Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will be mic twirling and guitar windmilling on The Who's upcoming Quadrophenia tour. © Tim Mosenfelder/Corbis
The Who's Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey held a video press conference today to announce that the band will play their 1973 rock opera Quadrophenia in its entirety on a 36-date US tour later this year. But don't expect to see holograms of late members Keith Moon and John Entwistle on stage (a la Tupac "dueting" with Snoop Dogg at last spring's Coachella).
"We thought about holograms, but everyone's doing it right now," Daltrey said. "I wanted to do it a few years ago before got popular. We were very good on gimmicks in the '70s, but I think we can leave that alone."
Although the upcoming tour is The Who's first North American run in four years, it's not the first time they've performed Quadrophenia in full - they did so in 1996 and 1997. "We've gone off in different directions, and we've really struggled with what to do this time," Townshend said during the video chat. "Quadrophenia was something we felt we could get together on. We were anxious to work together before we dropped dead."
Performing Quadrophenia and some "old chestnuts," as Townshend called them (songs like Won't Get Fooled Again and Baba O'Reillt were mentioned), The Who lineup will include, in addition to Townshend and Daltrey, Zak Starkey (drums), Pino Palladino (bass), Simon Townshend (guitar/backing vocals), along with keyboardists Chris Stainton and Loren Gold.
Asked to name his favorite songs from Quadrophenia to perform live, Townshend said in a statement: "I really love playing all of it. It's a unique piece for me in that. Some Who music is nightmarish to perform live. Roger has some very tough songs to sing, and he must have preferences. But for me on guitar, everything falls under the fingers. It flows naturally, and I always feel proud of my achievement as the writer, that I put it all together and gave the band a third wind.
"The real high point for me is always the final song, Love Reign O'er Me. Roger and I now stand almost alone together, representing not only the original band, but also its Mod audience, and of course all our other early fans. We are connected by it, in what is the most clear cut prayer for redemption, and it feels like an acknowledgment that rock music has managed to deal with the highest emotional challenge: spiritual desperation."
The Quadrophenia tour kicks off 1 November in Sunrise, Florida and winds up 26 February in Providence, Rhode Island. Before that, however, The Who will be involved in the finale of the London Olympics ceremony. "We've recorded a piece of music which I think is a fabulous ending for the Olympics," Daltrey said, "and it just shows the great music that has come out of this country. This country has put some fabulous music out into the world."