An all-star line-up delighted a sold-out Shepherd’s Bush Empire crowd in London last night (Tuesday), in a celebration of the music of The Who, to mark their 50th anniversary in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust charity. The patronage of Roger Daltrey has helped TCT to raise £19 million in the last 15 years, and artists including Liam Gallagher, Eddie Vedder, Geddy Lee and Rizzle Kicks covered Who songs during the show, which featured a closing performance by Daltrey.
The set, introduced by BBC Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans, kicked off with former Razorlight member Andy Burrows on ‘Can’t Explain.’ That was followed by a big cheer as Wilko Johnson — the former Dr. Feelgood guitarist who has defied all medical expertise with his continuing health, and whose ‘Going Back Home’ album with Daltrey has been such a success — joining young English band the Strypes for ‘The Kids Are Alright.’
All the performers were accompanied by the Who band, featuring Zak Starkey on drums, Simon Townshend and Frank Simes on guitars, Pino Palladino on bass, and keyboard players Loren Gold and John Coury. English artist Tom Odell, fresh from his recording of John Lennon’s ‘Real Love’ for the new John Lewis TV commercial, played ‘Getting In Tune,’ and Scottish singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald offered ‘Behind Blue Eyes.’
One of the highlights of the evening was an imaginative reworking of ‘Who Are You’ by hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks, and American comedian Rich Hall entertained the audience with an idiosyncratic take on ‘You Better You Bet.’ Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs did ‘5.15’ and was then joined by Phil Daniels, who reprised his ‘Quadrophenia’ movie appearance for ‘Bell Boy.’
Joe Elliott of Def Leppard sang ‘Love Reign O’er’ Me,’ former Three Degrees frontwoman Sheila Ferguson became ‘The Acid Queen’ and Rush’s Geddy Lee did ‘The Seeker.’ New Yorker Leslie Mendelson impressed on vocals and harmonica with ‘Baba O’Riley’ before Gallagher strode to the stage in his trademark parka for ‘My Generation.’
Pearl Jam’s Vedder then brought the proceedings towards a close with a fine set featuring ‘Naked Eye,’ ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ and ‘Listening To You.’ But Daltrey was never going to get away without performing, and with James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers unable to appear, Roger explained that he was the substitute singer for ‘Substitute.’ The Who singer then concluded another triumphant evening for the TCT charity with a powerful ‘Young Man Blues.’
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