Live Review: The Who at Royal Albert Hall

Live Review: The Who at Royal Albert Hall

The Who perform two electrifying shows at The Royal Albert Hall in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust

By Adam Davidson

In 1969, The Who had just released the Rock Opera ‘Tommy’ – which is considered by many as one of the best albums of all time. Later that year, the Rock band would go on to play their debut headlining show at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall.

Over 50 years later, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are still rocking out at the Hall!

As part of the TCT series of concerts at Royal Albert Hall, curated by Roger Daltrey since 2000, The Who performed with The Heart of England Orchestra – seemingly a far cry from their rebellious days when they first took to the stage here in the late 60s.

For the first couple of songs, the orchestra perhaps overpowered the vocals of Daltrey but they adapted and the show started to take life after ‘Pinball Wizard’ and especially ‘We’re Not Going to Take It.’

The lead singer rolled back the years as he did his signature move of swinging his microphone, which inevitably got a huge cheer from the crowd.

The band opened the show with ‘Overture’ from ‘Tommy’ – which was an ideal opener as it showcased the power of an orchestra in a venue that is designed for these acoustic marvels.

For the second part of the show, the orchestra went off stage and it was just the band for the most part. They performed hits such as ‘The Kids are Alright’, ‘Substitute’ before leading into the era-defining ‘My Generation.’

There was also an epic performance of ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ – ending with Daltrey pulling out the iconic scream at the end of the track. Followed by a beautiful acoustic performance of ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ accompanied by strings.

When the orchestra was reintroduced for the 3rd part, The Who had a surprise up their sleeves as they welcomed their ‘unconditional friend’ to the stage, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, to perform ‘The Punk and the Godfather’ together.

The set ended with the fan-favourite ‘Baba O’Riley’, which thrived with the orchestra – especially during the iconic violin solo at the end.  The whole show was a beautiful reminder of how many hits The Who have produced over the years and ones that still stand the test of time.

As the frontman of The Who, Roger Daltrey has already cemented his place in music history for all eternity. However, as he steps down as curator of TCT’s Royal Albert Hall concert series after almost 25 years, his legacy stretches far beyond music as he has made a difference to the lives of thousands of young people living with cancer.

Since 2000, over £32 million has been raised by Teenage Cancer Trust concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, and that money has helped fund specialist nurses, hospital units and support services right across the UK that help get young people through some unimaginably hard times.