Saturday 24 February 2018

Who's Daltrey 'sweats it' on tour

A world hungry to move forward will be out in force for the singer's 'Tommy' tour, writes Barry Egan

Won't get fooled gain? Who frontman Roger Daltrey believes that U2's controversial decision to relocate their company out of Ireland to make their tax revenue status more efficient is beguiling for a band with such a strong ideological viewpoint on -- and at -- the world.

"I find it very interesting that people who spout socialism don't want to pay for a socialist state. Weird," Daltrey said recently of Bono et al. "It doesn't quite add up."

To some, it doesn't add up either that Daltrey is taking The Who's 1969 rock-opera Tommy on the road without Pete Townshend the mercurial genius who composed it.

In an interview with Intelligent Life, The Who guitarist and main man has one or two interesting comments about being on tour with ravishing Roger. "If I'm out on the road with Roger and he's as miserable as sin, there is a bit of me, and I know my manager Bill Curbishley shares this, which thinks 'why are we doing this to him?'," he said.

"He seems to be so unhappy, he seems to be so unfulfilled. Yet when you talk to him he exalts The Who to high heaven, and exalts me. He always says it's going to be fabulous, and 'this time I'm just going to have fun', and he always ends up distraught, sobbing in a corner somewhere, saying 'that was the worst show I've ever done and I could do so much better and I can't work out how I'm going to do this again'."

"It got to me," Daltrey said himself to Rolling Stone earlier this year of the touring process. "I felt the pressure. I was having terrible trouble hearing what I was singing.

"In fact, I've been suffering for quite a few of the previous tours. I never understood that if you sweat as much as I used to every night, you drain your body of salts. So I got very, very, seriously ill. I got to the stage where I was almost hospitalised with serious problems."

"Great to see Roger performing Tommy with his band in 2011," Pete later said. "It is wonderful to hear the way Roger and his new band re-interpret the old Who songs. I will be there in spirit, and Roger has my complete and most loving support."

Indeed Pete's younger brother Simon Townshend is on lead guitar for the shows.

The Observer dubbed Tommy "the most influential album in the wake of Sgt Pepper", about a deaf, dumb and blind kid who finds salvation in amusement arcades -- cue Pinball Wizard. "As a pop record it is patchy; as an opera it is badly executed. But it wasn't received that way in a world hungry to move forward."

And doubtless there will be an ecstatic reception for Daltrey on Tuesday night at Marlay Park in Dublin from an Irish crowd hungry to move forward too.

Sunday Independent

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