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Pete Townshend Tour Diary #1 … Chicago Monday June 26th 2000

The Who Tour 2000 was partially in support of The Who‘s live album The Blues to the Bush and their first full-fledged tour as a five-piece band since 1982.

The group’s successful series of shows in late 1999 led them to carry out a much longer series of dates, with three two-week legs in the United States and another 11 shows in the United Kingdom. Both the first and last shows of the year were charity performances, the latter at London’s Royal Albert Hall and including special guests. The Royal Albert Hall show was also released on CD and DVD.

The group began by playing a charity show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City on 6 June, although this was not technically part of the tour. Drummer Zak Starkey was not available for this performance, so Simon Phillips, who had been the drummer on the 1989 tour, sat in. The United States leg officially began on 25 June at the New World Music Theatre in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park, Illinois and comprised three two-week legs, concluding with the last of four shows at New York City’s Madison Square Garden 7 October. The United Kingdom leg began at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham on 30 October and ended with a charity performance at the Royal Albert Hall (benefiting the Teenage Cancer Trust) on 27 November.

Although original bassist John Entwistle would play with the band at The Concert for New York City in October 2001 and at a series of dates in England in early 2002, the 2000 tour was his last with the band before his death.

The shows in general were greeted with accolades from both fans and press. Entwistle sang very little vocals compared to before, and apart from lead on My Wife, only sang backing vocals on I Can’t Explain and Substitute. Bargain was played in the lower key of A Major rather than the original key of B, to suit Daltrey’s vocals. Starkey’s drumming was now perfectly suited to the band, allowing more loose jamming during songs for the first time since the late 70’s, and Townshend smashed his guitar at the end of the Jones Beach show on July 9, the only occasion this happened on the whole tour.

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