Brian Kehew's Backstage Blog

Roger Daltrey performs Tommy: Tanglewood, MA, June 15, 2018

The Koussevitzky Music Shed, Tanglewood, Lenox MA

June 15, 2018

Ah, Tanglewood. The place has a seriously long history of upscale events for the arts; concerts and dance of all kinds have been here. For us, there are the fabulous two shows in 1970 when The Who were doing ‘serious’ venues to play their new rock opera. And most-recently when Pete was here with Classic Quadrophenia. I gave you a report from that first show of his tour…

It’s a gorgeous hilly area, green everywhere. This is ‘the shed’ – which has become a nickname for any outdoor venue that has a roof over the seating area. They are all over the country now. Usually there is a grass area without cover, and you bring blankets and chairs to sit on the lawn and risk the weather. No danger today – it’s gorgeous; perfect weather.

Our orchestra is similar to the one Pete had, members of the Boston Pops, from over two hours east of here. If there are more than 50% of them, it’s called The Boston Pops and less than 50% (using hired contract union musicians) – it’s called something related – but we don’t know the count. Whatever – these are all excellent players, the best we’ve had so far.
The space is small, we lose about 30% of stage from what we’ve had before, so it’s quite tight. Trouble for all, in setting up, but the sound is better as everyone can hear and be heard. They’ve also designed it acoustically to reflect and enhance the sound with screens and baffles – and it works. The sound is bigger and fatter than the wide-open stages we were on before.

To match, we have somehow garnered the best audience of the tour so far, and I suspect this one will be hard to beat. They stand and dance, wave their arms in the air. Sing along – all the good stuff. It certainly buoys the performers, and Roger especially. I did not notice a significant change in the output from the stage – on a recording this one may sound very much like the others, but the audience’s mood really was the best part, and it made everyone feel strong.

At the end, Roger took a long, long time walking across the lip of the stage shaking the crowd’s hands, something he rarely does. (I remember his solo outing at the famous Ryman Auditorium in Nashville – where he spent the better part of 10 minutes shaking hands at the end!) It’s a sign of an exceptionally good mood!

(I looked up the old Tanglewood ’70 films [check YouTube] and Roger is doing just amazing work now even compared to his 20-year-old self! I always look forward to his ‘Eyesight To The Blind’; it is INCREDIBLE nowadays… find a clip online and see!! and when he yells “Yeah!” after “Tommy doesn’t know what day it is”, some great vocal moments we relish.)

And then, without warning, long after we started packing up AND the audience had long gone, he popped back out again (which NEVER happens) and Rog shook a few more hands of the nine or 10 stragglers who were still around!? I don’t know how he knew they were there, or why security hadn’t booted them out as they always do, but he certainly made quite a few of the “punters” (British slang for general audience members) more than happy to have seen this night tonight.

Photographer William Snyder was along for the night. He’s become the favorite photographer of The Who over many years now, and his first book of Who stuff is now released and looks amazing – have you ordered it yet? Definitely the best book of second-era Who photos I’ve seen. He’s sent us his photos of the Tanglewood event. His are always better than mine and capturing quality and moments I never could . . . Thanks, Bill.



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