Roger Daltrey says the Who will launch its final world tour in 2015 in celebration of the band's 50th anniversary. Daltrey reiterated to Rolling Stone that he and Pete Townshend are far from retiring the brand after the still-unannounced dates wrap up, explaining, "We aren't finishing after that. We intend to go on doing music until we drop, but. . . the touring is incredibly grinding on the body and we have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. This will be the last old-fashioned, big tour. . . Our anniversary is actually right now. We were the Who 50 years ago this month. To us, 2015 is just another year."
Daltrey said that the upcoming tour will feature a hits-based setlist, despite die-hards longtime calls for deeper album cuts to be featured in the band's sets: "People don't want new stuff. The fans might want that, but most people that want to come to a show want to hear what they grew up with. Let's not kid ourselves. We will always sell more tickets if we play the hits. That's a fact. The economics of the road, obviously, demand that you sell a lot of tickets. It's easy for fans to stick their heads in the sand and not understand the economics of touring. It's incredibly expensive to put on a show, so you have to put bums in seats. There might be 40,000 total people in America who want to hear 'Slip Kid.' That won't be enough to put us on the road. That's the problem."
When pressed about any new material from the band, who haven't released anything since 2006's Endless Wire album, Daltrey said that new material might be performed in a different type of venue to the Who's usual arena shows: "We're hoping to do an album. If we play any of those songs, we'll have to do them in separate shows and announce that ahead of time. If people want to buy those tickets in great numbers, fabulous. Maybe that means sitting down in a theater for a couple of weeks. That means you travel to once place, but you're stationed there. You aren't touring. It's the touring, the schlepping, that kills you. The music is a joy. The two hours on stage every night is a joy, even though it's incredibly strenuous. The schlepping and changing hotels every day, that can become incredibly hard work."
Roger Daltrey wasn't specific about what type of experimental shows the Who might undertake, but a while back he gave us a thumbnail sketch of where the band could find themselves after the next world tour: "Die-hard Who fans think that six nights at Radio City (Music Hall) playing our obscurer stuff would be a huge success -- it might not. Y'know, I'd like to do, indeed I'd like to do, an acoustic set somewhere, y'know do 'Imagine A Man,' and maybe do a question and answer thing with an audience. So it's a totally different type of show; 40 minutes and then do a 40 minute chat, question and answer and talk to the audience. It could be a lot of fun and I think it could make a very interesting night out."
Pete Townshend told us that a prolonged string of residencies would be the ideal situation for the Who at this stage of the game: "I've no idea where would be right for it. I would like very much to do what we call 'sit downs' -- y'know, to go into a city and spend a couple of weeks. The problem is that Roger can't do more than two shows in a row. So this means, y'know, that we can't really lock out a theater because we will be paying for dead time all the time. The two days on you would lose the money on day three. So we have to tour it. And I would much prefer to just sit in a city and get to know the local restaurants and have an easy time. But I think, y'know, touring is what we do, so we can do it, I'm sure it'll be fine."
On July 8th, the Who wrapped its 54-date 2012-2013 Quadrophenia & More Tour at London's Wembley Arena.
Photo Courtesy of Rick Diamond