Roger Daltrey performs The Who's 'Tommy' at the Auditorium Conciliazione

Roger Daltrey performing on stage in Rome - 23 March 2012

The Who's legendary front man Roger Daltrey was in Rome last week to perform the band's rock opera masterpiece Tommy. On arriving at the Auditorium Conciliazione on Friday evening to see the second of his two Roman tour dates it was already clear from the buzz of excitement in the foyer that this was going to be more than a mere concert - this was an event – with fans of all ages posing for souvenir photographs in front of the advertising billboards. After all, this was one of those “you had to be there” opportunities to hear The Who's 1969 album played live in its entirety, and sung by Roger Daltrey.

As the lights dimmed and Daltrey appeared on stage to thunderous whoops and cheers, and the opening notes of the Tommy Overture began, it became instantly clear that he had brought a stunningly good backing band with him (including Simon Townshend on guitars, looking and sounding remarkably like his older brother Pete). Moving swiftly on through the original recording with no banter - It's A Boy, 1921, Amazing Journey – it was also clear that Daltrey, who has been beset with throat problems in recent years, was in fine voice. Effortlessly charismatic and with his trademark microphone swirls, double tambourines and poses, he was clearly enjoying himself, whilst the enthralled audience was noisily appreciative - Pinball Wizard raised the roof - but curiously remained sitting, as if in respectful reverence throughout the whole Tommy performance, until very suddenly as the “Listening to you” chorus of the final track We're Not Gonna Take It began, the audience got to its feet and there was a rush, en masse, to the stage for Tommy's exhilarating finale.

Cue the second half of the concert, where freed from the discipline of the Tommy presentation, Daltrey now chatted and joked between songs during an amazing set of Who classics. Opening with I Can See for Miles, what followed was a eminently satisfying mix of both early songs - The Kids Are Alright, Pictures of Lily, a bluesy My Generation - and later rock anthems, with blisteringly good performances of Who Are You, Baba O'Riley, Behind Blue Eyes, which had most of the audience singing along, as well as The Who's frequent live cover version of Mose Allison's Young Man Blues.

To send us on our way from the concert two songs closed this unforgettable evening - Without Your Love from the soundtrack of the film McVicar, and Blue, Red and Grey, on which Daltrey played the ukulele.

Absolutely unmissable!

Full band:
Frank Simes (guitar)
Scott Deavours (drums)
Jon Button (bass)
Loren Gold (keyboard)
Simon Townshend (guitar)

Full setlist:
It's A Boy
Amazing Journey
Eyesight To The Blind
Cousin Kevin
The Acid Queen
Do You Think It's Alright?
Fiddle About
Pinball Wizard
There's A Doctor
Go To The Mirror
Tommy Can You Hear Me?
Smash The Mirror
I'm Free
Miracle Cure
Sally Simpson
Tommy's Holiday Camp
We're Not Gonna Take It
I Can See For Miles
The Kids Are All Right
Behind Blue Eyes
The Way It Is (solo by Simon Townshend)
Pictures Of Lily
Who Are You?
My Generation
Young Man Blues
Baba O'Riley
Without Your Love
Red Blue And Grey