The Who Perform 2 New Songs as 2019 Orchestral Tour Resumes

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Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, and orchestra performing “Ball and Chain” at Madison Square Garden, Sept. 1, 2019

When the Who began the second leg of their 2019 North American orchestral tour on Sunday night (September 1), two of the songs on the setlist were new tracks from their upcoming studio album.

While introducing “Ball and Chains,” Pete Townshend said to the crowd at New York’s Madison Square Garden, “Next year, hopefully, the songs that we release in November will be greatest hits.”

Townshend added, “I sincerely wish we were sharper tonight than we are. I know we’re not in top form.” The concert was the band’s first since their sole U.K. show this year, on July 6 at Wembley Stadium. [The group performed “Ball and Chain” at that U.K. show.]

Watch them perform “Ball and Chain” (not “Big Cigars,” as the video title claims), with Townshend’s colorful introduction

The band have been recording the album in 2019 – their first studio effort in over a decade – with “11 or 12 songs,” per Townshend.

Also among the evening’s 24 songs was a second track from the still-untitled new album.

Watch the Who perform “Hero Ground Zero”

On stage, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are again joined by familiar Who players featuring guitarist/backup singer Simon Townshend, keyboardist Loren Gold, bassist Jon Button and drummer Zak Starkey, and complemented by what the original January 11 announcement described as “some of the best orchestras in the U.S. and Canada.”

On Jan. 10, The Who’s longtime manager, Bill Curbishley, revealed that the band will tour the U.S. in 2019, with “plans to do some stuff in the U.K.” The very next day, The Who revealed that the U.S. portion would be a 31-date symphonic arena tour, called “Moving On,” with 14 shows in the spring and the remainder in September and October, including several Canadian dates. On Jan. 25, the group’s social media accounts teased a “big U.K. announcement” on Jan. 28. Then on Jan. 26, a new teaser arrived with an image of London’s Wembley Stadium.

Sure enough, on Jan. 28, The Who announced a July 6 concert at Wembley Stadium.

Watch “Baba O’Riley” on opening night of the tour’s second leg

This is the first Who tour since 2017.

Related: Our recap of the 2019 tour’s opening night

While appearing with host BBC host Shaun Keaveny last January, Curbishley said: “We’re gonna do an album… Pete [Townshend]’s written some really great songs. He gave us some demos a couple of months ago and I really think of those—he gave me 12 of them—eight of them are absolutely great for The Who. And he’s still writing and he’s got so much stuff, so I’m sure he’ll adapt some of that and we’ll get some more songs.”

The Who haven’t released a new studio album since 2006’s Endless Wire. (Before that, you’d have to go all the way back to 1982’s It’s Hard.)

Watch Daltrey and Townshend perform acoustic versions of two Who favorites at their September 1 concert at MSG

Thanks to Jim Powers for the great clips.

Tickets are available at Ticketmaster and here.

The Who 2019 Tour Dates

Aerial view of a banner welcoming The Who to Madison Square Garden in September 2019

Second Leg
Sept 3 / Scotiabank Arena / Toronto, ON
Sept 6 / Xcel Energy Center / St. Paul, MN (with Reignwolf)
Sept 8 / Alpine Valley Music Theatre / Alpine Valley, WI (with Dead Horses)
Sept 10 / Blossom Music Center / Cuyahoga Falls, OH (with Peter Wolf)
Sept 13 / Fenway Park / Boston, MA (with Peter Wolf)
Sept 15 / Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater / Wantagh, NY (with Reignwolf)
Sept 18 / State Farm Arena / Atlanta, GA (with Reignwolf)
Sept 20 / BB&T Center / Ft. Lauderdale, FL (with Reignwolf)
Sept 22 / Amalie Arena / Tampa, FL (with Reignwolf)
Sept 25 / Toyota Center / Houston, TX (with Reignwolf)
Sept 27 / American Airlines Center / Dallas, TX (with Reignwolf)
Sept 29 / Pepsi Center / Denver, CO (with Reignwolf)
Oct 9 / Chase Center / San Francisco, CA
Oct 11 / Hollywood Bowl / Los Angeles, CA (with TBA)
Oct 13 / Hollywood Bowl / Los Angeles, CA (with TBA)
Oct 16 / Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl San Diego State Univ. / San Diego, CA (with Liam Gallagher)
Oct 19 / T-Mobile Park / Seattle, WA (with Liam Gallagher)
Oct 21 / Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena / Vancouver, BC (with Liam Gallagher)
Oct 24 / Hollywood Bowl / Los Angeles, CA (with Liam Gallagher)

Related: Listings for 100s of classic rock tours

Townshend and Roger Daltrey spent 2018 working on individual projects. Daltrey released a solo album, As Long as I Have You, and performed Tommy with local orchestras in a series of U.S. dates. He also published his memoir Thanks a Lot, Mr. Kibblewhite.

Townshend spent 2018 away from The Who to devote time to his wife Rachel Fuller’s stage musical production, The Seeker. He’s also written his first novel, The Age of Anxiety, due November 5.

In other Who-related news, in that same Jan. 10 interview, Curbishley revealed some significant progress on a long-discussed film on the life of Who drummer Keith Moon. “We’ve talked to Roger about that for 20 years but we’re finally there,” he told BBC Radio. “He’s had a couple of scripts over the years that didn’t really suit, but since I got involved with him we went through a couple of different scriptwriters and we’ve settled on a writer called Jeff Pope.”

(Pope wrote the 2018 film Stan & Ollie, and co-wrote the screenplay for the 2013 film, Philomena, with Steve Coogan.)

The BBC’s Keaveny asked him: “Have you started casting for Moonie yet?” “That’s a tough one but I’ve fixed on it really being an unknown and finding another Phil Daniels.” Daniels played the lead role in the 1979 film adaptation of Quadrophenia.

Related: Our 2016 review of The Who

Best Classic Bands Staff

7 Comments so far

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  1. Garrett Jennings
    #1 Garrett Jennings 10 January, 2019, 14:59

    Awesome news about The Who.
    Love them – here are their Top 200 Songs

    Reply this comment
  2. The Loon
    #2 The Loon 10 January, 2019, 21:19

    Best live band ever! Can’t believe the boys are coming back. Long live rock!

    Reply this comment
  3. Gerry
    #3 Gerry 11 January, 2019, 05:37

    Check out on YouTube the version of Magic Bus from Denver, indicated as 1970 (might be 1971 actually). I think you will not be disappointed.

    Reply this comment
  4. Kevguy
    #4 Kevguy 11 January, 2019, 09:31

    Rumor: Original title Who’s Left has been replaced by Who Cares!

    Reply this comment
  5. SLMN100
    #5 SLMN100 20 May, 2019, 07:33

    As thrilled as I am that Peter Wolf is opening in Fenway, I wish Liam was doing at least one east coast show, as he’s a real good looking boy!

    Reply this comment
  6. Rock Fan
    #6 Rock Fan 2 September, 2019, 14:54

    The group performed “Big Cigars” at that U.K. show, when it was mistakenly identified as “Guantanamo,” which is prominently referenced in its lyrics.

    Actually, it was not mistakenly identified at all. The song “Guantanamo” was released in 2015 on Pete’s solo album called “Truancy”. Here is a video released in 2015.

    It is the same song played last evening.

    So the song Pete introduced as “Big Cigars” was actually released 4 years ago as “Guantanamo”.

    Reply this comment

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