Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

The Who Tour 1996–1997

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Start date  29 June 1996
No. of shows  72
Associated album  Quadrophenia
Legs  7
End date  August 16, 1997
Leg  7

The Who Tour 1996–1997 was The Who's second tour promoting their 1973 album, Quadrophenia, and their first tour since 1989.



Having worked on the remastering of Quadrophenia in 1996, Pete Townshend was inspired to finally perform the complete rock opera as he had always hoped to hear it played, with a full band including a horn section, keyboards, and backing vocals. Initially agreeing to perform as a solo artist at a special charity event for The Prince's Trust on 29 June in Hyde Park, London, Townshend ultimately requested his former bandmates Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle join for the performance, the first time they had played a show together since 1989. With Townshend playing only acoustic guitar, supporting musicians included longtime keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick, Townshend's brother Simon on rhythm and lead guitar, and drummer Zak Starkey (son of Beatle Ringo Starr and a one-time friend of Keith Moon). The group were also joined by veteran British rock sideman Geoff Whitehorn on lead guitar and keyboardist Jon Carin, who had toured with Pink Floyd in their post-Roger Waters incarnation and worked with Townshend on some solo appearances in April–May 1996; a five-piece horn section, backup singers, and percussionist Jody Linscott rounded out the band. The Hyde Park show also featured special guest David Gilmour, who sang and played lead guitar on "The Dirty Jobs" and played lead guitar on "Love, Reign o'er Me". Meanwhile, Phil Daniels, who had portrayed the lead character Jimmy in the film version of the rock opera, served as narrator for the show, while various actors and singers played other parts in the story. Among these was Gary Glitter in the role of the Godfather...and who inadvertently struck Daltrey in the eye with a microphone stand during rehearsals, forcing the frontman to wear an eyepatch (fittingly adorned with a mod-inspired target logo) during the show. Although Townshend later spoke unfavorably about the Hyde Park performance, it was successful enough to encourage the band to do a run of six shows at New York City's Madison Square Garden in July, billed under the three Who members' individual names instead of as The Who. These dates featured the same basic line-up (minus Gilmour), with the notable addition of Billy Idol portraying the Ace Face. In addition to the main attraction of Quadrophenia, an encore each night included familiar songs such as "Behind Blue Eyes", "Naked Eye", and a stripped-down, acoustic version of "Won't Get Fooled Again" performed only by Townshend, Daltrey, and Entwistle. There was a live radio broadcast of the July 18th show.

With the New York dates well-received, the group (now billed as The Who) took Quadrophenia on a 25-date tour of North America in the fall, this time featuring pre-recorded narration by the Jimmy character (portrayed by Alex Langdon) on the video screen, helping to explain the story. The band was streamlined slightly for the tour, with only Townshend and his brother Simon on guitar; Townshend gradually began playing more electric guitar as the tour wore on, with one of the show's highlights occurring during "The Rock" when he would switch to electric and begin playing the song's lead guitar harmonies along with his brother. Daltrey also contributed some acoustic guitar, playing the beginning of "Who Are You" unaccompanied before the rest of the band joined. Three dates in England in December saw P.J. Proby replace Gary Glitter as the Godfather.

1997 brought more Quadrophenia dates, with the group's first European tour since 1975 and another stint in North America in the summer. Townshend played more electric guitar in these performances than in 1996, and the post-Quadrophenia set now included old favourites "I Can't Explain" and "Substitute"; additionally, "The Kids Are Alright" was performed late in the tour, the first time it had appeared in the group's act since 1966. Actor Ben Waters portrayed the Ace Face in the 1997 shows.

The success of these Quadrophenia shows would begin a Who revival, leading to a number of performances in 1999 and numerous tours in subsequent years.

Live Releases

Live material from 1996–1997 appears on the Tommy and Quadrophenia Live DVD, which also includes the show of 24 August 1989 at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. The 1996–1997 segment includes a complete performance of Quadrophenia, plus encores of "Won't Get Fooled Again", "Substitute", "I Can't Explain", "The Kids Are Alright", "Behind Blue Eyes", and "Who Are You". The date(s) of the performances are not listed, but the songs from the encore segment match those performed on the latter part of the 1997 North American tour.

