STORY WRITTEN BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
The Who, one of rock’s most legendary and defining bands, will celebrate their five decade legacy when they bring “The Who Hits 50!” tour to North America next year. There will be three local dates; two at the Wells Fargo Center – including the tour finale – and one in Atlantic City.
The initial leg will kick off its spring run April 15 in Tampa, FL and includes 20 stops throughout the east before wrapping May 30 in Forest Hills, N.Y. It rolls into the Wells Fargo Center Sunday, May 17 and the following Friday, May 22, at Boardwalk Hall. The fall leg will launch September 14 in San Diego, Calif. and begin with west coast dates throughout the U.S. and across Canada before concluding Nov. 4 at the Wells Fargo Center.
Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday at 10 a.m. at www.thewho.com.
According to a press release, setlists on these shows will take the audience on an “Amazing Journey” through the band’s entire career from the early days to classic albums including ‘Who’s Next,’ ‘Tommy’ and ‘Quadrophenia’ through the present day. The classic songs fans can expect to hear on ‘The Who Hits 50!’ tour will appear on the band’s forthcoming collection of the same name. Set for an Oct. 27 release, the definitive assortment of The Who’s greatest tracks from their first recordings as The High Numbers right up to today with the new track “Be Lucky.”
The show, described by guitarist Pete Townshend as: “Hits, Picks, Mixes and Misses” will see the band play all their classic anthems as well as tackling deeper cuts from their catalog.
“This is the beginning of the long goodbye,” said vocalist Roger Daltrey of the upcoming tour.
“Trying to stay young,” said Townshend. “Not wearing socks. Growing a great big Woodcutter’s beard. Might even wear a check shirt on stage and get a tattoo of a Union Jack. Always a fashion victim. But under no illusions. We are what we are, and extremely good at it, but we’re lucky to be alive and still touring.”
The Who have sold over 100 million records since forming in 1964, bringing together four different personalities and in effect produced a musical hurricane. Each of them was a pioneer. Wildman drummer Keith Moon beat his kit with a chaotic elegance; stoic bassist John Entwistle held down the center with the melodic virtuosity of a solo guitarist; raging intellectual Pete Townshend punctuated the epic universality of his songs with the windmill slamming of his fingers across his guitar strings; and Roger Daltrey roared above it all with an impossibly virile macho swagger.
They exploded conventional rhythm and blues structures, challenged pop music conventions, and redefined what was possible on stage, in the recording studio, and on vinyl. As they enter their 50th year, the band is still going strong, winning rave reviews for their performances the rock opera ‘Quadrophenia’ in 2013. But there’s also a sense that this will be it.
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