Report: The Who Launch 50th Anniversary Tour

With intimate London show...
'Who Hits Fifty' image

One of British music's most iconic names, The Who began as flag-bearers for the Mod movement before helping to pioneer the rock opera.

2014 represents their 50th anniversary, and - to celebrate - the band are set to host a nationwide tour. Returning to the road, the shows are billed as being a truly career-spanning experience, with Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey ransacking the archives.

The Who launched the tour this afternoon (June 30th) with an intimate show at iconic London nightspot Ronnie Scott's. Preceded by a short montage featuring notable highlights from the band's career, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey then blazed through a quick-fire four song set.

Stripping things down to a simple acoustic format, the pair opened with 'Substitute' as Townshend played some intricate 12 string guitar lines. Dalrey's voice retained its evident power, with 'Who's Next' favourite 'Bargain' delivered with no small degree of soul.

Evidently shooting from the hip, the pair's easy-going demeanour and happy-go-lucky stage banter led into a celebratory rendition of Mod anthem 'The Kids Are Alright'.

However the mood quickly dissipated when the guitarist began plucking out the opening lines of 'Won't Get Fooled Again' on six string. Boasting of having done this "once or twice before" the performance still felt fresh, with Daltrey delivering those lines with his trademark - albeit age-worn - sneer.

The songwriting duo then took part in a short Q&A with the assembled crowd, revealing that The Who could well turn this jaunt into an international tour. The pair mused on the rigours of the road and sympathised with Eric Clapton - who recently hinted at potentially retiring from live engagements.

Jocular to the last, Pete Townshend bantered with the journalists present and took a swing at some of the commenters on the Guardian website - describing the rather more cynical, acerbic posters as "c*nts".

Revealing that the format for each show could echo the epic set lists of their 25th anniversary tour, the guitarist also confirmed that he recently sent Roger Daltrey three demos of new material. Continuing, Townshend explained that the pair had sought inspiration in Daltrey's recent back-to-basics style collaborations with Wilko Johnson.

The Who played:

'Substitute'
'Bargain'
'The Kids Are Alright'
'Won't Get Fooled Again'

Full dates for The Who's 'Who Hits Fifty' tour:

November
30 Glasgow SSE Hydro

December
2 Leeds First Direct Arena
5 Nottingham Capital FM Arena
7 Birmingham NIA
9 Newcastle Metro
11 Liverpool Echo Arena
13 Manchester Phones4 U Arena
15 Cardiff Motorpoint
17 London The O2

Tickets go on sale from 9am this Friday (July 4th).

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