Earlier this week, the Who rolled out dates for their 2019 Moving On! tour, on which they’ll be joined each night by local symphonies. “Be aware Who fans!” Roger Daltrey said in a statement. “Just because it’s The Who with an orchestra, in no way will it compromise the way Pete and I deliver our music. This will be full throttle Who with horns and bells on.”
This won’t be the first time the Who’s music will be paired with an orchestra. The idea goes back to 1972 when the London Symphony Orchestra staged Tommy with guests including Steve Winwood, Rod Stewart, Ringo Starr and Richie Havens, plus Daltrey with Pete Townshend. Twenty-two years later, in 1994, Daltrey revived the idea at Carnegie Hall when he celebrated his 50th birthday by singing Who classics with the Juilliard Orchestra, joined by guests stars Eddie Vedder, Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, Linda Perry, along with Townshend and his other surviving bandmate John Entwistle.
Daltrey took the show on the road that summer, but ticket sales were anemic in some markets, and the production presented several musical challenges. “It was wonderful, but it was early days as to how to actually present a show like that,” Daltrey told Rolling Stone earlier this month. “There were many big technical problems with rock bands being very loud and orchestras being quiet. We achieved it in the end, but it was hard.”
The technology needed to present a show like that has come a long way since 1994, meaning things should go a lot smoother this time around. “You’ll be hearing familiar stuff that will take you to even greater heights,” says Daltrey. “It will all become majestic. That’s all I can say.”