The Who Tour 1971

The Who Tour 1971 was a series of performances and tours by The Who in which they performed material from Pete Townshend's rock opera Lifehouse, much of which would then appear on their 1971 album Who's Next.

The Who Tour 1971
Tour by The Who
The Who at Charlotte, NC (1971).jpg
Associated album"Who's Next"
Start date4 January 1971
End date15 December 1971
No. of shows73 (approximately)
The Who concert chronology


With the band's 1969 and 1970 performances dominated by Tommy, Townshend and the group were ready to infuse their act with new material, with Townshend having written a number of songs around the Lifehouse concept by the end of 1970. The earliest performances of the year took place at London's Young Vic theatre as the band began to perfect the new material and unsuccessfully attempt to bring Townshend's Lifehouse visions to fruition. These were interrupted for recording sessions at New York's Record Plant in March, which yielded material the band ultimately decided not to use (these tracks would eventually appear as bonus material on the reissues of Who's Next). They resumed performing and recording back in England, eventually completing the material for Who's Next plus a number of other songs (notably the central Lifehouse tracks "Pure and Easy" and "Let's See Action") that would see light in the months and years following the album's release. Both of the group's US tours and their autumn UK tour would support Who's Next, released in August.

Several songs performed for the first time in 1971 would become staples in the band's act, including "Behind Blue Eyes", "Baba O'Riley", "Bargain", and "Won't Get Fooled Again"; "My Wife" would also appear in many subsequent tours as the featured John Entwistle number in the show, right up until his death in 2002. Other songs introduced this year were "Love Ain't For Keeping", "Pure and Easy", "Getting in Tune", "Too Much of Anything", and "Time Is Passing", the latter an obscure track recorded by the group during the Who's Next sessions and not released until Odds and Sods was reissued in 1998 (a Townshend solo version surfaced on Who Came First in 1972). Additionally, the band would reintroduce "Baby Don't You Do It", which had appeared in their act from 19641966 and was among the numbers recorded at the Record Plant, this time punctuated by a heavy Keith Moon drum beat. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Tommy was initially dropped from the act, with only "Pinball Wizard" and "See Me, Feel Me" remaining, although the group would bring back the "Overture", "Amazing Journey", and "Sparks" later in the year.

1971 was also the first year the group performed with backing tapes, which allowed them to include the synthesizer tracks from both "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Baba O'Riley" onstage. Recorded backing tracks would be used more extensively during the Quadrophenia tours in 19731974 and in later years for songs like "Who Are You", "You Better You Bet", and "Eminence Front".

Live releasesEdit

Live material from 1971 (excluding TV appearances where the band mimed to pre-recorded material) has appeared on a number of different releases:

Band membersEdit

Typical set listsEdit

Young Vic showsEdit

The band played at least six shows at London's Young Vic theatre between 4 January and 26 April[1] while working with Townshend's Lifehouse concept. The typical setlist for these shows (All songs written by Pete Townshend unless otherwise specified).

  1. "Love Ain't For Keeping"
  2. "Pure and Easy"
  3. "Young Man Blues" (Mose Allison)
  4. "Time Is Passing"
  5. "Behind Blue Eyes"
  6. "I Don't Even Know Myself"
  7. "Too Much of Anything"
  8. "Getting in Tune"
  9. "Bargain"
  10. "Pinball Wizard"
  11. "See Me, Feel Me"
  12. "Baby Don't You Do It" (Holland-Dozier-Holland)
  13. "Water"
  14. "My Generation"
  15. "Road Runner" (Ellas McDaniel)
  16. "Naked Eye"
  17. "Bony Moronie" (Larry Williams)
  18. "Won't Get Fooled Again"

Additional UK datesEdit

The group played a number of sporadic shows around the UK while recording Who's Next. The earliest documented date was 7 May at the City of Sunderland and the latest on 15 July at the Town Hall in Watford. The typical setlist for these shows consisted of (All songs written by Pete Townshend unless otherwise specified)

  1. "Love Ain't For Keeping"
  2. "Pure and Easy"
  3. "Time Is Passing"
  4. "Behind Blue Eyes"
  5. "Bargain"
  6. "Getting in Tune"
  7. "Too Much of Anything"
  8. "I Don't Even Know Myself"
  9. "Baby Don't You Do It" (Holland-Dozier-Holland)
  10. "Pinball Wizard"
  11. "See Me, Feel Me"
  12. "Water"
  13. "My Generation"
  14. "Naked Eye"
  15. "Magic Bus"
  16. "Won't Get Fooled Again"

First US legEdit

The group returned to America for the first time since the previous July to support the Who's Next album. The tour began on 29 July 1971 at the Forest Hills tennis stadium in New York City and concluded with the third of three shows at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago on 19 August 1971. The tour also included a four-night stand at the Music Hall in Boston. Changes were made to the set prior to the tour, as "Time Is Passing", "Getting in Tune", and "Too Much of Anything" were dropped in favour of "My Wife" and old favourites "I Can't Explain" and "Substitute". Here is a fairly typical set list (all songs written by Pete Townshend unless otherwise specified):

