Roger Daltrey Shares His 3 Favorite The Who Performances
Roger Daltrey for CBS - CBS Sunday Morning / Youtube
Roger Daltrey, The Who’s lead singer, reflected on select gigs that had a lasting impression on him throughout the course of the band’s nearly 60-year tenure.
In a recent interview with Vulture, Daltrey reflected on the band’s most memorable performances, including their appearance on a Rolling Stones television special in 1968, Woodstock (which he called “underwhelming”), and the concert the band gave in New York City after the 9-11 attacks.
1968: The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus
The Who performed on the Dec. 11-12, 1968, episode of the Rolling Stones’ television spectacular Rock and Roll Circus. Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, and Ronnie Lane (of the Who and the Small Faces) came up with the idea of holding the concert in a circus setting to promote the Rolling Stones’ then-new album, Beggars Banquet. Artists such as Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell, and Keith Richards of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, as well as John Lennon and Yoko Ono with their one-off supergroup The Dirty Mac, performed for the show.
“[It] was a fun one,” Daltrey said. “It was a weird day, really. We turned up in the morning at this studio near the area in London where we grew up. I remember thinking, ‘What is all this about? Jethro Tull is here, too?’”
1969: Woodstock Festival
On August 16, 1969, only a few months after releasing their landmark album, Tommy, The Who performed a 22-song set at the Woodstock festival. “We got along great with all of the musicians,” Daltrey explained. “It was party time, but it was uncomfortable. It was horrible, muddy, and sh**ty, and there wasn’t a good sound from the stage. My main memory of the bands was that was the first time I heard Creedence Clearwater Revival with John Fogerty. I was backstage, but boy, did they sound good. Fogerty was extraordinary. He’s a great guy. He still can sing like that.”
He added: “As an event, it deserves all the accolades it gets. Woodstock was the first time the American government really had to sit up and start to take notice of this huge army of young people that were really against the war in Vietnam. You’ve got to remember the timing. For me, the stars of Woodstock were the audience and the bands were all crap.”
2001: The Concert for New York City
Daltrey claimed that The Concert for New York City, which took place only 39 days after the September 11 attacks, was the most emotionally taxing event he had ever performed. On October 20, 2001, a benefit concert was held at Madison Square Garden to raise money and pay tribute to the New York City Police Department and the New York City Fire Department, their families, the victims of the attacks, and those who continued to work in rescue and recovery at the World Trade Center site weeks after the concert.
“It was very difficult,” Daltrey expressed. “Looking out at that audience of people who had a hellish time for weeks on end. There were children in the audience of some of the people that had been killed on 9-11. It was incredibly poignant.”
He then added: “At the time, I actually didn’t think we played very well. It was only afterward that everybody was raving about The Who. I don’t know, I felt we just did what we do. We did discuss what we should play, but we couldn’t agree. Pete [Townshend] said, ‘Let’s just do what we do, which is play our songs.’ And we picked four. It was so strong.”