Night 1 of 2.
One of rock’s most iconic and recognizable frontman took over the stage Monday night at the intimate, 1500-seat Avalon Ballroom located inside Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Canada.
Roger Daltrey, singer and co-founder of The Who, played the first of two sold out solo shows on Nov. 6 as part of a tour dubbed A Quick Run (While Pete’s Away) Tour. He and his band started the tour in Florida with three shows before coming over to the honeymoon capital of the world to play the last two shows of his short jaunt.
Just after 8:30 p.m. Daltrey, now 73 years old, walked onto the stage with a cup in hand and got the night underway with the Tommy Overture followed by three Who classics: Pinball Wizard, I Can See For Miles and Behind Blue Eyes. This was followed by Giving It All Away, a song written by British songwriter Leo Sayer, which became Daltrey’s first solo hit in 1973 while The Who was on a hiatus and Townshend was “in the middle of writing Quadrophenia.
“I was kind of sitting on my ass, he was sitting on his ass. He was writing. I don’t do well sitting on my ass,” Daltrey told the crowd. It was during this time when Sayer asked Daltrey to use his recording studio and wrote a bunch of songs including Giving It All Away, one of 10 songs written in a week.
While The Who‘s career has spanned over 50 years, Daltrey has managed to put out eight solo albums during that time. He played three other songs from his solo works including Without Your Love off his 4th solo album McVicar (1980) and Days of Light off his 8th solo album Rocks In the Head (1980), a song he describes as a “blue collar song”.
“I remember those days in the factory with fondness. Four years I did sheet metal work from the age of 15 to the age of 19,” he told fans, saying he quit that job just before his 19th birthday to play music full-time and “became professional” joining a band he thought would “make it” (“And thank God they did!” he quipped)
Monday night’s setlist also included a few covers: Blueberry Hill by Fats Domino (who passed away two weeks ago on Oct. 24), Summertime Blues by Eddie Cochran and Young Man Blues by Mose Allison – an American jazz and blues pianist, singer, and songwriter who passed away last November.
Other Who classics throughout the night included Who Are You, Baba O’Riley and other great gems rarely played live by The Who including Athena and Going Mobile (off Who’s Next). One song noticeably missing was Won’t Get Fooled Again.
But overall, it was great night backed by the Roger Daltrey Band. The band, with the exception of drummer Scott Devours, also happens to be the touring band for The Who, which includes Frank Simes (lead guitar), Jon Button (bass), Loren Gold (keyboards) and Pete Townshend’s younger brother Simon Townshend (guitar and vocals). Simon sang lead vocals on Going Mobile.
Zak Starkey, who has drummed with The Who since 1996, doesn’t tour in Daltrey’s solo band. (“I can’t afford him!” Daltrey joked.) Starkey is the son of Beatles‘ drummer Ringo Starr and has also played with Oasis.
And the night didn’t go without its problems. During Baba O’Riley Daltrey couldn’t hear through his ear piece and stopped the band. “I can’t hear it…can you turn the beat down please?” he asked, seeming a bit agitated. “Let’s start it again!” Baba O’Riley was played again from the beginning.
Another problem occurred just before the last song of the night was about to be played when power on stage went out, including Gold’s keyboard. Daltrey joked that the casino “didn’t pay their electricity bill” and was going to end the night right there but before that happened, power came back on and the show continued ending the night with a new track called Always Heading Home from Daltrey’s upcoming solo album.
It had been a busy year for The Who. They played the entire Tommy for charity back in March and for the first time in their 50-plus years The Who toured South America, which ended just five weeks ago, as the supporting act for Guns N’ Roses who Daltrey described as a “great bunch of guys”.
The Who may be going back on the road again for what could be their last tour. In the meantime, seeing Daltrey and his band up close in an intimate setting and hearing Daltrey’s stories made for an unforgettable night for those in attendance.
Roger Daltrey and his band play their second, and last show, of the tour on Wed. Nov. 8 at the Avalon Ballroom.
To see who else is coming to the Avalon Ballroom click here.
Overture (The Who cover)
Pinball Wizard (The Who cover)
I Can See for Miles (The Who cover)
Behind Blue Eyes (The Who cover)
Giving It All Away (Leo Sayer cover)
Another Tricky Day (The Who cover)
Athena (The Who cover)
Who Are You (The Who cover)
Days of Light
Going Mobile (The Who cover)
How Many Friends (The Who cover)
It’s Not Enough (The Who cover)
Blueberry Hill (Fats Domino cover)
Dreaming From the Waist (The Who cover)
Naked Eye (The Who cover)
Without Your Love
Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochran cover)
Baba O’Riley (The Who cover)
Young Man Blues (Mose Allison cover)
Always Heading Home (New song from upcoming solo album)
All photos by Joel Naphin
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