Tour band

  • Roger Daltrey – lead vocals, harmonica, acoustic guitar
  • Pete Townshend – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals
  • John Entwistle – bass guitar, vocals
  • With
  • Zak Starkey – drums
  • John "Rabbit" Bundrick – keyboards, piano
  • Simon Townshend – guitar, vocals
  • Geoff Whitehorn – guitar (until 22 July 1996)
  • Additional musicians
  • Dennis Farias – brass section
  • Simon Gardner – brass section
  • Nick Lane – brass section
  • Neil Sidwell – brass section
  • Roy Wiegand – brass section
  • Jody Linscott – percussion (until 11 December 1996)
  • Billy Nicholls – musical director, backing vocals, percussion (percussion after 11 December 1996)
  • Jon Carin – keyboards, backing vocals, additional percussion (additional percussion after 11 December 1996)
  • Special guests

    1996 Prince's Trust Concert
  • Phil Daniels – Jimmy, the narrator
  • Gary Glitter – The Godfather
  • Adrian Edmondson – The Ace Face
  • Stephen Fry – Hotel Manager
  • Trevor McDonald – Newscaster
  • David Gilmour – guitar and vocals on " The Dirty Jobs" and lead guitar on "Sea and Sand", "Dr. Jimmy", "The Rock", "Love, Reign O'er Me", and "5.15" (reprise)
  • Two unknown female and one unknown male backing singers
  • 1996 First North American Leg
  • Phil Daniels – Jimmy, the narrator
  • Gary Glitter – The Godfather
  • Billy Idol – The Ace Face
  • 1996 Second North American Leg
  • Alex Langdon – Jimmy, the narrator
  • Gary Glitter – The Godfather
  • Billy Idol – The Ace Face
  • 1996 UK Leg
  • Alex Langdon – Jimmy, the narrator
  • P. J. Proby – The Godfather
  • Billy Idol – The Ace Face
  • 1997 European and North American Legs
  • Alex Langdon – Jimmy, the narrator
  • P.J. Proby – The Godfather
  • Ben Waters – The Ace Face
  • Typical set lists

    The main set was mostly the same for the duration of the entire tour, save for a concert in Oslo, Norway on 26 April 1997, where "Substitute" and "I Can't Explain" opened the show before the main Quadrophenia set. The encores usually consisted of an acoustic version of "Won't Get Fooled Again", as well as "Behind Blue Eyes", "Who Are You" (also performed acoustically for the first two verses), and as the tour progressed, two or three other songs (depending on the concert).

    1. "I Am the Sea"
    2. "The Real Me"
    3. "Quadrophenia"
    4. "Cut My Hair"
    5. "The Punk and the Godfather" (with 'The Godfather' guest)
    6. "I'm One"
    7. "The Dirty Jobs" (Simon Townshend on vocals)
    8. "Helpless Dancer"
    9. "Is It in My Head?"
    10. "I've Had Enough" (with all the special guests)
    11. "5.15" (Entwistle extended bass solo)
    12. "Sea and Sand" (with 'The Ace Face' guest)
    13. "Drowned" (Townshend solo acoustic)
    14. "Bell Boy" (with 'The Ace Face' guest)
    15. "Doctor Jimmy"
    16. "The Rock"
    17. "Love, Reign o'er Me"
    18. "Quadrophenia Finale (I'm The Face)" (used to introduce the characters of Jimmy, the Ace Face, and the Godfather)

    Encores (variations of the following list):

  • "Won't Get Fooled Again" (acoustic, occasionally included parts of "Pinball Wizard")
  • Performed in every show except 29 June 1996.
  • "Behind Blue Eyes"
  • Performed in every show except 29 June 1996.
  • "Who Are You" (with acoustic opening)
  • Performed in every show except 29 June; and 16, 17, 18, 20, 21 and 22 July; and 13 October 1996.
  • "Substitute"
  • Performed on 17, 18, 21, 22 July; and 13, 16 and 19 October; and 19 November; and 7 December 1996; and in every 1997 show.
  • "Naked Eye"
  • Performed on 16, 18, 20 and 22 July; and 13, 14 and 22 October; and 7 December 1996; and 25 April and 9 August 1997.
  • "Magic Bus"
  • Performed on 16, 17, 20, 21 and 22 July 1996; and 26 April 31 July and 7 and 10 August 1997.
  • "Boris the Spider" (John Entwistle)
  • Performed on 13 and 14 October 1996.
  • "I Can't Explain"
  • Performed in every 1997 show except 23 and 25 April.
  • "I Can See for Miles"
  • Performed on 26 April 1997.
  • "Dreaming from the Waist"
  • Performed (briefly during Won't Get Fooled Again) on 6 May 1997.
  • "I Walk the Line" (Johnny Cash)
  • Performed on 20 July 1997.
  • "The Last Time" (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards)
  • Performed on 20 July 1997.
  • "A Legal Matter"
  • Performed on 20 July 1997.
  • "The Kids Are Alright"
  • Performed on 3, 5, 6, 7, 10 and 16 August 1997.
  • "It's a Small World" (Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman)
  • Performed (briefly by Roger Daltrey) on 16 August 1997.
  • There were very few set list substitutions, variations, and order switches during the tour, and when they occurred, they were mostly in the encore. A second performance of "5.15" was the lone encore of the concert on 29 June 1996 at the Hyde Park in London, England. Shows on 19 and 20 July 1997 featured versions of "Won't Get Fooled Again" with Townshend on electric guitar instead of acoustic.


    The Who Tour 1996–1997 Wikipedia

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