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The Who Tour 1969 was a series of performances and tours by The Who, partially in support of their Tommy album.

The Who Tour 1969
Tour by The Who
Associated album"Tommy"
Start date17 January 1969
End date19 December 1969
No. of shows125 (approximately)
The Who concert chronology



1969 was an extremely transitional year for the band, due almost entirely to Pete Townshend's rock opera Tommy, which they had begun recording the previous autumn. For the first part of the year, the group alternated between recording in the studio during the week and performing in clubs and universities on the weekends. With recording completed in March, the rock opera was reportedly performed for the first time in April at Bolton Institute of Technology and several other times in the United Kingdom through the early part of May. As no recordings of these shows have surfaced, it is not known exactly how much of Tommy was played at this stage, but by the time the group travelled to North America for a tour in May and June they featured roughly 40 minutes of the piece during certain shows, omitting songs like the "Overture", "Cousin Kevin", the "Underture", and "Sally Simpson" because they weren't considered suitable for live performance. Aside from the new material, songs such as "Happy Jack", "A Quick One, While He's Away", "Young Man Blues", "Summertime Blues", "My Generation", and "Magic Bus" continued to feature heavily in the group's stage show, among others. Meanwhile, the instrument smashing that had characterised their performances for several years prior diminished considerably by this point.

By the second half of the year, the success of Tommy began to elevate the status of the band, who continued to feature it as the focal point of their act. The group played high-profile shows at London's Royal Albert Hall and was one of the few acts to be paid for appearing at the Woodstock Festival in August, having travelled back to the United States specifically to perform at this event and just one other date before returning to England; they also were one of the headlining acts at the Isle of Wight Festival 1969. In the fall, they elected to expand the stage presentation of Tommy further, adding songs like the "Overture" and "Sally Simpson" that had been skipped in earlier performances; additionally, show-ending performances of "My Generation" were stretched out to reprise certain parts of the rock opera along with other instrumental passages (such as the chord progression that eventually evolved into "Naked Eye"). Following a second stint in North America, the group took Tommy to the London Coliseum in December, the first in a series of European opera house dates that would continue in early 1970.

Live releasesEdit

Live material from 1969 (excluding TV appearances where the band mimed to pre-recorded material) has appeared on a number of different releases:

Tour bandEdit

Typical set listsEdit


The band performed sporadically in the United Kingdom from January through early May. No recordings of these shows have surfaced, but the group reportedly began playing Tommy (likely in a shortened arrangement) by the end of April. Not mentioned here but they played Hull University Spring Ball from 11pm to 3.45 with extensive sections of Tommy circa May.

First North American TourEdit

A six-week tour in North America began with shows at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit starting on 9 May, concluding with the second of two shows at the Fillmore West in San Francisco on 19 June. Set lists varied and many dates featured two shows per night. In addition to material from Tommy, shows from this tour were characterised by long, free-form versions of "Magic Bus". Songs played on the tour were as follows (all songs written by Pete Townshend unless otherwise specified):

  1. "Heaven and Hell" (John Entwistle)
  2. "I Can't Explain"
  3. "Fortune Teller" (Naomi Neville)
  4. "Tattoo"
  5. "Young Man Blues" (Mose Allison)
  6. "Substitute"
  7. "Happy Jack"
  8. "I'm a Boy"
  9. "It's a Boy"
  10. "1921"
  11. "Amazing Journey"
  12. "Sparks"
  13. "Eyesight to the Blind" (Sonny Boy Williamson II)
  14. "Christmas"
  15. "The Acid Queen"
  16. "Pinball Wizard"
  17. "Do You Think It's Alright?"
  18. "Fiddle About"
  19. "There's a Doctor"
  20. "Go to the Mirror!"
  21. "Smash the Mirror"
  22. "I'm Free"
  23. "Tommy's Holiday Camp" (Keith Moon)
  24. "We're Not Gonna Take It"/"See Me, Feel Me"
  25. "Summertime Blues" (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart)
  26. "Shakin' All Over" (Johnny Kidd)
  27. "Magic Bus"
  28. "Naked Eye"

There were some set list substitutions, variations, and order switches during the tour. Many shows only featured a short segment of Tommy. Some other songs were played which are not in the above lists:

July Through Mid-SeptemberEdit

A series of shows in England were interrupted by a return to the United States to appear at the Tanglewood Music Shed in Lenox, Massachusetts and the Woodstock Festival. Later the group was one of the main attractions at the Isle of Wight Festival 1969. A typical set for these shows is as follows (all songs written by Pete Townshend unless otherwise specified):

