The Who Focuses On ‘Tommy’ Material At Tanglewood In 1970


Fifty years ago today The Who released their legendary Tommy double album. In honor of the occasion, Throwback Thursday looks at pro-shot video featuring a live performance from 1970 that concludes with the first seven tracks from Tommy.

The Who ended the North American leg of their 1970 tour in support of both Tommy and Live At Leeds on July 7 at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts. Guitarist Pete Townshend, vocalist Roger Daltrey, drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle opened with “Heaven & Hell” after an introduction from impresario Bill Graham. The quartet then barrels through the classic “I Can’t Explain” before performing “Water” and “I Don’t Even Know Myself.” “Young Man Blues” ends the pre-Tommy portion of the set.


Pete Townshend takes a moment to introduce The Who’s complete performance of Tommy, commonly thought of as the first rock opera. While Townshend notes the band would stop playing Tommy at the end of the tour, The Who celebrated the 20th anniversary of the LP by putting it back in setlists for their 1989 tour. Unfortunately only the initial seven tracks of the rock opera appear in the professionally-shot video of the Tanglewood concert shared by Music Vault. What can be viewed is the “Overture” as well as “It’s A Boy,” “1921,” “Amazing Journey,” “Sparks,” “Eyesight To The Blind” and “Christmas.”

Watch the first 55 minutes of The Who’s July 7, 1970 performance below:
Bill Graham Introduction, Heaven & Hell, I Can’t Explain, Water, Keith Moon Monologue, I Don’t Even Know Myself, Young Man Blues, Overture/It’s A Boy, 1921, Amazing Journey, Sparks, Eyesight To The Blind, Christmas

Tour Dates for The Who