The Who 1999 performances

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The Who Tour 1999
Tour by The Who
Start date 29 October 1999
End date 23 December 1999
Legs 2
Shows 7
The Who concert chronology
The Who Tour 1996–1997
(1996–1997)
The Who Tour 1999
(1999)
The Who Tour 2000
(2000)

The Who reformed again for a series of shows in late 1999 following both the momentum from their 1996–97 Quadrophenia tours and Pete Townshend's renewed interest in his Lifehouse rock opera. These performances are notable in that they were the first time the band played as a five-piece group since 1982, having toured with a large ensemble band in 1989 and 1996–97. Several of the shows were charity dates.

History[edit]

Townshend had spent parts of 1998-99 revisiting Lifehouse, which although it had not come to fruition, had spawned a number of Who tracks the group recorded between 1971 and 1978, many appearing on the Who's Next album; Townshend's 1993 solo release Psychoderelict also incorporated elements of both the story and music. With his most recent efforts resulting in a BBC radio play that would air in December 1999 and an eventual box set collection entitled Lifehouse Chronicles (released in 2000), Townshend also brought a fair amount of Lifehouse material back into The Who's act when they opted to reform for a number of shows late in the year, their first performances since August 1997. Townshend would handle all guitar duties (not including some sparse acoustic work from Roger Daltrey) for the first time since 1982, while the core Who members were joined by only Zak Starkey on drums and longtime keyboard player John "Rabbit" Bundrick.

The first performance took place on 29 October as part of infamous dot-com company Pixelon's "iBASH'99" event at the MGM Grand Las Vegas, which also featured other acts such as KISS and The Dixie Chicks. An intended live internet broadcast failed to materialize, though the group's performance did eventually see a DVD release in 2006 entitled The Vegas Job. The next two days saw the group do rare acoustic performances as part of that year's Bridge School Benefit in Mountain View, California alongside Pearl Jam, Brian Wilson, Sheryl Crow, and numerous other artists. Two charity shows at Chicago's House of Blues in November benefited the nearby Maryville Academy, for whom Townshend had also done charity solo performances in years past and released the live album A Benefit For Maryville Academy. Finally, the band played two shows at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London in December, Christmas shows in London having been a Who tradition of sorts during the Keith Moon era.

The success of these shows inspired the group to hit the road again in 2000, when they would tour both the United States and the United Kingdom, partially in support of the Blues to the Bush live album.

Live Releases[edit]

Live material from 1999 has appeared on the following releases:

Band members[edit]

Typical set lists[edit]

Las Vegas and Bridge School Benefit shows[edit]

The Las Vegas show saw the group perform "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" for the first time since 1966, and it would remain in their act for years to come. Songs such as "Pinball Wizard", "See Me, Feel Me", and "Baba O'Riley" were performed for the first time in almost exactly ten years, having last been played in the last show of the 1989 tour. The acoustic shows for the Bridge School Benefit included numbers like "Tattoo" and "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand", as well as a surprise (though very loose) medley of Johnny Cash's "There You Go", "I Walk the Line", and "Ring of Fire". Townshend, Daltrey, and John Entwistle all played acoustic instruments for these shows, while John Bundrick played piano and Zak Starkey played a scaled-down drum kit.

Set list for the 29 October Las Vegas show (all songs written by Pete Townshend unless otherwise specified):

  1. "I Can't Explain"
  2. "Substitute"
  3. "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere"
  4. "Pinball Wizard"
  5. "See Me, Feel Me"
  6. "Baba O'Riley"
  7. "My Wife" (John Entwistle)
  8. "5.15"
  9. "Behind Blue Eyes"
  10. "Who Are You"
  11. "Magic Bus"
  12. "Won't Get Fooled Again"

Encores:

  1. "The Kids Are Alright"
  2. "My Generation"

Set lists for the 30 and 31 October Bridge School Benefit acoustic shows:

  1. "Substitute"
  2. "I Can't Explain"
  3. "Pinball Wizard"
  4. "Behind Blue Eyes"
  5. "Tattoo" (not performed on 31 October)
  6. "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand"
  7. "Boris the Spider" (John Entwistle)
  8. "Who Are You"
  9. Medley: "There You Go" (Johnny Cash)/"I Walk the Line" (Johnny Cash)/"Ring of Fire" (June Carter, Merle Kilgore) (played before "Who Are You" on the 31st)
  10. "Won't Get Fooled Again"
  11. "The Kids Are Alright"

The 30 October show closed with the group taking part in an ensemble performance of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" along with concert organizer Neil Young, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Emmylou Harris, and others.

