The Who announces 50th anniversary British and Irish tour

The Who Hits 50! tour will take audiences on a journey spanning the band’s full career from the days the band was known as The High Numbers through its classic albums including “Who’s Next,” “Tommy,” “Quadrophenia,” “My Generation” and “Live at Leeds.”

The British and Irish tour begins in Nov. 26 in Dublin and wraps up Dec. 17 in London. No word yet on any North American dates related to the anniversary.

(RELATED ARTICLE: List of true 5-Star albums includes The Who’s ‘Who’s Next’)

“This is the beginning of the long goodbye,” singer Roger Daltrey said regarding the tour’s announcement. He doesn’t know how long the band will continue to tour, but he knows that the day will come at some point. Daltrey turned 70 in March; guitarist Pete Townshend turned 69 in May.

The Who Pete Townshend

With his suit and pocket square Pete Townshend looks every inch the English gentleman rocker during the Nov. 1, 2012, opening night of the Quadrophenia And More World Tour in Sunrise, Fla. But whether that’s how you see him onstage for the band’s upcoming The Who Hits 50! tour dates? Well, that appears to be up for grabs, he joked. “Trying to stay young. Not wearing socks. Growing a great big woodcutter’s beard. Might even wear a check shirt on stage and get a tattoo of a Union Jack. Always a fashion victim. But under no illusions. We are what we are, and extremely good at it, but we’re lucky ti be alive and still touring,” he said in a news release announcing the tour dates. Rick Diamond photo courtesy MSO.

Townshend defines the upcoming tour as one of “Hits, Picks, Mixes and MIsses” that has the band playing all of its classic anthems, along with deeper cuts. He also revealed during a news conference that he’s written three new songs and hopes to record them with Daltrey. The Who’s last studio album was 2006’s “Endless Wire,” which ended a 24-year drought.

(RELATED ARTICLE: ‘Live At Leeds’ captures the power of The Who at its peak)

Tickets will go on sale Friday, July 4, 2014, for the general public. The Who’s fan club members can book tickets through a special pre-sale event that runs through Thursday, July 3, 2014. For more information or to buy tickets, visit http://thewho.com/tour/

The incarnation of The Who that history books and music lovers have come to know began to take shape in February 1964, when The Detours — then consisting of Daltrey on vocals, Townshend on guitar, Doug Sandom on drums and the late John Entwistle on bass — changed its name to The Who … well, for the first time that year.

By April 1964, Sandom was out, drummer Keith Moon was in and the band had a new publicist, Peter Meaden, who changed its name to The High Numbers and shaped the band into a Mod act. Fontana Records released the single “I’m The Face” b/w “Zoot Suit” on July 3, 1964, but it fails to chart. By August, Meaden is out, replaced by Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. The band gets on the bill — albeit the bottom of the bill — of a series of British concerts that feature headliners including The Beatles and The Kinks, and it makes its first TV appearance on the BBC’s “The Beat Room” broadcast on Aug. 24, 1964. The band auditioned for EMI Records in October, changed its name back to The Who in November  and commenced a 16-week residency at London’s Marquee Club. It saw its first charting single in January 1965 with “I Can’t Explain.”

Although those figures would add up to 50 through traditional math formulas, it doesn’t match up with Townshend’s accounting of the band’s history.

“If I had enough hairs to split, I would say that for 13 years since 1964, The Who didn’t really exist, so we are really only 37,” he said.

Regardless, the tickets and press materials read The Who Hits 50! Scheduled British and Irish 2014 tour dates, cities and venues are:

Nov. 26: Dublin, The O2
Nov. 28: Belfast, Northern Ireland, Odyssey Arena
Nov. 30: Glasgow, U.K., SSE Hydro
Dec. 2: Leeds, U.K., First Direct Arena
Dec. 5: Nottingham, U.K., Capital FM Arena
Dec. 7: Birmingham, U.K., NIA
Dec. 9: Newcastle, U.K., Metro Radio Arena
Dec. 11: Liverpool, U.K., Echo Arena
Dec. 13: Manchester, U.K., Phones 4U Arena
Dec. 15: Cardiff, U.K., Motorpoint Arena
Dec. 17: London, The O2

 

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