The Who Could Add New Songs to Orchestral Tour
Keith Levenson, conductor of the Who’s current orchestral tour, said he hoped to add material from the band’s new album when the second run starts in September.
The first series of Moving On! shows ended last night after Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend delivered performances with a 50-member orchestra assembled from local musicians on each stop of the tour.
Levenson told Billboard that each orchestra had two and a half hours of rehearsal, plus a 30-minute soundcheck and then a jam with the Who before their big moment came. He said the musicians were all sent the sheet music ahead of the shows.
"I'd say 85 percent don’t look at them," he said. "Everybody thinks on every show they do, 'It’s a gig, I'm a great sight reader, what could be so hard?’ The hard part of this show is not reading ... there are a lot of notes. It’s the playing with the Who.
“We’ve had glitches every night," he continued. "But it's the Who. It's a dangerous band. It’s not like we're doing Rod Stewart Sings the American Songbook.” As a result, he often found himself “calling audibles from scrimmage,” but added, “I don't think the Who has ever had the reputation of being a perfect band.”
The conductor said he “definitely” aimed to make changes to later performances. “There will definitely be some tweaks for the Wembley show, because we may have a few songs from the new album by then," he explained. "And I assume by the second North American leg, we might play a couple as well.”
Meanwhile, lead violinist Katie Jacoby said her acclaimed rendition of the “Baba O’Riley” solo, which ends the night, was designed to be as close to the original as possible, because that’s what the audience wanted.
“That solo was in my blood,” she said, adding that she performed it at a music contest when she was younger, and won. “When I rolled into the first soundcheck that felt like an audition. ... It's definitely the quintessential classic rock violin solo.”