The Who Tour 1996–1997

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The Who Tour 1996–1997
Tour by The Who
Associated albumQuadrophenia
Start date29 June 1996
End date16 August 1997
No. of shows72
The Who concert chronology

The Who Tour 1996–1997 was The Who's second tour promoting their 1973 album, Quadrophenia, and their first tour since 1989.


Having worked on the remastering of Quadrophenia in 1996, Pete Townshend was inspired to finally perform the complete rock opera as he had always hoped to hear it played, with a full band including a horn section, keyboards, and backing vocals. Initially agreeing to perform as a solo artist at a special charity event for The Prince's Trust on 29 June in Hyde Park, London, Townshend ultimately requested his former bandmates Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle join for the performance, the first time they had played a show together since 1989. With Townshend playing only acoustic guitar, supporting musicians included longtime keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick, Townshend's brother Simon on rhythm and lead guitar, and drummer Zak Starkey (son of Beatle Ringo Starr and a one-time friend of Keith Moon). The group were also joined by veteran British rock sideman Geoff Whitehorn on lead guitar and keyboardist Jon Carin, who had toured with Pink Floyd in their post-Roger Waters incarnation and worked with Townshend on some solo appearances in April–May 1996; a five-piece horn section, backup singers, and percussionist Jody Linscott rounded out the band. The Hyde Park show also featured special guest David Gilmour, who sang and played lead guitar on "The Dirty Jobs", sang on "Helpless Dancer" and played lead guitar on "Love, Reign o'er Me". Meanwhile, Phil Daniels, who had portrayed the lead character Jimmy in the film version of the rock opera, served as narrator for the show, while various actors and singers played other parts in the story. Among these was Gary Glitter in the role of the Godfather, who inadvertently struck Daltrey in the eye with a microphone stand during rehearsals, forcing the frontman to wear an eyepatch (fittingly adorned with a mod-inspired target logo) during the show. Although Townshend later spoke unfavorably about the Hyde Park performance, it was successful enough to encourage the band to do a run of six shows at New York City's Madison Square Garden in July, billed under the three Who members' individual names instead of as The Who. These dates featured the same basic line-up (minus Gilmour), with the notable addition of Billy Idol portraying the Ace Face. In addition to the main attraction of Quadrophenia, an encore each night included familiar songs such as "Behind Blue Eyes", "Naked Eye", and a stripped-down, acoustic version of "Won't Get Fooled Again" performed only by Townshend, Daltrey, and Entwistle. There was a live radio broadcast of the 18 July 1996 show.

With the New York dates well-received, the group (now billed as The Who) took Quadrophenia on a 25-date tour of North America in the fall, this time featuring pre-recorded narration by the Jimmy character (portrayed by Alex Langdon) on the video screen, helping to explain the story. The band was streamlined slightly for the tour, with only Townshend and his brother Simon on guitar; Townshend gradually began playing more electric guitar as the tour wore on, with one of the show's highlights occurring during "The Rock" when he would switch to electric and begin playing the song's lead guitar harmonies along with his brother. Daltrey also contributed some acoustic guitar, playing the beginning of "Who Are You" unaccompanied before the rest of the band joined. Three dates in England in December saw P.J. Proby replace Gary Glitter as the Godfather.

1997 brought more Quadrophenia dates, with the group's first European tour since 1975 and another stint in North America in the summer. Townshend played more electric guitar in these performances than in 1996, and the post-Quadrophenia set now included old favourites "I Can't Explain" and "Substitute"; additionally, "The Kids Are Alright" was performed late in the tour, the first time it had appeared in the group's act since 1966. Actor Ben Waters portrayed the Ace Face in the 1997 shows.

The success of these Quadrophenia shows would begin a Who revival, leading to a number of performances in 1999 and numerous tours in subsequent years.

Live Releases[edit]

Live material from 1996–1997 appears on the Tommy and Quadrophenia Live DVD, which also includes the show of 24 August 1989 at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. The 1996–1997 segment includes a complete performance of Quadrophenia, plus encores of "Won't Get Fooled Again", "Substitute", "I Can't Explain", "The Kids Are Alright", "Behind Blue Eyes", and "Who Are You". The date(s) of the performances are not listed, but the songs from the encore segment match those performed on the latter part of the 1997 North American tour. (The first four encore numbers come from the very last show of the tour in West Palm Beach on 16 August 1997; the latter two are from the concert in Dayton, 4 November 1996, which was the source of majority of the footage used for the Quadrophenia concert film.)

