There were hardly any Who die-hards complaining last night (October 30th) during Roger Daltrey’s solo tour kickoff at Clearwater, Florida’s Ruth Eckerd Hall. Daltrey’s show featured the live premiere of the Who’s 1975 Who By Numbers classic “How Many Friends” and 2006’s Endless Wire single, “It’s Not Enough.” Daltrey also resurrected two early-’80s Who favorites — the Face Dances masterpiece “Another Tricky Day,” which was last tackled live in 2004; and the legendary It’s Hard opener, “Athena” — which got its last live airing 35 years ago this week.
As usual, the mini-tour features Daltrey backed by his regular solo musicians, No Plan B — who now comprise nearly all of the Who’s official touring band — minus Pete Townshend. The solo trek is being dubbed “A Quick Run (While Pete’s Away)” and features keyboardist and Who musical director Frank Simes on lead guitar and Scott Devours — who drummed for the Who during their recent Quadrophenia And More tour handling drum duties instead of Zak Starkey. Rounding out the solo band is Simon Townshend — Pete Townshend’s kid brother and longtime Who and Daltrey sideman. Also on board is bassist Jon Button and keyboardists Loren Gold and John Corey.
Daltrey told us that his relationship with Simon Townshend is so tight, that he actually considers him to be family. Simon, who’s 15 years younger than Pete, has been a constant in the Who’s live shows since 2002, and has backed Daltrey on the road for years. Simon handles his brother’s vocal parts throughout the show, and even takes a solo spotlight on the Who’s Next romp, “Going Mobile” — a tune the Who have never attempted live.
Roger Daltrey explained that his connection with Simon goes far deeper than just being bandmates: “I’ve always had a close relationship with Simon since he was a little boy. He was Pete’s brother, and he used to be ’round my house all the time. He was a real Who fan. And he’s been in my band since — well, every time I’ve had a solo band, he’s been in it. And I actually call him my brother (laughs). It’s totally unconditional, I mean, he’s great vibes. I mean, he knows the music so well.”
November 1 – Hollywood, FL – Hard Rock Live
November 3 – Saint Augustine, FL – St. Augustine Amphitheatre
November 6, 8 – Niagara Falls, ON – Fallsview Casino
Photo Courtesy of Atlantic Records