Pete Townshend Performs at Charity Benefit

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Pete Townshend

The name of the event was Symfunny No. 2, in aid of Parkinson’s UK, and it took place at the Royal Albert Hall in London last Wednesday evening (April 19). The fundraising benefit, for the research and support charity in the United Kingdom, featured—as the title suggests—both comedy and music (both classical and rock), with the most prominent guest performer being one Pete Townshend of the Who.

Those in attendance heard Townshend, playing guitar and backed by the event’s orchestra, performing three songs: “I’m One” and “Love Reign O’er Me,” both from Quadrophenia, and a true rarity.

Townshend’s three-song mini-set followed comedians known to British audiences as well as classical quartet Collabro and mezzo-soprano Juliette Pochin. According to Townshend’s Facebook page, “The ‘backing band’ for the evening was a full orchestra led by the evening’s organizer—conductor, composer and record producer James Morgan, himself diagnosed in his early 40s with Parkinson’s.”

Related: Townshend’s 10 best guitar moments with The Who

Also from the Townshend Facebook page…

“And lastly, but far from least, was Pete Townshend. He began his three-song set with ‘I’m One’ from Quadrophenia playing acoustic guitar and backed by the orchestra. Pete explained to the audience that his late father-in-law, Ted Astley, had suffered from Parkinson’s and in a tribute to Ted he performed with the orchestra one of his rarest of rare songs, probably live for the first time, a silly little ditty called ‘Football Fugue.’ He ended his set with an amazing version of ‘Love Reign O’er Me,’ the closing number on the Quadrophenia album. The song, so long associated with Roger Daltrey (and in the past year by Alfie Boe), took on a whole new perspective with Pete taking the vocal.”

Watch Pete Townshend perform “Football Fugue” at the charity event

The original recording of “Football Fugue” can be found on Another Scoop, the second in Townshend’s Scoop series of albums, soon to be reissued, remastered on 2-CD digipak and on 180-gram colored vinyl.

Closing up the night’s performances, the report says, “were the whole of the event’s cast led by Jason Manford in a truly joyous sing-along of Monty Python’s ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.’”

Watch Pete Townshend sing “Love Reign O’er Me” at the Symfunny No. 2 event

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