Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and their regular touring band will perform The Who’s greatest hits with a full orchestra on July 8 and 9. They will be the only Scottish dates in a UK tour – The Who’s first for six years – which has been designed to include locations the band have not visited for decades.
Sections of the set in “The Who Hits Back!” tour will be devoted to their classic albums Tommy and Quadrophenia. The coming shows, part of the annual Castle Concerts series staged by Edinburgh-based promoters Regular Music, will have a capacity of around 8500 each night.
They will be the first by the band in the city since their gig at the Playhouse in 1981 and an earlier show at the Odeon in 1979.
The Who will be following in the footsteps of Deacon Blue, The Proclaimers, Kylie Minogue, Rod Stewart, Tom Jones, Paul Weller, Westlife, Olly Murs, Bananarama and Duran Duran, who have all staged Castle Concerts in recent years. A show by the American alt-folk band The Lumineers is already confirmed for this summer.
Formed in 1964 by Daltrey, Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon, The Who created a symphonic stage show in 2019 to coincide with the release of their first new studio album in 13 years, although there was just one date in the UK, at Wembley Stadium in London.
The band returned from a Covid-enforced hiatus to launch The Who Hits Back! tour in the United States last year.
Edinburgh has joined Barcelona, Florence, Berlin and Paris on The Who’s 2023 touring schedule, with other UK dates, including in Hull Derby, Badminton, Durham, St Helens, Brighton and the O2 arena in London.
An official announcement on the tour stated: “The UK gigs follow last year’s highly-acclaimed tour of the US, where the band shared the stage with some of the finest orchestras in America.
"The Who wound up the tour in November, having wowed audiences in over 30 cities, with media and fans agreeing that the band were as good as, if not better, than ever and that the orchestral arrangements, most of which were done by the legendary (composer and conductor) David Campbell, brought a new depth and excitement to Pete Townshend’s music.”
Daltrey said: “Having not toured the UK for six years, it's great that at this time of our careers we have the chance to go to places that are not on the usual touring map, as well as the other cities across the country that we haven’t been to for decades, which will make this very special for me.
"This opportunity will give our UK fans the chance to hear our current show, which, with the addition of an orchestra, takes our music to new heights.”
Townshend added: “Roger initially christened this tour with the orchestra ‘Moving On!’ I love it. It is what both of us want to do. Move on, with new music, classic Who music, all performed in new and exciting ways. Taking risks, nothing to lose. I’m really looking forward to bringing this show to the UK."