  1. "Heaven and Hell" (John Entwistle)
  2. "I Can't Explain"
  3. "Fortune Teller" (Naomi Neville)
  4. "Young Man Blues" (Mose Allison)
  5. "It's a Boy"
  6. "1921"
  7. "Amazing Journey"
  8. "Sparks"
  9. "Eyesight to the Blind" (Sonny Boy Williamson II)
  10. "Christmas"
  11. "The Acid Queen"
  12. "Pinball Wizard"
  13. "Do You Think It's Alright?"
  14. "Fiddle About"
  15. "There's a Doctor"
  16. "Go to the Mirror!"
  17. "Smash the Mirror"
  18. "I'm Free"
  19. "Tommy's Holiday Camp" (Keith Moon)
  20. "We're Not Gonna Take It"/"See Me, Feel Me"
  21. "Summertime Blues" (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart)
  22. "Shakin' All Over" (Johnny Kidd)
  23. "My Generation"
  24. "Naked Eye"

There were some set list substitutions, variations, and order switches during these shows. Other songs occasionally performed were:

  • "Tattoo" (Performed on 29 August)
  • "Substitute" (Performed on 5 July, 9 August, and 29 August)

Mid-September Through to DecemberEdit

Starting with the show at Fairfield Halls in Croydon, London on 21 September, the band added several songs to the Tommy set to present the rock opera in more complete form, while shows generally ended with long versions of "My Generation" that included reprised themes from Tommy, along with various other instrumental sections. A live FM radio broadcast from the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam followed shortly afterwards, and the group returned to North America for another five-week tour in early October, highlighted by six nights at the Fillmore East in New York City. Many shows on this tour were recorded in hopes of compiling a live album, but the band ultimately decided not to use these tapes and opted to record the Live at Leeds album the following year instead. They finished the year with various dates in England and France, including a show at the London Coliseum on 14 December.

A typical set for these shows is as follows (all songs written by Pete Townshend unless otherwise specified):

  1. "Heaven and Hell" (John Entwistle)
  2. "I Can't Explain"
  3. "Fortune Teller" (Naomi Neville)
  4. "Tattoo"
  5. "Young Man Blues" (Mose Allison)
  6. "Overture"
  7. "It's a Boy"
  8. "1921"
  9. "Amazing Journey"
  10. "Sparks"
  11. "Eyesight to the Blind" (Sonny Boy Williamson II)
  12. "Christmas"
  13. "The Acid Queen"
  14. "Pinball Wizard"
  15. "Do You Think It's Alright?"
  16. "Fiddle About"
  17. "Tommy, Can You Hear Me?"
  18. "There's a Doctor"
  19. "Go to the Mirror!"
  20. "Smash the Mirror"
  21. "Miracle Cure"
  22. "Sally Simpson"
  23. "I'm Free"
  24. "Tommy's Holiday Camp" (Keith Moon)
  25. "We're Not Gonna Take It"/"See Me, Feel Me"
  26. "Summertime Blues" (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart)
  27. "Shakin' All Over" (Johnny Kidd)
  28. "My Generation" (usually including "See Me, Feel Me", "Naked Eye (instrumental)" and "Sparks". "Overture", the opening riff of "Pinball Wizard" and "The Ox" were included on 29 September.)

There were some set list substitutions, variations, and order switches during these shows. Also occasionally played were:

