As The Who gear up to take their Who Hits Back show to the UK and Europe this summer, a fabulous new recording has just been released of their 2019 appearance at Wembley Stadium!
The Who With Orchestra Live At Wembley hit the stores on March 31, and contains a great selection of 20 songs, including a few rare gems such as Imagine A Man, Hero Ground Zero, Ball and Chain, and Tea & Theatre. It’s a nice addition to the wide variety of live recordings the band has released over the years, and well worth getting just to hear The Who play with a full orchestra.
The Wembley show was a special one off performance in the UK that took place between the US legs of their 2019 Moving On tour. The Who gave a high octane performance that night, energized by the huge stadium crowd, which really comes across in the recordings. Pete Townshend was on fire at this show, really ripping it up on guitar, and Roger Daltrey’s voice sounds so powerful. It was an outstanding performance and is a joy to listen to!
Pete and Roger performed with their usual excellent lineup of musicians, with Simon Townshend on guitar, Zak Starkey on drums, Jon Button on bass, Billy Nicholls on backing vocals, Loren Gold on keyboards. The band performed with the 57-piece Isobel Griffiths Orchestra, conducted by Keith Levenson, and featuring Katie Jacoby on violin and Audrey Snyder on cello.
The track list is a great mix of classic Who songs that really lend themselves well to orchestration, along with a couple new tracks from their album WHO that was just released that year. Similar to the Moving On and The Who Hits Back tours, the Wembley show featured two sections with orchestra, with a band only section in between.
Not all of the songs played at Wembley were included on this release. Left off the album were 5 songs from the Tommy medley that opened the show, and Punk and the Godfather, which featured Eddie Vedder. According to the liner notes, the recordings of Punk and Tea & Theatre included on this release were from the 2019 Moving On tour.
The release is available in a variety of formats, including limited edition yellow, orange and red 3LP vinyl, 3LP black vinyl, and 2CD + Blu-ray which features PCM stereo and surround mixes in DTS 5.1 and Dolby Atmos. All of the formats include a nice 20-page booklet featuring photos of the Wembley show taken by photographer William Snyder. The photos look especially impressive in the larger sized booklet that comes with the vinyl release.
The surround mix sounds excellent throughout, and really adds to the aural experience of hearing the band playing in front of a full orchestra. Pete and Roger sound loud and clear on this, and there is good separation and balance between the band and orchestra. Those hoping for a video of the concert on the Blu-ray disc will be disappointed, as the surround audio only displays a slideshow of photos that rotates behind the track list. Hopefully a video of one of the orchestral shows will be released later, perhaps at the end of the UK tour. A good candidate would be the final show at Sandringham!
To promote the new album, there is a new video of Baba O'Riley from the Wembley show up on youtube.
Here is album track list:
Who Are You
Imagine A Man
Hero Ground Zero
The Seeker *
Won’t Get Fooled Again *
Behind Blue Eyes *
Ball And Chain
The Real Me
The Punk And The Godfather
Love Reign O’er Me
Tea & Theatre *