Roger Daltrey performing “Tommy” with The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia – The Mann Center – Philadelphia, PA – 6/19/18

An introduction isn’t needed for the likes of Roger Daltrey, if you weren’t aware, the lead singer of The Who is one of the most influential, larger than life, charismatic front man out there.  From the time The Who started to now, Roger Daltrey is a one of a kind, and it is rare to see another one like him come around.  After battling and over coming meningitis a few years ago, one might think that Roger would stop touring and playing music altogether, but that isn’t the case.  This year would be a big year for Roger and The Who legacy.  Roger Daltrey would release his new soul infused solo album called As Long As I Have You, and embark on a tour performing The Who’s Tommy with a local orchestra from each city and some members of The Who’s touring band.  Having Tommy being performed with an backing orchestra isn’t an original concept, but having a different backing orchestra each date adds a special touch to the performance.

Tommy was released 49 years ago, but the initial writing happened 50 years ago.  The album was a ballsy move for The Who, but The Who always did everything outside the traditional music industry way.  Tommy was The Who’s forth album and instead of releasing just a batch of new songs, The Who released a rock opera.  It would go on to spawn a film, Broadway play, and be veered as a breakthrough album for The Who and with it being almost 50 years old, it still holds up today.

Accompanying Roger Daltrey was The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and from “Overture” to “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, the orchestra brought Tommy to life.  Roger Daltrey was all smiles as he walked out on stage and sang each song blissfully with Pete Townshend’s brother Simon singing Pete’s parts.  If you closed your eyes, you’d thought Pete was on stage.  The crowd sang back each song almost as loud as Roger, and I don’t know what it was like when Tommy was performed years ago, I am only 31, but seeing the formation of the album and the loudness of the crowd singing, it was an experience words can’t describe.

In true Who fashion, after performing Tommy Roger didn’t leave to come back, but did go into playing three more songs.  The first song was The Who’s “Who Are You” where Roger performed with guitar followed by the crowd favorite “Baba O’Riley” where violinist Katie Jacoby took over the solo at the end of the song and did a phenomenal job.  The last song was off Roger’s latest solo album As Long As I Have You, which is called “Always Heading Home”.  A piano driven song that closed the night showcasing the excellence of Roger’s voice.  Having witnessed The Who live twice in their later years and feeling blown away by those performances, seeing Tommy in this setting with an orchastra can’t be compared to.  It isn’t certain this will happen again after this tour, but if it does make it a top priority to see.

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