They went on their first farewell tour in 1982, but they’ve played over 400 gigs and released a new album in the decades since, so it has indeed been a “long goodbye” for the Who. And now, on the eve of their 50th anniversary as a band, it looks like Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey are planning what really (really!) will be their last tour (but perhaps not their final performances).
A press release that came out earlier today (June 30) announced “The Who Hits 50!” British/Irish tour, which kicks off Nov. 26 at the O2 in Dublin, Ireland. The tour, according to the release, “will see the band take their audience on an ‘Amazing Journey’ through their entire career from the days of the High Numbers to classic albums such as Who’s Next, Tommy, Quadrophenia, My Generation, Live at Leeds up to the present day.”
The High Numbers were one of the band’s early names: they released the mod-era single “Zoot Suit” (written by their original manager, Peter Meaden) with the B-side “I’m the Face” (adapted by Pete Townshend from the Slim Harpo song “I Got Love If You Want It).” They also recorded a cover of the early Motown song “Leaving Here” as the High Numbers.
Townshend took some poetic license with the press release. “Trying to stay young,” he said. “Not wearing socks. Growing a great big woodcutter’s beard. Might even wear a check shirt on stage and get a tattoo of a Union Jack. Always a fashion victim. But under no illusions. We are what we are, and extremely good at it, but we’re lucky to be alive and still touring. If I had enough hairs to split I would say that for thirteen years since 1964 The Who didn’t really exist, so we are really only thirty-seven.”