Tour band[edit]

Additional musicians
  • Dennis Farias – brass section
  • Simon Gardner – brass section
  • Nick Lane – brass section
  • Neil Sidwell – brass section
  • Roy Wiegand – brass section
  • Jody Linscott – percussion (until 11 December 1996)
  • Billy Nicholls – musical director, backing vocals, percussion (percussion after 11 December 1996)
  • Jon Carin – keyboards, backing vocals, additional percussion (additional percussion after 11 December 1996)

Special guests[edit]

1996 Prince's Trust Concert
  • Phil Daniels – Jimmy, the narrator (performed live)
  • Gary Glitter – The Godfather
  • Adrian Edmondson – The Ace Face
  • Stephen Fry – Hotel Manager
  • Trevor McDonald – Newscaster
  • David Gilmour – lead guitar and vocals on " The Dirty Jobs", co-lead vocals on "Helpless Dancer" and lead guitar on "Love, Reign O'er Me", "Sea and Sand (Reprise)" and "5.15" (reprise)
  • Sonia Jones, Suzy Webb and Peter Howarth on backing vocals (until 22 July 1996).
1996 First North American Leg (6 dates)
(16-22 July, Madison Square Garden, NYC)
  • Phil Daniels – Jimmy, the narrator
  • Gary Glitter – The Godfather
  • Billy Idol – The Ace Face
1996 Second North American Leg (25 dates)
(13 October, Portland - 19 November, East Rutherford)
  • Alex Langdon – Jimmy, the narrator (filmed)
  • Gary Glitter – The Godfather
  • Billy Idol – The Ace Face
  • Keith Murrell - backing vocals (until 11 December 1996)
1996 UK Leg (3 dates)
(6 and 7 December, London, Earl's Court - 11 December, Manchester, Nynex Arena)
  • Alex Langdon – Jimmy, the narrator
  • P. J. Proby – The Godfather
  • Billy Idol – The Ace Face
1997 European and North American Legs (16 dates + 20 dates)
(23 April, Copenhagen - 18 May, London, Wembley Arena; 19 July, Maryland Heights - 16 August, West Palm Beach)
  • Alex Langdon – Jimmy, the narrator
  • P.J. Proby – The Godfather
  • Ben Waters – The Ace Face

Typical set lists[edit]

The main set was mostly the same for the duration of the entire tour, save for a concert in Oslo, Norway on 26 April 1997, where "Substitute" and "I Can't Explain" opened the show before the main Quadrophenia set. The encores usually consisted of an acoustic version of "Won't Get Fooled Again", as well as "Behind Blue Eyes", "Who Are You" (also performed acoustically for the first two verses), and as the tour progressed, two or three other songs (depending on the concert).

  1. "I Am the Sea"
  2. "The Real Me"
  3. "Quadrophenia"
  4. "Cut My Hair"
  5. "The Punk and the Godfather" (with 'The Godfather' guest)
  6. "I'm One"
  7. "The Dirty Jobs" (Simon Townshend on vocals)
  8. "Helpless Dancer"
  9. "Is It in My Head?"
  10. "I've Had Enough" (with all the special guests)
  11. "5.15" (Entwistle extended bass solo)
  12. "Sea and Sand" (with 'The Ace Face' guest)
  13. "Drowned" (Townshend solo acoustic)
  14. "Bell Boy" (with 'The Ace Face' guest)
  15. "Doctor Jimmy"
  16. "The Rock"
  17. "Love, Reign o'er Me"
  18. "Quadrophenia Finale (I'm The Face)" (used to introduce the characters of Jimmy, the Ace Face, and the Godfather)
  19. "Won't Get Fooled Again" (acoustic, occasionally included parts of "Pinball Wizard")
  20. "Behind Blue Eyes"
  21. "Substitute" (On 1997 leg)
  22. "I Can't Explain" (On 1997 leg)
  23. "Who Are You" (with acoustic opening) (Added on 14 October 1996)

Other encores occasionally played were:

There were very few set list substitutions, variations, and order switches during the tour, and when they occurred, they were mostly in the encore. A second performance of "5.15" was the lone encore of the concert on 29 June 1996 at the Hyde Park in London, England. Shows on 19 and 20 July 1997 featured versions of "Won't Get Fooled Again" with Townshend on electric guitar instead of acoustic.

