Daltrey adjusts to life without The Who
I Band will play in Carnegie Hall
tonight and Thursday.
By DAVID HINCKLEY
Knight-Ridder Tribune News Wire
‘.NEW YORK — Two months before Roger Dal-
trey turned 40, The Who broke up.
It was not a great birthday present.
.“I was devastated,” he says. “The band had been
my life since I was 14, and now Pete (Townshend)
said he didn’t want to go on with it. It took me a
long time to adjust to that.”
But adjust he has, a point to be conﬁrmed
tonight and Thursday at Carnegie Hall when Dal-
trey celebrates his 50th birthday with two sold-
out concerts saluting the music of Townshend —
meaning, primarily, the music Townshend wrote
fbr The Who and which was then sung by Daltrey.
“I’ve realized that’s the music I most enjoy
singing,” says Daltrey, who is busy tending to
last-rninute details of a show that will feature
himself, Townshend, Who bassist John Entwistle,
Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, Linda Perry of 4 Non
Blondes, the Spin Doctors, the Irish folk group the
Chieftains and a symphony orchestra — plus a
couple of the proverbial special guests.
Bruce Springsteen has been invited to sing
Won’t Get Fooled Again with Daltrey and Town-
shend, for instance. though Springsteen’s new
baby and the California earthquake may keep him
For those who couldn’t get tickets, the show is
being recorded both for a pay-per-view TV special,
to be seen Saturday, and a record due in May.
Furthermore, Daltrey says he may take versions
of it on the road with different stars and different
“I could be doing this for the next year,” he says.
Interestingly, its roots lie in a more modest en-
deavor: Daltrey’s strikingly reworked version of
Behind Blue Eyes for an acoustic Chieftains show
a couple of years ago. “People told me afterward it
was like they were hearing the song for the ﬁrst
time,” Daltrey says. and so he began to think
about looking at other familiar songs from fresh
“And that,” he says, “was the genesis of this.”
Townshend himself wavered for a time on par-
ticipating, perhaps in part because he has been
publicly resisting another Who reunion like the
1989 tour. Daltrey, who would love to do another
reunion, argues that Townshend has never found
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Roger Daltrey will celebrate his 50th birthday
with two sold-out concerts.
“lt’s gone beyond my wildest
expectations. I can ’t wait to get out
there and sing. ”
Roger Daltrey, singer
another voice, including his own, that delivers
Townshend songs as effectively as Daltrey’s.
As a result, Daltrey says, his relationship with
Townshend has always been intense and close.
“Songs are a very powerful thing. Which is not
to say it’s always been a bed of roses between us.”
Asked whether he thinks Townshend agrees
that Daltrey’s voice brought out the full dimension
of his songs, Daltrey demurs.
“I wouldn’t want to speak for Pete on that. I
don’t know how he feels about it, to be honest.”
What he does know is that he likes this show:
“It’s gone beyond my wildest expectations. I can’t '
wait to get out there and sing.”