Roger Daltrey, the iconic lead singer of The Who celebrates his 72nd birthday today. The powerful voice behind generation-defining hits like “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Baba O’Riley,” and appropriately enough, “My Generation,” Daltrey proved to be the ying to guitarist Pete Townshend’s yang; the Robin to his Batman. Daltrey captivated audiences at storybook festivals like Woodstock, Monterey Pop, and the Isle of Wight, becoming the prototype of a rock frontman and solidifying his spot on the Mt. Rushmore of the rock’s greatest frontmen.
In 1968, wanting to move on from the three-minute standard pop single, Townshend began the painstaking process of fleshing out what would become his legendary rock opera and the Who’s 1969 album, Tommy. Finding commercial and critical success with Tommy, it was Daltrey who breathed life into Townshend’s protagonist on the recordings and particularly in the live performances, discovering a new voice and a gear that the band had yet to shift to.
To celebrate Daltrey’s birthday today, here are several videos and complete set audio of the Who’s August 17, 1969 performance of Tommy from Woodstock at Max Yagur’s farm in Bethel, NY. The band was scheduled to go on next to last, before Jefferson Airplane, on Saturday, August the 16th, but their set wouldn’t get underway until 5 AM the next morning. The performance also includes versions of “Heaven and Hell,” “I Can’t Explain, “Summertime Blues” and an encore featuring “My Generation” and “Naked Eye,” before the Who’s ritualistic smashing of their instruments.
“See Me, Feel Me” (as part of “We’re Not Gonna Take It”)
Setlist: The Who | Woodstock | Bethel, NY | 8/17/69
Heaven and Hell, I Can’t Explain, It’s a Boy, 1921, Amazing Journey, Sparks, Eyesight to the Blind, Christmas, The Acid Queen, Pinball Wizard, Do You Think It’s Alright?, Fiddle About, There’s a Doctor, Go to the Mirror!, Smash the Mirror, I’m Free, Tommy’s Holiday Camp, We’re Not Gonna Take It, Summertime Blues, Shakin’ All Over
My Generation, Naked Eye