Brian Kehew's Backstage Blog

Roger Daltrey performs Tommy: Bethel Woods, NY, June 8, 2018

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel NY
June 8, 2018


Very pleased to report the first show of the tour has happened, and it was a resounding success… forgive me for making this a fairly brief report, but we’re all exhausted!

This is a tricky show to put together. Last summer, Pete’s tour of Classic Quadrophenia happened (also to great response) but it involved only an orchestral backing and Pete on acoustic guitar. Roger’s tour incorporates the full rock band (most of The Who musicians) and also the orchestra. This means a lot more set-up time, cables, monitor and mixing issues – the works. Yes, we’ve had nearly a week to put it together. But until show day, today, we didn’t know for sure if it would come off as planned. It started as a huge challenge, and I often joke that it sounds like a Tourettes Convention onstage as we try to set up.

I will commend everyone involved, especially Keith Levenson conducting the local Hudson Valley Philharmonic – local players hired for this very show. Keith had to work on performance aspects in only a very brief time with the orchestra (it’s INCREDIBLY expensive to pay them all, and union limitations severely tie one’s hands when dealing with hours and options.) In addition, our sound crew had to deal with about a zillion last-minute requests for various things all week, and we are not in a city – far from even any kind of electronic or audio store. So much to do, and they managed to pull it off, as they always do; the hardest-working part of our team.

I think the audience was pleasantly surprised, and you’ll get more details as the show tours this next month! We were joined by a talented violinist, Katie Jacoby, who played the classic violin solo at the end of ‘Baba O’Riley’ live onstage to close the show. (Yeah – Roger gives you more than just the Tommy bit!) Katie’s story is special, as many years ago The Who were playing Philadelphia and she boldly wrote in to management that she had been playing the ‘Baba’ part live since high school and would love to join our band onstage. Sadly, nothing came of it – as with most requests, they may not even get through. Yet here tonight, she is a master musician, with a smile to light up the biggest arena – and really brought a magic moment to that wonderful track we all know. “She plays all the notes I WISH I could with my harmonica!” Roger exclaimed. (True – but no one realizes how hard it is to play ON harmonica, and Roger nails it every night!)

One sad note today (and a Who trivia piece): Danny Kirwan, one of the founding members of the original Fleetwood Mac, has just passed away. I mention it in that he was an incredible guitarist and writer who is largely forgotten by the world, but there is a true connection to The Who: I was discussing old Fleetwood Mac with Pete a while back – especially Danny (who was always seen in the shadow of the brilliant Peter Green.) Pete said that he’d loved Danny’s great riff from Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Station Man’ and it inspired the final guitar riff right before the ending power chords of ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’: Look it up and listen, and you’ll hear that Danny lives on in one of rock’s greatest anthems… R.I.P.



It’s a Boy
Amazing Journey
Eyesight to the Blind
Cousin Kevin
The Acid Queen
Do You Think It’s Alright?
Fiddle About
Pinball Wizard
There’s a Doctor
Go to the Mirror!
Tommy Can You Hear Me?
Smash the Mirror
I’m Free
Miracle Cure
Sally Simpson
Tommy’s Holiday Camp
We’re Not Gonna Take It
See Me, Feel Me

Who Are You
Baba O’Riley
Always Heading Home