House of Blues Shows[edit]

The shows in Chicago saw the band unearth a few Lifehouse songs, the biggest surprise being "Pure and Easy", which hadn’t been played since 1971; "Getting in Tune" had only appeared once (in 1980) since 1971, while "Let's See Action" had been an infrequent encore in years past. The group also elected to finally perform "After the Fire", which Townshend had hoped to have the band play at Live Aid and had appeared on Daltrey's 1985 album Under a Raging Moon. In addition, these shows featured the first performances of "You Better You Bet" and "Eminence Front" since 1989, while "I'm a Boy" had only been performed once (in 1989) since 1974. Prior to another Johnny Cash medley on the 12th, Townshend included a country-flavored version of "A Legal Matter", which the band had not done since 1966. Both versions of "Let's See Action" were played in the encore and supported by members of Eddie Vedder's side project C Average, who had opened both shows.

Set list (all songs written by Pete Townshend unless otherwise specified):

  1. "I Can't Explain"
  2. "Substitute"
  3. "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere"
  4. "Pinball Wizard"
  5. "My Wife" (John Entwistle)
  6. "Baba O'Riley"
  7. "Pure and Easy"
  8. "Getting in Tune"
  9. "You Better You Bet"
  10. "Behind Blue Eyes"
  11. "Tattoo" (not performed on 13 November)
  12. "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand" (not performed on 13 November)
  13. "I'm a Boy" (not performed on 13 November)
  14. "Boris the Spider" (John Entwistle)
  15. "Eminence Front" (played as the final encore on 13 November)
  16. "After the Fire"
  17. "5.15"
  18. "Who Are You"
  19. "Magic Bus"
  20. "Won't Get Fooled Again"

Encores:

  1. "The Kids Are Alright"
  2. Medley: "A Legal Matter"/"I Walk the Line" (Johnny Cash)/"Ring of Fire" (June Carter, Merle Kilgore) (not performed on 13 November)
  3. "My Generation"
  4. "Let's See Action" (with C Average)

There were some set list substitutions, variations, and order switches during the two shows.

Shepherd's Bush Empire Shows[edit]

The performances in London featured similar set lists to the Chicago shows, but the group treated the crowds to "Happy Jack" by request on the 22nd and played it again the next night - to date, these are the only appearances of the song in the group's act since early 1970. "Naked Eye", a frequent encore throughout the band's history, also was performed at both shows; "The Real Me" was played at the second show and would regularly appear in 2000.

Set list (all songs written by Pete Townshend unless otherwise specified):

  1. "I Can't Explain"
  2. "Substitute"
  3. "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere"
  4. "Pinball Wizard"
  5. "My Wife" (John Entwistle)
  6. "Baba O'Riley"
  7. "Pure and Easy"
  8. "Getting in Tune"
  9. "The Real Me" (not performed on 22 December)
  10. "Behind Blue Eyes"
  11. "You Better You Bet"
  12. "Happy Jack"
  13. "I'm a Boy" (not performed on 22 December)
  14. "Magic Bus"
  15. "Boris the Spider" (John Entwistle)
  16. "Who Are You"
  17. "After the Fire" (not performed on 23 December)
  18. "5.15"
  19. "Won't Get Fooled Again"

Encores:

  1. "The Kids Are Alright"
  2. Medley: "I Walk the Line" (Johnny Cash)/"Ring of Fire" (June Carter, Merle Kilgore) (not performed on 22 December)
  3. "Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand" (not performed on 22 December)
  4. "Naked Eye"
  5. "My Generation"

There were some set list substitutions, variations, and order switches during the two shows.

Performance dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue
Las Vegas and Bridge School benefit shows
29 October 1999 Paradise, Nevada United States MGM Grand Las Vegas
30 October 1999 Mountain View, California Shoreline Amphitheatre (Bridge School Benefit)
31 October 1999
House of Blues shows
12 November 1999 Chicago, Illinois United States House of Blues
13 November 1999
Shepherd's Bush Empire shows
22 December 1999 London England Shepherds Bush Empire
23 December 1999

See also[edit]

External links[edit]