to suggest that the set lists for this tour may contain songs from the deeper recesses of their catalogue. “‘Dogs Part 2’, ‘Dogs Part 1’, ‘Now I’m A Farmer’.” I think he was joking there too.
        “Why do it?” someone asked.
        “I want to do it,” said Pete, sounding very sincere. “Sometimes I don’t but this time I do. It’s a significant anniversary.”
        “I’m making the most of it while I can,” said Roger.
        “We like that people want to see us. This is what we do,” added Pete before rounding on a Guardian reporter with an unprintable tirade about the on-line comments found on the paper’s website. The question concerned whether or not they might record together again to which Pete responded that he’d sent Roger three demos fairly recently, so the answer was yes.
        Both were in great spirits, Roger clearly delighted by the response to his album with Wilco Johnson, Pete as good natured as ever, chatting to me about his son Joe before he went on stage. Funny that. I was talking to Roger about his kids earlier. Once upon a time I talked to The Who about their music and smashing guitars. Now I talk about how our kids are alright.
        I took the picture myself. 


Ed Murphy said...

Thanks Chris, great reporting, lol! Any talk or impression of what kind ( or size ) of band they'll take with them? Also, being a Yank, are the buildings they are playing bigger arenas ( like the Spectrum or MSG, lol) or intimate ( like the Electric Factory or Boston Tea Party)?

Chris Charlesworth said...

No news yet on the band. The venues are large by UK standards, ie 10,000+, but not US.

Ed Murphy said...

Gotcha. Well, with Zak in the audience he's probably in ( your mention of that became quite the topic on facebook forums yesterday. JustBackdated deserves ' exclusive ' credit for cracking that nugget, lol). I'm guessing the usual suspects will make up the rest of the band. And a spring arena tour for America, perhaps? Roger implied nothing is set in stone. Of course, having tremendous patience is a job requirement for Who Fans! Thanks, as always, Chris!

Mike said...

Chris, you mention the touring group. I just watched the new bluray of the recent London Quadrophenia show and they're almost entirely absent on camera! Simon gets the briefest of camera time, even during some of his solos and lead guitar work. Pino is never on except in the very wide shots. Pino f-ing Palladino! How you can relegate him to quick snippets?

Any idea what's going on, or did some editor just say "ehhhhhh, keep it tight on Pete and Roge, nobody wants to see the other geezers"?

Chris Charlesworth said...

Can't help you there Mike as I had nothing to do with this, but you're probably right in your assumption about the editor's request!

Greg said...

Mr daltrey and Mr townshend were once called the elder statesmen of rock 'n' roll ! that was a decade ago . their dignity and professionalism just makes them good old english gentlemen . A bit like yourself Chris !

Anonymous said...

Great article Chris! Two legends that will never fade away. Can you let them know I'm up for the drumming position if Zak unavailable!! Cheers! Martin

Anonymous said...

Boston Tea Party? funny, I saw them there in November of '69 !

Unknown said...

I really hope they can make it to OZ again. I first saw The Who in 1968 & lastly in 2009 so one last tour would be great before we all shuffle off this mortal coil.

Anonymous said...

Chris C. - Great article! As always, we can't wait to see these guys yet one more time! Two of the greats in rock and roll history!
David C. Tennant