Skip to content

The Who At Madison Square Garden, Monday, May 13th, 2019, Reviewed

I will never forget the first time I heard “Tommy”. I was 14, 50 years ago, in my friend Terry’s room. He told me he had this new album I had to hear. We listened to it all the way through. I was blown away by the music and the haunting image of the deaf, dumb and blind boy. I bought it as soon as I could, and wore that sucker out. Little did I know that 50 years later I’d be hearing some of that music with a full orchestra at Madison Square Garden.

The evening opened with a set by singer-songwriter Lesley Mendelson. She would have been pleasant to hear in a club, but her style was ill-suited to an arena. Chatting with my neighbor, I said she didn’t exactly fill the room. She replied, “I don’t think she could fill the first row”.

I had my doubts about the Who playing with an orchestra. Would this be another example of an aging band trying gin up interest with a gimmick? My doubts were eased from the first notes of the Overture from Tommy. The orchestral accompaniment greatly enhanced the performance of the material from this album. After all, it is a fucking opera. Daltrey was in good voice, and Townshend seemed inspired, giving us a few trademark windmills.

After the abbreviated Tommy set, the band went on to do a few songs from later albums. Pete’s singing on Eminence Front was passionate. Join Together turned into an audience singalong.

The orchestra then took a break as the Who played a more traditional set. The best song in this portion of the program was the usually anthemic “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, reimagined as an acoustic duet with just Pete on his Gibson jumbo and Roger singing. This proved to be another audience participation number. Outstanding!

The orchestra returned for an extended set from” Quadrophenia.” It was particularly thrilling to hear the long instrumental The Rock with full orchestration. Pete sang Drowned immediately before, giving Roger a chance to rest his voice for “Love, Reign O’er Me.” They closed with Baba O’Riley, with first violinist Katie Jacoby nailing the violin solo.

During the bows Daltrey berated audience members down front for smoking pot, to which he is allergic. He says is negative affects his voice. So why not make an announcement at the beginning of the show? It came across as a petty ending to an otherwise great evening.


Grade A-



With orchestra:


It’s a Boy


Amazing Journey


Pinball Wizard

We’re Not Gonna Take It

Who Are You

Eminence Front

Imagine a Man

Join Together


Without orchestra:


I Can See For Miles (tour debut)

Won’t Get Fooled Again

Behind Blue Eyes

Tea & Theatre


With Orchestra:

The Real Me

I’m One

The Punk and the Godfather



The Rock

Love, Reign O’er Me

Baba O’Riley


Leave a Comment


Support Let Me Help Inc by shopping at

Meek Mill At Madison Square Garden, Saturday, October 23rd, 2021, Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | October 24, 2021 |

he had something to prove and didn’t

Elton John’s “The Lockdown Sessions” Reviewed

By Jack Phillips | October 24, 2021 |

“Elton in the house!” 

L.A. Burning, West Coast Concert Picks October 25th To 31st

By Alyson Camus | October 24, 2021 |

Moses Sumney plays two shows at the Ford

UK Top 10 Albums: 10-22-21 – 10-28-21

By Iman Lababedi | October 23, 2021 |


UK Top 10 Singles 10-22-21 – 10-28-21

By Iman Lababedi | October 23, 2021 |

the highest week 1 figure since Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You

Used Chewing Gum Stories

By Alyson Camus | October 23, 2021 |

the most disposable things to collect

The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 10-22-21 – 10-27-21 Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | October 22, 2021 |

a covid-19 as break up, post-pandemic as new love metaphor

The Earliest Bird: Top New Recorded Release 10-22-21-10-28-22, Jack White’s “Taking Me Back and “Taking Me Back (Gently)” Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | October 22, 2021 |

where an innocent child discovers his parents are from another planet

Press Releases For October: Meet The Artists

By Alyson Camus | October 22, 2021 |

a pulsing badass number

“Miracle And Wonder: Conversations With Paul Simon” A New Audiobook From Malcolm Gladwell

By admin | October 21, 2021 |

a window into Paul Simon’s legendary career

Scroll To Top