Tour datesEdit

Date City Country Venue
17 January 1969 London England Great Hall, King's College London (unconfirmed)
18 January 1969 Nantwich Civic Hall
19 January 1969 Birmingham Mothers Club
24 January 1969 Wolverhampton Wolverhampton Civic Hall
25 January 1969 Isleworth Borough Road College
1 February 1969 Newcastle upon Tyne Union Ballroom, Newcastle University
2 February 1969 Redcar Redcar Jazz Club
7 February 1969 Bath Top Rank Suite, University of Bath
8 February 1969 London Regent Street Polytechnic
14 February 1969 Coventry Lanchester College
15 February 1969 Margate Dreamland Ballroom (unconfirmed)
21 February 1969 Birmingham Birmingham University
22 February 1969 Liverpool Liverpool University
23 February 1969 London Roundhouse
1 March 1969 Birmingham Mothers Club
7 March 1969 Headington Technical College
14 March 1969 Cambridge Cambridge Corn Exchange
2 April 1969 Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre
7 April 1969 London Alexandra Palace
22 April 1969 Bolton Bolton Institute of Technology
24 April 1969 Newcastle upon Tyne Mayfair Ballroom
25 April 1969 Glasgow Scotland Strathclyde University
26 April 1969 Auchinleck Community Centre
27 April 1969 Dunfermline Kinema Ballroom
28 April 1969 Sunderland England Whitburn Bay Hotel
1 May 1969 London Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club
2 May 1969
North America
9 May 1969 Detroit United States Grande Ballroom
10 May 1969
11 May 1969
13 May 1969 Boston Boston Tea Party
14 May 1969
15 May 1969
16 May 1969 New York City Fillmore East
17 May 1969
(2 shows)
18 May 1969
(2 shows)
19 May 1969 Toronto Canada The Rockpile
21 May 1969 Ottawa Capitol Theater
23 May 1969 Philadelphia United States Electric Factory
24 May 1969
25 May 1969 Columbia Merriweather Post Pavilion
29 May 1969 Chicago Kinetic Playground
30 May 1969
31 May 1969
1 June 1969 St. Louis Kiel Auditorium
5 June 1969
(2 shows)
New York City Fillmore East
6 June 1969
(2 shows)
7 June 1969 Lake Geneva Majestic Hills Theater
8 June 1969
(2 shows)
Minneapolis Guthrie Theater
13 June 1969 Los Angeles Hollywood Palladium
14 June 1969 Pasadena Rose Palace
17 June 1969
(2 shows)
San Francisco Fillmore West
18 June 1969
(2 shows)
19 June 1969
5 July 1969
(2 shows)
London England Royal Albert Hall
7 July 1969 Redcar Redcar Jazz Club, Coatham Hotel
18 July 1969 Sunderland Top Rank Suite
19 July 1969 Birmingham Mothers Club
20 July 1969 Hastings Pier Ballroom
27 July 1969 Redcar Coatham Hotel
28 July 1969 Sunderland Fillmore North, Top Rank Suite
2 August 1969 Eastbourne Winter Garden
3 August 1969 Carlisle Cosmopolitan
4 August 1969 Bath Bath Pavilion
7 August 1969 Worthing Assembly Hall
9 August 1969 Plumpton National Jazz and Blues Festival, Plumpton Racecourse
North America
12 August 1969 Lenox United States Tanglewood Music Shed
17 August 1969 Bethel Woodstock Music & Art Fair
22 August 1969 Shrewsbury England Music Hall
23 August 1969 Essex Marquee Club
29 August 1969 Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre
30 August 1969 Isle of Wight Isle of Wight Festival 1969
6 September 1969 Dunfermline Scotland Kinema Ballroom
7 September 1969 Carlisle England Cosmopolitan
13 September 1969 Sutton Coldfield The Belfry
21 September 1969 Croydon Fairfield Halls
29 September 1969 Amsterdam Netherlands Concertgebouw
North America
10 October 1969 Boston United States Commonwealth Armory
11 October 1969 Detroit Grande Ballroom
12 October 1969
14 October 1969 Toronto Canada CNE Coliseum
15 October 1969 Ottawa Capitol Theatre
17 October 1969 Worcester United States Holy Cross Field House
18 October 1969 Stony Brook Stony Brook Student Activities Center
19 October 1969
(2 shows)
Philadelphia Electric Factory
20 October 1969 New York City Fillmore East
21 October 1969
22 October 1969
23 October 1969
24 October 1969
(2 shows)
25 October 1969
(2 shows)
26 October 1969 Pittsburgh Syria Mosque
31 October 1969 Chicago Kinetic Playground
1 November 1969 Columbus Veterans Memorial Auditorium
2 November 1969 Washington, D.C. McDonough Gymnasium
3 November 1969 White Plains Westchester County Center
4 November 1969 Hartford Bushnell Auditorium
6 November 1969 Granville Raccoon Creek Rock Festival – Livingston Gymnasium Indoor Track
7 November 1969 Athens Convocation Center
8 November 1969 St. Louis Kiel Opera House
10 November 1969 Albany Palace Theater
11 November 1969 Boston Boston Tea Party
12 November 1969
13 November 1969 New Paltz Elting Gymnasium
14 November 1969 Cleveland Public Hall
15 November 1969 Buffalo Kleinhans Music Hall
16 November 1969 Syracuse Onondaga War Memorial
4 December 1969 Bristol England Bristol Hippodrome
5 December 1969 Manchester Palace Theatre
9 December 1969 Paris France Venue unknown, shows scheduled but never occurred.
10 December 1969
12 December 1969 Liverpool England Liverpool Empire Theatre
14 December 1969 London London Coliseum
19 December 1969 Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle City Hall

See alsoEdit


  • Neill, Andy; Matt Kent (2002). Anyway Anyhow Anywhere: The Complete Chronicles of The Who 1958–1978. Barnes & Noble. ISBN 1-58663-133-0.
  • McMichael, Joe; 'Irish Jack' Lyons (1997). The Who Concert File. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-6316-9.

External linksEdit