The kids are alright--if a little grayer--and ready to rock again.
The Who has announced plans to take to the road for the seminal British band's first full-blown world tour in more than 20 years.
Guitarist and principal songwriter Pete Townshend and frontman Roger Daltrey, the Who's only surviving original members, are scheduled to kick off the North American leg on Sept. 12 at Philadelphia's Wachovia Center.
The tour is currently scheduled to make 17 stops across the U.S. and Canada before finishing up on Dec. 4 at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, though more dates are expected to be announced. The Who will then head overseas for concerts in Europe, Japan, Australia and South America.
No doubt pleasing hardcore fans, the legendary group promises to play tracks from a new mini-rock opera called Wire & Glass that will be featured on Who 2, the Who's first studio album since 1982's It's Hard, which is set to hit stores on Oct. 23.
"For the first time in 25 years we are returning to the U.S.A. with great live music--the entire catalogue of our old stuff--and new music. We have a great new video show, a new mini-opera and plans to do some special shows with special themes," said the 61-year-old Townshend in a statement.
In announcing the jaunt via satellite from Berlin, Townshend and Daltrey played a brief acoustic set that included the classic "Won't Get Fooled Again" along with a song from the new disc called "Mike Post Theme."
As for those special shows, Townshend hinted they might very well break out full-throttle renditions of Tommy and Quadrophenia. The Who is also considering more intimate ways to connect with devotees, perhaps booking smaller venues and playing a number of rare tracks in addition to the usual suspects like "My Generation," "Magic Bus," "Who Are You" and "Behind Blue Eyes."
The Who has been playing one-off shows and mini-tours for the past 24 years, including at last year's historic Live 8, but hasn't mounted a full-scale world tour. This will be the first since the cocaine-fueled death of bassist John Entwistle in 2002. Drummer Keith Moon died of an accidental overdose in 1978.
Townshend and Daltrey will be backed by longtime session players Pino Palladino on bass, John "Rabbit" Bundrick on keyboards, Zak Starkey on drums, and Townshend's younger brother, Simon, on guitar and vocals. The band just wrapped a series of lauded warm-up gigs in Europe.
"We will be in great form when we start the tour in September," Pete Townshend said. "Roger and I are both fit and well, ready to rock."
"Pete and I are really excited to be returning to the U.S. with some brand new music to play," Daltrey, 62, chimed in. "We're looking forward to reconnecting with our American fans and hopefully seeing some new ones coming along too."
While the band has released several compilation albums in recent years, coming up with new material has been tough. Townshend first announced plans for a new Who studio album back in 1999 and again in 2003, but nothing ever panned out.
Apparently, the inspiration's back. Tickets for a number of North American dates go on sale July 17, with presale packages available online at thewhotour.com. Here's a rundown of the itinerary:
Sept. 12--Wachovia Center, Philadelphia Sept. 13--Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, New York Sept. 15--Scotiabank Place, Ottaway Sept. 16--TD Banknorth Garden, Boston Sept. 18--Madison Square Garden, New York Sept. 21--PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, New Jersey Sept. 25--Chicago IL @ United Center, Chicago Sept. 29--Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit Sept. 30--John Labatt Center, London, Ontario Oct. 3--MTS Centre, Winnipeg Oct. 5--Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary Oct. 6--Rexall Place, Edmonton Oct. 8--GM Place, Vancouver Oct. 10--Rose Garden, Portland Oct. 11--Key Arena, Seattle Nov. 5--Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles Dec. 4--Air Canada Centre, Toronto