The Who Backed By a Full 48 Piece Orchestra Plays Their Hits at The Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida on April 27, 2022



The Who backed by a full 48 piece orchestra and played many of their hits at The Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida on April 27, 2022. The arena was about half full of middle-aged rockers some dragging their children along to broaden their history education. It had been 33 years since I last saw The Who in Tampa, I was in my late twenty’s as that was the age of the majority of the crowd. I am now in my sixties and the crowd was of similar in age?

The evening started at 7:30 pm with Leslie Mendelson performing acoustically with a backup guitarist. Mendelson is currently touring in support of her latest album release If You Can’t Say Anything Nice… She is currently touring with the Who before meeting up with Roger Daltrey for his UK tour that starts in mid-June and concludes in mid-July. Her performance reminded me a bit of Sheryl Crow.



Leslie Mendelson– Guitar/Vocals/Harmonica

Steve Kimock – Guitar





1.)  Gotta Get Up (Harry Nilsson cover) (Acoustic guitar)

2.)  Jericho (Acoustic guitar)

3.)  I Thank God For Rock N Roll Radio (Acoustic guitar)

4.)  Lay It All On Me (Acoustic guitar and keyboards)

5.)  Blue Bayou (Roy Orbison cover) (Acoustic guitar)

6.)  The Hardest Part [Leslie Medelson Song] / Yer So Bad / (Tom Pettycover) (Acoustic guitar)

7.)  All Come Together (Acoustic guitar and keyboards)


The Who took the stage at around 8:30pm to “Overture” from the Tommy Album, it was the perfect opening as it was played by the seated 48 piece orchestra. Roger Daltrey was dressed in a blue t-shirt and blue jeans; Pete Townsend was wearing a tweed stripped jacket with a yellow pocket puff and in black jeans. They looked great for two men in their later seventies. Two other notables that joined the two original members of the band, Simon Townshend – Guitar/Backup Singer is Pete’s brother, and drummer Zak Starkey who has been in the band the past 26 years and is the son of Ringo Starr.

The show continued with five more songs from the Tommy album. The last song of the initial orchestra set, audience really got into “Join Together.” They sang along and the crowd was now standing. At the end of the song, Pete Townshend took to the microphone in almost mocking the crowd stating that he has the power to manipulate them, “We play a fast song, you stand up. We play a slow song, you sit down. Up down, up down, up down. Some of you just keep standing. You are the old ones that are afraid if you sit down, you might not get back up.” It was a bit harsh, but then he softened it by stating, “I am also one of those.” He even took a shot at a fan that was screaming out a request. “We don’t take fucking requests” But he again softened his comment by jokingly saying, “This guy is at every show and buys tickets, I love you, you paid for my Ferrari!”

The orchestra retired off stage and the band continued with “Substitute”, “You Better You Bet”, and  half of “I Can See for Miles”. It seemed Roger’s inner ear monitor was malfunctioning as he stopped playing and he pulled it out and dropped it to the floor. Then it appeared he and Pete were not on the same page. The next song on the setlist of the previous show in Jacksonville was “Behind Blue Eyes.” They openly discussed if they should bring out Katie Jacoby on violin and Audrey Snyder the cellist. It appeared there was an impasse between the two men, and they decided to play “Naked Eye” that was recorded in 1974. But not after one of Pete Townshend’s addressing of the crowd and bringing up 1967, and how the United States got behind the previous song “I Can See For Miles” and how the song hit number one on the charts. He said to the audience, “Thank your grandparents for me” which brought a chuckle. Then he spoke about The Montery Pop Festival and how things got out of hand following Jimi Hendrix and the on-stage guitar smashing, which brought a roar from the crowd. After “Naked Eye,” they did perform “Behind Blue Eyes”with Katie Jacoby and Audrey Snyder.

After that segment, the full orchestra retook their seats and the concert raced to the finish line playing seven more songs and finishing the show with “Baba O’Riley”

This show was very different than my two previous Who concerts I attended in my twenty’s. The songs were the same, just performed a bit differently. Roger Daltrey’s voice wasn’t as bellowing, but at 78 he was fantastic. Pete’s voice was a lot like it’s always been, although he had an irritated tone in his in between song interaction with the crowd. Not short on “F” bombs in his delivery of his banter. Being older, and not about to be dancing in the isles anymore, I was content to take in the show from a seated position. It was a great show, and I would attend again.



Roger Daltrey Vocals

Pete Townshend Vocals/Guitars

Keith Levenson The Conductor For The Tour

Simon Townshend – Guitar/Backup Singer

Loren Gold – Keyboard

Emily Marshall – Keyboard

Jon Button – Bass

Zak Starkey – Drums

Katie Jacoby – Violin

Audrey Snyder – Cello

Billy NichollsBacking Vocals





With Orchestra

1.)  Overture

2.)  1921

3.)  Amazing Journey

4.)  Sparks

5.)  Pinball Wizard

6.)  We’re Not Gonna Take It

7.)  Who Are You

8.)  Eminence Front

9.)  Imagine a Man

10.)  Join Together


Band Only

11.)  Substitute

12.)  You Better You Bet

13.)  I Can See for Miles   (Cut short, in-ear monitor issues)

14.)  Naked Eye   (Acoustic, Roger & Pete only)


15.)  Behind Blue Eyes   (Band with violinist & cellist)


With Orchestra

16.)  Ball and Chain

17.)  The Real Me

18.)  I’m One

19.)  5:15

20.)  The Rock

21.)  Love, Reign O’er Me

22.)  Baba O’Riley




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