Tour dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue
1996 Prince's Trust Concert
29 June 1996 London England Hyde Park
First North American Leg
16 July 1996 New York City United States Madison Square Garden
17 July 1996
18 July 1996
20 July 1996
21 July 1996
22 July 1996
Second North American Leg
13 October 1996 Portland, Oregon United States Rose Garden Arena
14 October 1996 Tacoma, Washington Tacoma Dome
16 October 1996 Vancouver, British Columbia Canada General Motors Place
17 October 1996
19 October 1996 San Jose, California United States San Jose Arena
20 October 1996
22 October 1996 Inglewood, California Great Western Forum
23 October 1996 Phoenix, Arizona America West Arena
25 October 1996 Anaheim, California Arrowhead Pond
26 October 1996 Paradise, Nevada MGM Grand Garden Arena
29 October 1996 Denver, Colorado McNichols Arena
31 October 1996 Chicago United Center
1 November 1996
3 November 1996 Auburn Hills, Michigan The Palace of Auburn Hills
4 November 1996 Fairborn, Ohio Nutter Center
6 November 1996 Cleveland, Ohio Gund Arena
8 November 1996 Pittsburgh Civic Arena
9 November 1996 Buffalo, New York Marine Midland Arena
11 November 1996 Landover, Maryland US Air Arena
12 November 1996 Worcester, Massachusetts The Centrum
14 November 1996
15 November 1996 Uniondale, New York Nassau Coliseum
17 November 1996 Philadelphia Core States Center
18 November 1996 Albany, New York Knickerbocker Arena
19 November 1996 East Rutherford, New Jersey Continental Airlines Arena
First European Leg
6 December 1996 London England Earls Court
7 December 1996
11 December 1996 Manchester NYNEX Arena
Second European Leg
23 April 1997 Copenhagen Denmark Forum Copenhagen
25 April 1997 Stockholm Sweden Globe Arena
26 April 1997 Oslo Norway Oslo Spektrum
28 April 1997 Kiel Germany Ostseehalle
29 April 1997 Berlin Deutschlandhalle
1 May 1997 Vienna Austria Stadthalle
4 May 1997 Munich Germany Olympiahalle
5 May 1997 Stuttgart Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle
6 May 1997 Frankfurt Festhalle Frankfurt
9 May 1997 Dortmund Westfalenhallen
10 May 1997 Brussels Belgium Forest National
11 May 1997 Rotterdam Netherlands Ahoy Rotterdam
13 May 1997 Paris France Zénith de Paris
14 May 1997
16 May 1997 Zürich Switzerland Hallenstadion
18 May 1997 London England Wembley Arena
Third North American Leg
19 July 1997 Maryland Heights, Missouri United States Riverport Amphitheatre
20 July 1997 Tinley Park, Illinois New World Music Theatre
22 July 1997 Minneapolis, Minnesota Target Center
23 July 1997 Milwaukee, Wisconsin Marcus Amphitheater
25 July 1997 Clarkston, Michigan Pine Knob Music Theatre
26 July 1997 Noblesville, Indiana Deer Creek Music Center
28 July 1997 Montreal, Quebec Canada Molson Centre
29 July 1997 Toronto Molson Amphitheatre
31 July 1997 Mansfield, Massachusetts United States Great Woods Amphitheatre
2 August 1997 Hartford, Connecticut Meadows Music Theater
3 August 1997 Holmdel, New Jersey PNC Bank Arts Center
5 August 1997 Corfu, New York Darien Lake
6 August 1997 Camden, New Jersey Sony Center
7 August 1997 Bristow, Virginia Nissan Pavilion
9 August 1997 Virginia Beach, Virginia Virginia Beach Amphitheatre
10 August 1997 Raleigh, North Carolina Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
12 August 1997 Charlotte, North Carolina Blockbuster Pavilion
13 August 1997 Atlanta Lakewood Amphitheatre
15 August 1997 Tampa, Florida Ice Palace
16 August 1997 West Palm Beach, Florida Coral Sky Amphitheatre

See also[edit]

External links[edit]