The Who are heading back to North America in late April for an extensive tour that will keep them on the road through early November. They will once again be joined by local orchestras at every stop for an evening of music heavy on classics from Tommy, Quadrophenia, Who’s Next, and their 2019 LP Who in addition to selections from their other albums.
Some of the shows were originally booked for 2019 and delayed because Roger Daltrey was suffering from a vocal ailment, while others were scheduled for 2020 and postponed due to the pandemic. They have added several shows to the itinerary, and they’re calling the whole tour “The Who Hits Back!”
They first tried out the orchestra concept on 2019’s Moving On! tour. Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey were joined for that run by their longtime drummer Zak Starkey, bassist Jon Button, guitarist-vocalist Simon Townshend (Pete’s brother), keyboardist Loren Gold, bassist Jon Button, background vocalist Billy Nicholls, orchestra conductor Keith Levenson, lead violinist Katie Jacoby, and lead cellist Audrey Snyder. That same team is back this time around, though they’ll be joined by additional keyboardist Emily Marshall.
Townshend says the presence of the orchestras gives him a focus he doesn’t have at traditional Who concerts. “It gives me a chance to make sure what I play, what I do, where I look, how I behave on the stage, is more connected with the people around me,” he tells Rolling Stone, “and with the audience, and with, to get prosaic about it, an inner sense.
“In other words,” he continues, “I don’t lose myself the way I did when I used to jump around, have a big adrenaline rush, and then come off the stage and someone would say, ‘Great show,’ or someone would say, ‘Terrible show,’ and I wouldn’t really know what I had done, to be honest, since I was like someone running a marathon. So the orchestra gives me space.”
Notable shows on the tour include a headlining set at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, a return to the original Woodstock site in Bethel Woods, New York, and the band’s first concert in Cincinnati, Ohio, since the 1979 gig where 11 Who fans died in a stampede shortly after the doors opened.
“At last, we can close the loop on the disaster that happened back in 1979,” says Townshend. “We’ve done a lot of work on that. There’s been a documentary [The Who: The Night That Changed Rock] about it. This has been in the air for a while.”
And even though Daltrey is 77 and Townshend is 76, they’re not billing this as the band’s final tour. “Roger is of the opinion that he wants to sing until he drops,” says Townshend. “That’s not my philosophy of life. There are other things that I want to do, still want to do, and will do, I hope. I hope I’ll live long enough to do them.”
“But it’s not a farewell tour,” he continues. “Apart from anything else, we still have people who have tickets for the U.K. 2019 tour. We’re very, very keen to do that tour and we’ll be doing that tour in 2023, I think. But I’m I’m talking about stuff I don’t really know about. I don’t have any guarantees, like everybody else. I don’t really know for sure what’s going to happen next month.”
Here are the dates for the Who’s 2022 tour. Find tickets here.
April 22 – Hard Rock @ Ft. Lauderdale, FL
April 24 – VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena @ Jacksonville, FL
April 27 – Amalie Arena @ Tampa, FL
April 20 – New Orleans Jazz Festival
May 3 – Moody Center ATX @ Austin, TX
May 2 – American Airlines Center @ Dallas, TX
May 8 – The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion @ The Woodlands, TX
May – Paycom Center @ Oklahoma City, TX
May 13 – FedEx Forum @ Memphis, TN
May 15 – TQL Stadium @ Cincinnati, OH
May 18 – TD Garden @ Boston, MA
May 20 – Wells Fargo Center @ Philadelphia, PA
May 23 – Capital One Arena @ Washington, D.C.
May 26 – Madison Square Garden @ New York City, NY
May 28 – Bethel Woods Center of the Arts @ Bethel, NY
Oct 2 – Scotiabank Arena @ Toronto, ON
Oct 4 – Little Caesars Arena @ Detroit, MI
Oct 7 – UBS Arena @ Elmont, NY
Oct 9 – Schottenstein Center @ Columbus, OH
Oct 12 – United Center @ Chicago, IL
Oct 14 – Enterprise Center @ St. Louis, MO
Oct 17 – Ball Arena @ Denver, CO
Oct 20 – Moda Center @ Portland, OR
Oct 22 – Climate Pledge Arena @ Seattle, WA
Oct 26 – Golden 1 Center @ Sacramento, CA
Oct 28 – Honda Center @ Anaheim, CA
Nov 1 – Hollywood Bowl @ Los Angeles, CA
Nov 4 – Dolby Live @ Las Vegas, NV
Nov 5 – Dolby Live @ Las Vegas, NV