Roger Daltrey Newcastle City Hall 13 July 2022

ROGER0This tour was entitled Who Was I? It was announced as: “A special evening of Who classics, rarities, solo hits and fan Q&A. One of the UK’s greatest singers and legendary frontman of The Who is striking out across the UK this November, a return to performing that cannot come soon enough for The Who legend.

“The truth is singers need to sing,” says Roger, “Use it or lose it”. “Throughout my life I have sung with so many great musicians, from the heavy rock of The Who and Wilko Jonson, to the Irish lilt of The ROGER4Chieftains. On this tour I want to take the audience on a musical journey through my career as a singer, with a show of songs and sounds that explores and surprises. I look forward to having closer contact with my audience than festivals and arenas allow. Leaving time to chat. The show, which will comprise a unique mix of music and conversation, is built around Roger’s musical journey and encompasses nearly every style imaginable – including blues, rock, country, soul and metal. [Not sure I agree with you about the metal music, Roger].

ROGER7During the evening he will dig into his incredible back catalogue pulling from his nine solo albums, his album with Wilko Johnson, and even reinterpreting a few Who classics and rarities. This is a show for real music fans and will give a unique insight into how all these great songs came about; what the influences were and where the sounds originated. As with everything Roger does, it will be totally real and authentic and lots of it – a plethora of songs with some questions answered and rock n roll stories along the way – nothing phoned in!”

The tour was eventually postponed because of Covid, but I held onto my ticket and went along to the rescheduled date.

ROGER1I wasn’t sure what time Roger Daltrey started so I arrived early this time. The support act for Roger was American singer-songwriter Leslie Mendelson. For once, I was in time to watch the entire set of a support act and I was pleased that I did. Leslie’s music brought back memories of many different female singer-songwriters. “All Music writes that Leslie evokes “1970s songwriter influences in the vein of Carole King and Carly Simon,” while The Aquarian calls her “the closest thing one can get to a truly honest musical experience.” (From Leslie’s website).

ROGER8Roger’s band for the UK tour was: Simon Townshend on guitar and vocals (Simon is of course well-known as a member of The Who’s wider touring band, Pete’s brother and a long-term member of Roger’s band); Doug Boyle on guitar; Geraint Watkins on keyboards; John Hogg on bass; Jody Linscott, who was simply outstanding on percussion; Billy Nicholls providing backing vocals; Steve Weston on harmonica; Ben Townshend (Simon’s son) on drums; and Katie Jacoby on electric violin. So, although this was Roger’s gig, the links to Pete Townshend and The Who were very clear! Excellent. Simon has, for me, become almost a Pete “stand-in” which is probably grossly unfair to his talents and his motives for being out there with Roger playing. Having said that it does seem that when Pete doesn’t want to tour, Roger will go out on his own and Simon will join him for the ride.

Surprisingly, the City Hall was not quite full for this concert. To be fair I did arrive early and watched the support act at which time many people were still in the bar. By the time Roger took to the stage the hall was much more full. Lots of Who T-shirts in evidence. Great!

ROGER2Now there was a time when I felt Roger’s voice was going and I feared we might be getting close to the end for The Who. But somehow, almost miraculously, he has rebuilt the strength and power in his voice and at 78 years old he is doing amazingly both vocally and physically. The man is a legend, as is, of course his partner in crime in The Who, Pete Townshend. And as the man says above “Use It or Lose It” which seems to be true, and also seems to work! Good man Roger!

Roger did answer a few questions which had been written out for him by audience members, but the evening was mainly devoted to music. The question-and-answer session basically consisted of Roger picking a few questions from a pile which he held in his back pocket answering some, and throwing some away that he chose not to answer! I can’t remember any spectacular revelations I am afraid.
ROGER6The set consisted of a mixture of Roger solo songs, some taken from the films he has starred in such as Mcvicar (a career criminal who was in Durham jail for a period) and quite a few from his collaboration with Wilco Johnson. Highlights for me are the classic Who songs “Tattoo” (“Welcome to my life, tattoo I’m a man now, thanks to you”), “Who Are You”,” Baba O’Riley” and the great Leo Sayer song “Giving It All Away”. Roger covered a lot of early Leo Sayer songs and was one of the people who helped him make it big. Leo Sayer is now seen as a bit of a joke in some circles but if you look back at his first album Silverbird it is really great with some classic tracks such as “The Dancer”. Listen to it if you get a chance. Very underrated as a songwriter and artist. Roger closes with “Young Man Blues” which takes me back to saying the whole in the 1970s: “Well A Young Man Ain’t Got Nothing in the World Today…… He Got Sweet F**k All!” Pure class. The guy still has it!

ROGER3Setlist: Let My Love Open the Door (Pete Townshend song); Freedom Ride (Taj Mahal song); Squeeze Box (The Who); Waiting for a Friend; Another Tricky Day (The Who); Who Are You (The Who); Giving It All Away (Leo Sayer song); The Kids Are Alright (The Who); Tattoo (The Who); After the Fire; Days of Light; The Way It Is (Simon Townshend song); Going Back Home (Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey song); Some Kind of Hero (Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey song); As Long as I Have You; I Keep It To Myself (Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey song); Baba O’Riley (The Who); Without Your Love; Young Man Blues (Mose Allison song covered by the Who)

8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by David Dennis on July 26, 2022 at 8:10 pm

    Sounds like a great show, always enjoy your reviews. I lived in England in the seventies, and for a couple of years overlooking South Ealing tube station. One night I was coming home in that neighbourhood and ran into Roger having a tea break on a location shoot for McVicar. Charming fellow.


    • Posted by vintagerock on July 27, 2022 at 12:15 pm

      Great story David. Roger has always been a great tea drinker and inevitably has a cup with him on stage. The only person I ever ran into was Robert Plant in the toilets (honestly) at Wembley Stadium and the Crosby Stills Nash and Young show. He was a perfect gent, and had a chat with my friend and I, particularly considering the strange location! Happy days Peter


  2. Sounds like a great night with an iconic member of my favourite band. I agree with you about Leo Sayer too.


    • Posted by vintagerock on July 27, 2022 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Alun. Yes it was a fun night. And yes I am a big Leo Sayer fan and proud of it! There I have said it! And if anyone thinks that’s crazy please do listen to his first album, particularly “The Dancer”. Happy days Peter


  3. Posted by Mark Watson on August 4, 2022 at 1:00 pm

    As a newcastle lad did you ever get to see a great local band called Hurrah in the 80s. I saw them once at Darlington arts centre in 1983, superb. They were on Kitchenware records who seemed to spend there budget on Prefab Sprout. who, whilst a great band, didn’t have that extra something Hurrah had.


    • Posted by vintagerock on August 4, 2022 at 2:46 pm

      Hi Mark I’m afraid I am a Mackem not a Geordie! However I do remember Hurrah and I think I probably did see them but can’t remember when or where! Happy days I will try and rack my memory! Peter


  4. Posted by Mark Watson on August 6, 2022 at 9:51 pm

    Oh dear, the worst thing you can say to a Mackem is call him a geordie. Are you a Futureheads fan, and can i recommend Roxy Girls, a great Sunderland band.


    • Posted by vintagerock on August 7, 2022 at 11:40 am

      Hi Mark

      Don’t worry I am not offended at all. I shall look out Roxy girls; I can’t say I have heard of them. Yes I am a sort of fan of the Future Heads, but to my shame had never been to see them. I am afraid I am stuck in the world of the 1960s and 1970s and old vintage bands! Best wishes Peter


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