Friday September 20th the legendary English rock band performed at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL. Review by Sharon Budman Photos by J Skolnick Photography
The Who Announces their First Studio Album in 13 Years – coming November 2019
The Who are Moving On … and they are moving on to a bunch of firsts!! This is the first US tour since their 50th Anniversary Tour in 2016 and their Las Vegas residency in 2017. Coming this November 2019, The Who will release their first studio album in thirteen years!! Based on what I’ve seen, there is more to come.
The Who was born 55 years ago. Roger Daltrey (75) and Pete Townshend (74) are the last two original members of The Who as both original drummer Keith Moon (1978) and bass player John Entwistle (2002) have passed away.
When concert attendees entered the BB&T Center the two HD screens hung high on either side of the stage and displayed a slide show that paid homage to Alan Rogan who passed away on July 4, 2019. Alan joined The Who family around 1975-1976, as Pete Townshend’s guitar technician and was an integral part of the inner-core family for the next 40+ years. Did you know?? Alan was so much to so many, he was also George Harrison’s personal equipment wizard and a close family friend and held multiple “stellar roles” having worked with Eric Clapton, Ron Wood, Keith Richards, Hank Marvin of The Shadows, Joe Walsh and the Eagles, Yusef Islam, AC/DC, and Tom Petty, just to name a few.
Also, part of this slide show highlighted the wonderful work The Who does in support of the charity they formed: “The Who Cares – Teen Cancer America.” Founded by Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, this amazing charity helps fund specialized state-of-the art ‘youth-focused’ programs and facilities specifically designed to meet the needs of teens and young adults with cancer ranging in age from 13 – 24 years old.
The opening act, Reignwolf took the stage at 8pm. Personally, I’d never heard of this “indie rock” band, which, in my opinion, was more like “alternative rock.” They are opening for select dates throughout the tour.
The real excitement began around 8:30pm when The Who took the stage along with a full orchestra. The band came out first, followed by Roger and Pete…but they didn’t just walk out on-stage LOL. Pete kinda limps along up onstage, almost hunched over like an old, decrepit, man. Roger sort of prods him along, chuckling at him and the show begins! This was truly a spectacular evening. I enjoyed the banter between Roger and Pete from the opening moments and as it continued throughout the evening. At one- point Pete jokingly said, “We have a bunch of new songs we wrote in our 20’s and we woke up in our 70’s and said hey kids, we’ve got a new song.” Lol…and they played a new song from the upcoming album, “Hero Ground Zero.”
This show was such a treat. What an amazing lineup of musicians. In May, The Who practiced for a week in West Palm Beach – the members of the orchestra were local and hand-selected. What an incredible crew!! Their great touring band features the one and only Katie Jacoby, who killed it on violin as she rocked that stage (not only did she play violin, but is the librarian and leader of the orchestra, and also has toured with Roger Daltrey and has worked with others including but not limited to Joe Russo’s Almost Dead (JRAD), Foreigner, Debbie Harry, Miley Cyrus, The Showdown Kids and others).
The band also includes Zak Starkey, he is one bad ass drummer (son of the incomparable Ringo Starr), Loren Gold on keys/backing vocals –(who has also been touring with Daltrey since 2009 & The Who since 2012 among many others including Kenny Loggins and serves as musical director for Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato), Billy Nichols is on backing vocals (was also the Musical Director for Pete Townshend’s Deep End Concerts 1985, and 1986 for Rockpalast, 1993 ‘Psychoderelict’ USA tour Life house Chronicles stage and studio; The Who 1989 World Tour, 1994 Roger Daltrey’s tour of America, and The Who’s ‘Quadrophenia’ World Tour 1996 / 1997) Jon Button on bass (toured with Roger Daltrey, Sheryl Crow, Shakira & others); and the incomparable Simon Townshend on guitar, mandolin, and backing Vocals (Pete’s younger brother who has been with The Who since 1996 and has his own recording label and 6 of his own released CDs )
Leading the symphonic orchestra on this tour in none other than renowned composer and conductor, Keith Levenson, he has led symphonies including The Boston Pops, The Chicago Symphony and The Cleveland Orchestra. He has conducted and created arrangements for other bands including KISS, Meatloaf, Alice Cooper, Yes, The British Rock Symphony, Peter Frampton, Paul Rodgers, Darlene Love and Nigel Kennedy among many others. He serves as both the coordinator and conductor of The Who Moving On Symphonic Tour.
