Roger Daltrey is back on the road touring the UK with his solo band and admits it’s a world away from the Who‘s recent dates. While chatting to England’s Portsmouth News, Daltrey explained, “The Who is a whole different kettle of fish and of course at the moment we’re touring with a full orchestra, so it’s full-blown Who — but because I say we’ve got an orchestra, it doesn’t mean the power of the music is watered down in any way whatsoever, if anything it’s even more powerful.”
He went on to say, “That’s what so great about this — for the last 50 years we’ve been playing to enormous audiences in enormous arenas, stadiums, outdoor festivals with half a million people there. It’s going to be great with smaller audiences. It’s something I used to do in the old days, we all did, and it’s great to be reminded of the journey you’ve been on, and that’s what the title of the show is all about, because ‘Who Was I?'”
Daltrey takes several liberal dips into his solo career — which although scoring the singer several major hits — was nothing that ever was done with an eye in replacing the Who: “There’s so much when I listen back to the solo albums I did — it was basically a hobby, something to do while the Who weren’t touring. I never had any intention of doing a Rod Stewart and the Faces, having this huge solo career, I was trying to keep it down if anything! I only ever wanted to be the singer of the Who.”
Daltrey said he feels confident in reimagining the Who’s classics on the road: “I’m going to try and do that to turn your head around a bit with different sounds so that you hear the songs again for the first time. They will be THE songs. Like I did a version of ‘Baba O’Riley’ and it was done with just a squeezebox, fiddle and mandolin, acoustic guitar and piano and a boom-box — and it sounded amazing! The sounds are so different, but the song is so familiar it just gives it a lift. There’s something about it. I don’t want to go up on this solo show and pretend I’m the Who without Pete Townshend — there’s no point in that at all, so let’s try and do something a bit different.”
Roger Daltrey told us that he belongs to the old-school breed of rockers, who believe that the only way you end up keeping in shape for rock is by actually performing it: “You can do all the exercises in the world, but it doesn’t keep it road-fit. It’s like a boxer training. Y’know, a boxer can train, train, train, train — ‘doesn’t get him ring-fit.”
Daltrey told us that these days, due to his aging vocal cords, he’s learned to properly pace himself within his live performances: “We can only play for two hours. Y’know it gets to be, for me personally and my voice, two hours is enough singing the way I sing. It’s not an easy number these songs. They’re very, very challenging. They demand the kind of energy that the voice needs to give it.”
Roger Daltrey’s solo “Who Was I” tour plays tonight (June 24th) in Oxford, England’s New Theatre Oxford.