With the imminent one-night-only theatrical run of "The Who: Quadrophenia - Can You See the Real Me? The Story Behind the Album" less than a week away, long-standing rumors that the surviving and central members of the legendary band would take it back on the road were already virtually confirmed.
But Wednesday morning, via a video press conference streaming live to roughly 275 music journalists, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey made it official: The Who are bringing their massive, influential 1973 opus to an arena near you.
"'Quadrophenia' is something we both felt we could get together on," Townshend said Wednesday. "Last time we did it was 1997 (the tour began a year earlier, with Billy Idol in tow as The Punk) and we've been anxious to work together ... before we drop dead."
"Would you describe it as the Who's Mt. Everest?" the moderator of the Q&A posited.
"It is for a singer," Daltrey replied. "I'm not sure how many more years I can sing this music, but my voice is great at the moment."
The lifelong musical pairing of Daltrey, 68, and Townshend, 67 - plus the same ace band that backed them live throughout the past decade, including bassist Pino Palladino, drummer Zak Starkey and keyboardist Chris Stainton, who played on the original recording - will embark on this first tour together in four years in the fall, presenting "Quadrophenia Plus Who Classics" in 36 cities nationwide, launching Nov. 1 from Sunrise, Fla.
What follows is more from the press conference, with apologies to the moderator, whose questions (posed in advance by journalists) are paraphrased here.
Q: It's a very English piece. What do you think American audiences make of it?
Daltrey: I think it's easy to understand. It's that period of your life when you're going through adolescence, and you're trying to find out who you are. Hopefully you get there soon after your teens. Lots of other people don't get there until 30, or others until 70. ... What I find really interesting looking back is ... how much of the historical significance of it, and the events going on at the time, are apropos of today. I don't think that there's any problem (relating to it).
Q: There's a film you've made documenting the story. What was it like putting that together?
Townshend: I can tell you that for my part, the writing about the record and going back through the album was easy, but doing the documentary was quite difficult. I haven't seen it. (Daltrey laughs and scoffs.) You get to a certain age and the last thing you want to look at is yourself looking 105 going on about being 15.
When the movie (Franc Roddam's 1979 version, with Sting as Ace Face) first went to America, people couldn't understand what was being said; there was word that the movie was going around with subtitles. (But) the film gave the characters in the album flesh. That was really, really important. It's been restored and re-dubbed now - and you really can hear what people are saying. (It arrives from in a Criterion Collection edition on Aug. 28.) But I'm delighted with the response to the documentary. I put a lot of work into it, and the box set that preceded it. "Quadrophenia" is a passion of mine, I love it.
Daltrey on the album's enduring power: Once they put those cans (headphones) on, that world is in their head. That's the canvas, and they can make anything of it. That's in some way what I don't like about the film, is that it's too real. I hope that (the coming tour) still gives people something to think about, that maybe they haven't thought about "Quadrophenia" before.
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