Who 2?

I don’t know how it qualifies as ‘Uncut. Uncensored. Unrepentant.’ – which is how the ads for the new American tour word it – but The Who are certainly proving boisterous about their return. After ten solid years of touring the hits – long enough to lose a second founding member in the process – Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey are finally unleashing new recorded music, and with it, a new world tour. A press conference held in Berlin on Thursday, linked to an audience of journalists in New York, broadcast simultaneously on the Web to The Who’s fans via yet another Who web site, all in the aid of announcing these shows, served to demonstrate both that some things have changed and some have not.

In the former regard, The Who, perhaps more than any other group, old or young, have embraced the powers of the Internet as a means by which to communicate worldwide and instantaneously with one’s fans. I spent some time Thursday evening watching the July 1 concert from Hyde Park on my computer, and I was astounded by the quality of both audio and, particularly, the picture: even blowing the feed up to full screen size delivered something quite close to television quality. If I had the time and the dedication, I could be sitting at home most days watching Who concerts fed live through the Internet from around the world. I’ve managed to avoid that level of obsession – I’m actually not a big one for concert videos/DVDs/TV shows in general – but for the thousands of Who fans that have never been able to let go, Townshend’s Internet involvement must feel like a gift from God.

Pete Townshend at Hyde Park, picture cribbed from the online broadcast available at

An as for the new album, provisionally entitled Who 2, and the new mini rock opera, more concretely entitled Wire & Glass, I’ll put down my disappointment with ‘Real Good Looking Boy’ and ‘Old Red Wine,’ the two “new” songs that showed up on the last of many compilations, Then and Now, and allow myself just a little of the musical optimism I felt back in 1979 – when Townshend made many promises about a new, Moon-less Who as a vehicle for increased musical freedom and experimentation. A large part of me still wishes this new music (and touring band) was not under the name of The Who but just Townshend and Daltrey (a la Page and Plant), but ten years of touring the hits under the old monikor has worn that resistance down. Which, of course, may have been the point.

And as for some things staying the same, it was almost a relief for me to personally hear Thursday’s press conference not over the Internet, but good old-fashioned terrestial radio (WDST in Woodstock), and to note that Townshend was still perfectly capable of a five-minute monologue that the broadcasters found impossible to edit. Likewise the acoustic performance of ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again.’ I can’t for the life of me figure why, with the world (wide web) at their fingertips, and with a new album to promote for the first time in 24 years, we couldn’t have heard a new song, but, again, maybe I expect too much. I’ll look forward to that opportunity on the upcoming tour, instead.

Related Posts


6 Comment(s)

  1. 22 July, 2006 at 10:14 am

    Hi Tony,
    Just read this today, don’t know if you’ll read it…
    It is always interesting to read your opinion on The Who.
    I was in the Hyde Park concert and enjoyed it very much, but not as much as the Leeds Uni gig. I was at the very front row, in a room where I had so many lunches when I was a student there, watching “my boys” perform, and the emotions were overwhelming. Pete and Roger were amazing and the crowd was incredible. The most fantastic concert I’ve ever been.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I’ve downloaded the mini-opera from iTunes and I think it has lots of elements of the good old Who, plus it is very original. Especially Endless Wire, sung by Pete, it is such a beautiful song. Am I biassed? Yes, I might be, but I’m not alone…Many people agree with me.

    As for the press-con in Berlin…didn’t you hear Mike Post Theme?(another great song!) It is one of the new songs to be included in the new album. I’m sure Pete and Roger agreed not to sing the mini-opera, due to the fact that it’s long, I guess….

    Hope you’re doing well,
    take care,

  2. Keets

    22 July, 2006 at 10:58 am

    Hi, I’m wondering why there are no comments posted here, as I’ve heard folks have left some. Roger and Pete did play one of their new songs at the press conference, and we heard it on the webcast. I gather the radio show you listened to wasn’t live and so edited it out. Typical radio response to a classic band putting out new music, eh?

  3. Haribomort

    22 July, 2006 at 7:20 pm


    It’s good to see you are as ill informed and inaccurate about The Who as you were in the Jamming years.



  4. James

    22 July, 2006 at 7:23 pm

    There was a new song played at the press conference. It was called “MikePost Theme” and it is a gem!

  5. A

    23 July, 2006 at 9:33 am

    I watched the live webcast of the press conference, and they did play a new song, “Mike Post’s Theme”. I believe it was the first song they played. The radio broadcast must have been edited.

  6. 23 July, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    Hey people

    Thanks for the posts. Four of you appear to be brand new here: was there some link to my post on a Who forum and you all decided to come over here and correct me about the ‘new song’? Welcome anyway. Posts have to go through a queue here: we get hundreds of spam posts a day and I have to filter them out while looking out for the real ones. At the weekend it can take time, but I’ve never knowingly not posted a legitimate response, positive or not..

    If you read carefully, I hedged my bets: I asked why we couldn’t have heard a new song, not why The Who didn’t play one. As I made totally clear, I heard snippets of the press conference on my local radio station. It occurred to me that The Who may have played a new song as well as ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ and that the radio station only played what it felt the audience would want to hear: I left myself open to that.

    Is ‘Mike Post(‘s?) Theme’ the same song that was the first new song to be played at Hyde Park? If so, I agree that it was impressive, on just the one or two listens from when I first went through the Hyde Park webcast. I’d planning on going back to that webcast and hopefully hearing more new songs but it appears to have been taken down. Hopefully I’ll catch up with all the new material at some point very soon. I love the idea of webcasts but it’s ultimately still not my ideal way of seeing a concert.

    Marietta – glad you enjoyed Leeds. That looks like it was a very special event.

    Cheers all – don’t be strangers.



Calendar of posts

August 2022