Having seen The Who’s 50th tour – -I was super excited to experience their energy yet again. This orchestral show was outstanding: the sound, the lights, the voices, the vibe, and the crowd were all in concert, it was such an incredible performance. There were so many memorable moments for me: Katie Jacoby owned that stage during her solo during Baba O’Riley. I met Katie back in 2016 at a show at the Brooklyn Bowl and have seen her numerous times performing at NYC venues. This time was just different…front and center with this legendary band gave her the spotlight she deserves. I had the opportunity to chat and ask her a few questions about being on tour with the iconic band. …and for those of you who don’t believe that dreams really do come true… just ask Katie Jacoby.
LMNR Sharon Budman: Katie, It seems like this was a bucket list item for you…first with Roger Daltrey on the Solo tour and now with The Who. I’m sure there are many memorable – and those “pinching yourself moments” – do any in particular stand out?
Katie: “There are so many memorable moments; it’s astounding. Some highlights include this summer’s packed Wembley Stadium show, two nights at MSG this year, playing “Baba O’Riley” at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia wearing a Bryce Harper Jersey, and Fenway Park in Boston the other week. I love baseball, so the ballpark shows are particularly special for me.”
LMNR Sharon Budman: What makes playing with The Who so special for you?
Katie: “This whole experience has been completely and utterly surreal. I think it’s something that I’m going to be continuing to process for the rest of my life. The sheer power and force of the band is astounding. The power of The Who’s music and the effect it has on people is just as astounding. An arena full of people transported by the lyrics and melodies is a beautiful thing. When the audience sings along to tunes like “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Who Are You,” and “5:15” there’s so much spirit and life in the air. Then of course all the lighters and cell phones come out for “Behind Blue Eyes.” I’ve been so
inspired by the level of emotion and honesty in both the songs and performances.
I adored The Who growing up, and even won my high school’s battle of the bands while playing “Baba O’Riley.” It’s unbelievable to me that I’m playing with The Who 15 years later. Pete’s guitar solos delve into the deepest places, and Roger’s voice is soaring. There are windmills and swinging microphone antics galore. I’m still in shock during every concert.”
Later in the evening, I bumped into another friend of mine…Matt Villa, who is the band director at Scheck Hillel Community School, who was there with his dad and seeing “The Who” for the first time. I asked him what he thought of the show. He responded, “As a fellow musician and music educator, I hope I can keep going at that high-level of musicianship when I am even near their age. The vocals were incredible and the balance between “The Who” and the orchestra was ‘on point.’ The orchestra was very impressive, extremely well balanced, in tune and in sync with “The Who …and that lead violin player was nothing short of spectacular; I would go see her in concert.” (Of course, I second that emotion; me too!) He then expressed that he really enjoyed how much energy she (Katie Jacoby) had when she did the solo… and how she was able to transfer her energy – it felt like she had been playing with them for many years.”
As for myself, as an avid concert goer, I must say that I was quite impressed by the humbleness of both Roger and Pete as they spoke to the audience. They were most gracious! They actually thanked people for their time – acknowledging the effort that they knew it took to be there including the ticket price, cost of babysitters, parking etc. Frankly, I cannot recall any artist that I’ve seen recently actually acknowledge and address the audience this way. Yes, they all thank you for coming but these words
were more than the required “thank you.”
They also acknowledged the effort that the musicians on stage (mostly local in the orchestra) put into learning their instruments since childhood which got them to where they were today on that stage with The Who.
I cannot even imagine what it would feel like to actually be on tour with such an iconic rock band but certainly seems like a dream come true for many who were on that stage tonight. I am in awe of all of the talented musicians that were on that stage. The happy crowd was incredibly spirited and very much into the performance. We were treated to an amazing, high energy show. The voices of Roger and Pete were strong and, while the orchestra took a break mid-show and left the stage, these guys did not. They gave us their all. They rocked the BB&T center. I hope that if I’m lucky enough to one day live that long, that I have half the amount of energy and stamina that they do! Just so awesome. LONG LIVE ROCK and LONG LIVE ROGER DALTREY AND PETE TOWNSHEND!!
Sadly, just 5 days after this fabulous show, something went terribly wrong during the first set of the Houston show on September 25th. Roger unfortunately lost his voice. It was first thought that it was allergies (ragweed), but we later learned that he came down with bronchitis and was unable to even speak. The Who announced the cancellation of the Houston, Denver, and Dallas shows. All tickets will be honored for the shows that are expected to be rescheduled in the spring of 2020. Refunds are also available through Ticketmaster for those wishing to return their tickets.
We’re Not Gonna Take It
Who Are You
Imagine a Man
Hero Ground Zero – (from the upcoming album)
I Can See for Miles
Won’t Get Fooled Again (acoustic; Roger & Pete only)
Behind Blue Eyes (with violin and cello accompaniment)
Ball and Chain – (from the upcoming album)
The Real Me
Love Reign O’er Me