ROGER DALTREY PERFORMS THE WHO’S ‘TOMMY’
WITH MEMBERS OF THE WHO AND THE BOSTON POPS
Koussevitzky Music Shed at Tanglewood, Lenox, MA
June 15, 2018
Rock legend Roger Daltrey accompanied by members of The Who and the Boston Pops Orchestra put on the complete performance of The Who’s 1969 rock opera “Tommy” at the Tanglewood Koussevitzky Music Shed in Lenox, MA.
Pete Townshend is taking a year off but Daltrey said he just did not want to do that. He said performing kept his voice from suffering and that too much time off and his voice would not be the same. But holding onto the familiar sound of Townshend during the vocals was Simon Townshend, Pete Townshend’s brother. Besides sounding amazingly like Pete he plays with the group and this night he sang some of the lyrics Pete would normally deliver, but Daltrey took on most of the wide array of characters in the opera.
The rest of the band consisted of Frank Simes on guitar, Scott Devour on drums and Jon Button on bass.
This performance kicked off the 2018 summer season at Tanglewood and also the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth. It’s also the 50th anniversary of the launching of the rock opera “Tommy.”
Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra will be celebrating Bernstein starting with this edition of “Tommy.” Surprisingly Bernstein was a great supporter of this rock opera. I found this out at the performance during a conversation with David Knowle Edwards a writer for the Berkshire Edge.
Here is some background courtesy of Edwards. “Following a performance of “Tommy” at the Fillmore East in 1969, the Who’s lead guitarist and songwriter, Pete Townshend, received Leonard Bernstein’s effusive praise in person, straight from the maestro’s mouth:”
“Leonard Bernstein came with his daughter,” recalls Townshend (in various published interviews). “And he was incredibly excited. He grabbed me by the shoulder, shook me and said, ‘Pete! Do you realize what you’ve done?’ He was so passionate! … Of course, what he was talking about was that I was going the next step in what he had done with ‘West Side Story,’ which was creating a popular song cycle, a musical that was really rooted in street culture.”
The Boston Pops with conductor Keith Levenson joined Roger Daltrey to give the audience a fantastic night of music and even some of his famous microphone twirling. Daltrey’s voice was strong and he gave the audience an energetic and enthusiastic performance. The crowd was on their feet throughout the final few numbers showing their appreciation for the band and the Boston Pops with a long standing ovation.
The audience never took their seats as “Tommy” concluded. The encore songs were “Who Are You” and “Baba O’Riley.” During “Baba O’Riley” Katie Jacoby, a violin soloist, took center stage and gave a rousing ending to the song that had the entire crowd cheering.
Daltrey then ended the night with “Always Heading Home” off his newest album release “As Long As I Have You.” This release is Daltrey’s first solo album in 25 years and he is completely happy with the finished product.
Proceeds from the night’s sales of Daltrey’s new CD “As Long As I Have You” went to benefit the Teenage Cancer Trust. Also, one dollar from every ticket sold on The Who’s current North American Tour is being donated to Teen Cancer America. A project Daltrey is very much involved in and raises money for the charity whenever possible.
This was a historic concert that won’t be forgotten. Daltrey’s voice was strong and the band excellent. The addition of the magnificent playing from the Boston Pops made for a magical night. If you get the chance to catch this show don’t hesitate. It’s not a combination that will happen often if ever again. Different venues will have other orchestras backing Daltrey but if they perform anywhere near as well as the Boston Pops it is well worth seeing. This was a perfect pairing of talents on a beautiful summer night.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
It’s a Boy
The Hawker (Eyesight to the Blind)
The Acid Queen
Do You Think It’s Alright?
There’s a Doctor I’ve Found
Go to the Mirror!
Tommy Can You Hear Me?
Smash the Mirror
Tommy’s Holiday Camp
We’re Not Gonna Take It
See Me, Feel Me/Listening To You
Who Are You
Always Heading Home