The Who Probably Won't Ever Tour the U.S. Again, Says Roger Daltrey
There are a few reasons why it seems "unlikely," according to the singer.
The Who have been putting on live shows for almost 60 years, but it seems that some fans may have already seen their last concert by the classic rock band. In a new interview with USA Today, lead singer Roger Daltrey shared that The Who will probably never tour the U.S. again. The frontman also explained why, though this doesn't mean that The Who are going to stop performing live altogether. The English band currently has shows lined up for Europe, and though Daltrey and bandmate Pete Townshend are both in their late 70s, he believes that they're still at the top of their game. Read on to find out more.
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There are no plans for the band to return to the U.S.
In his USA Today interview, Daltrey opened up about The Who's current tour, The Who Hits Back!, which is hitting Europe between June and August of this year. As for whether there are any plans for the band to tour the U.S. in the future, the singer was not optimistic.
"Nothing at the moment," Daltrey responded. "I don't know if we'll ever come back to tour America."
The Who has been playing with orchestras in their recent shows. Daltrey said that there's a logical theme for a future tour tied to that, but that it might not be possible to pull off.
"There is only one tour we could do, an orchestrated Quadrophenia to round out the catalog," he said. "But that's one tall order to sing that piece of music, as I'll be 80 next year. I never say never, but at the moment it's very doubtful."
High costs are another reason not to come back to the U.S.
Daltrey also said that the cost of putting on a tour—along with what they would lose if shows had to be canceled—is another reason not to embark on another one.
"Touring has become very difficult since COVID," the 79-year-old said. "We cannot get insured and most of the big bands doing arena shows, by the time they do their first show and rehearsals and get the staging and crew together, all the buses and hotels, you're upwards $600,000 to a million in the hole. To earn that back, if you're doing a 12-show run, you don't start to earn it back until the seventh or eighth show. That's just how the business works. The trouble now is if you get COVID after the first show, you've [lost] that money."
The Who had to cancel a U.K. and Ireland tour in 2021 due to the pandemic. As reported by NME, those 10 dates had already been rescheduled from 2020.
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The Who performed in the U.S. as recently as last year.
While it sounds like The Who won't be returning to the U.S.—at least not anytime soon—they did perform here just last year. The Who Hits Back! Tour traveled across the U.S. and Canada in April and May 2022 and then October and November 2022. The last show was in Las Vegas on Nov. 5.
In addition, Daltrey performed a series of solo shows in Florida last February.
Daltrey doesn't believe they're past their prime, however.
Today, the only remaining original members of The Who are Daltrey and guitarist and songwriter Townshend, 77. Drummer Keith Moon died in 1978, and bassist John Entwistle died in 2002. The band now tours with Zak Starkey, the son of Ringo Starr, on drums, and Townshend's brother, Simon Townshend, also on guitar, as well as additional backup musicians.
Daltrey told USA Today that the band is "playing better than ever" in 2023. "The Who has always been best as a live group, and we're still flying the flag for that and I think we're still doing a good job of it," he explained.
They may not be able to do some of what they used to be able to do physically, but they're taking that in stride. "You know, Pete can't quite jump 10 foot in the air anymore. He can do three foot, so he's not bad!," the singer laughed. "I don't swing the microphone hardly at all now because it doesn't matter to the sound anymore. Before, when all of those things used to work, it was a circus act. We're more than that now. I'm proud that our music has come of age and I think you could say this is the most modern classical music out there."