The Who closes its 2012-2013 52-date Quadrophenia & More Tour tonight (July 8th), with a hometown gig at London's Wembley Arena. The tour -- which was primarily produced by Roger Daltrey -- showcased the most advanced live production of the band's crowning artistic achievement, the 1973 Pete Townshend-written rock opera Quadrophenia.
In addition to the official dates on the tour, the Who played two major charitable benefits at the end of its two respective North American legs; the star-studded 12-12-12 concert for Hurricane Sandy Relief at New York's Madison Square Garden, and the February 28th Who Cares benefit concert in New York City with Elvis Costello & The Imposters. The concert, held at Manhattan's Theater at Madison Square Garden, raised over $1.6 million for the Teen Cancer America Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
Pete Townshend told us that Quadrophenia was never intended to be an easy listen, with it's lead character, "Jimmy," facing very real changes in drastic way: "He cast off religion, family, work, politics -- and of course, rock n' roll. He cast off everything -- the Mod movement, fashion, girls, the lot. And he ends up in a very bereft place. But it's a new beginning for him. So, although it's not a proper symphonic-through, composed piece of work, it's as close as I'm ever gonna get in my entire life.'
With Roger Daltrey essentially acting as Townshend's voice on his three major extended Who works -- Tommy, Lifehouse, and Quadrophenia, we asked him if there's any difference in how he preps for the different pieces in concert: "Same. I mean, I just listen to the words of the song and (I) sang it as an actor. As an actor playing the part of a guy he was trying to portray within his music. I often sang them very differently than he imagined them sung."
Although Quadrophenia is largely seen as Pete Townshend's baby -- when it comes to the live performances, Townshend told us that it's pretty much all down to Roger Daltrey: "To some extent the Quadrophenia concert version that we do is very much his show. Y'know, I'm a sideman, I sing a couple of songs and I play a bit of guitar, but y'know, he's onstage for the whole thing. He has to carry it, he has to tell the story, he has to integrate with the story on screen. He wrote that story that's on screen -- or he modified my story. So, it's important he should feel right about it and I think he's gotten to a place where he feels confident."