  1. "Love Ain't For Keeping" (moved to the third song in the show on 16 August, with "Summertime Blues" (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart) becoming the opening number)
  2. "Pure and Easy" (dropped after 15 August)
  3. "My Wife" (John Entwistle)
  4. "I Can't Explain"
  5. "Substitute"
  6. "Bargain"
  7. "Behind Blue Eyes"
  8. "Won't Get Fooled Again"
  9. "I Don't Even Know Myself"
  10. "Baby Don't You Do It" (Holland-Dozier-Holland)
  11. "Pinball Wizard"
  12. "See Me, Feel Me"
  13. "Water" (dropped after 4 August)
  14. "My Generation"
  15. "Magic Bus"
  16. "Naked Eye" (not played on 29 July, and 2, 5, 6, and 10 August, sometimes played before "Magic Bus")

There were some set list substitutions, variations, and order switches during the tour. Some other songs were played which are not in the above lists:

"Water" would never appear again after this tour, while "I Don't Even Know Myself" would not be played again until 2000.

Oval Cricket Ground Benefit Concert and Autumn UK tourEdit

After the group headlined a benefit show along with The Faces, Atomic Rooster, and numerous other acts at the Oval Cricket Ground in London for the people of Bangladesh on 18 September, they began a UK tour at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester on 28 September, concluding on 9 November at Greens Playhouse in Glasgow, Scotland. The tour also had the band playing three nights in the Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park, North London, the first events taking place at the theatre under that name. While their set at the Oval was virtually the same as what they played at the end of their previous US stint, the UK tour featured the first performances of "Baba O'Riley" (with the group playing to a synthesizer backing tape as in "Won't Get Fooled Again") and the return of "Overture", "Amazing Journey", and "Sparks", to the delight of audiences wanting to hear more Tommy material. "I Can't Explain" also began regularly serving as the opener, where it has remained for many tours since. John Sebastian of The Lovin' Spoonful joined the band onstage about halfway through the show of 9 October at the University of Surrey in Guildford, Surrey.

Set list for the Oval Cricket Ground benefit concert (all songs written by Pete Townshend unless otherwise specified):

  1. "Summertime Blues" (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart) (preceded by a short instrumental jam)
  2. "My Wife" (John Entwistle)
  3. "Love Ain't For Keeping"
  4. "I Can't Explain"
  5. "Substitute"
  6. "Bargain"
  7. "Behind Blue Eyes"
  8. "Won't Get Fooled Again"
  9. "Baby Don't You Do It" (Holland-Dozier-Holland)
  10. "Pinball Wizard"
  11. "See Me, Feel Me"
  12. "My Generation"
  13. "Naked Eye"
  14. "Magic Bus"

Here is a fairly typical set list for the UK tour (all songs written by Pete Townshend unless otherwise specified):

  1. "I Can't Explain"
  2. "Substitute"
  3. "Summertime Blues" (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart)
  4. "My Wife" (John Entwistle)
  5. "Baba O'Riley"
  6. "Bargain"
  7. "Behind Blue Eyes"
  8. "Won't Get Fooled Again"
  9. "Baby Don't You Do It" (Holland-Dozier-Holland)
  10. "Magic Bus"
  11. "Overture"
  12. "Amazing Journey"
  13. "Sparks"
  14. "Pinball Wizard"
  15. "See Me, Feel Me"
  16. "My Generation"
  17. "Naked Eye"

Second US legEdit

This leg began on 20 November at the Charlotte Coliseum and ended on 15 December at the Seattle Center Coliseum, with the set list the same as on the previous UK tour. This stint included two shows at the Civic Center in San Francisco, the second of which was recorded for a potential live album that was ultimately not released, although several tracks have turned up on various live albums and compilations through the years (see "Live Releases" above). One of the group's equipment trucks crashed on the way to the tour's last show in Seattle, resulting in their having to borrow the support act's equipment – this also prevented them from playing "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" on that date, as the synthesizer backing tapes were unavailable.

Here is a fairly typical set list (all songs written by Pete Townshend unless otherwise specified):

  1. "I Can't Explain"
  2. "Substitute" (not played on 20 November)
  3. "Summertime Blues" (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart)
  4. "My Wife" (John Entwistle)
  5. "Baba O'Riley" (not played on 15 December)
  6. "Bargain" (switched with "Behind Blue Eyes" for the last two dates of the tour)
  7. "Behind Blue Eyes"
  8. "Won't Get Fooled Again" (not played on 15 December)
  9. "Baby Don't You Do It" (Holland-Dozier-Holland)
  10. "Magic Bus"
  11. "Overture"
  12. "Amazing Journey"
  13. "Sparks"
  14. "Pinball Wizard"
  15. "See Me, Feel Me"
  16. "My Generation"
  17. "Naked Eye" (not played on 29 November or 1 December)

There were some set list substitutions, variations, and order switches during the tour. Another song was played which is not in the above lists:

  • "Going Down" (Don Nix) (Performed on 7, 9 and 13 December)

Tour datesEdit

Date City Country Venue
4 January 1971 London England Young Vic
14 February 1971
15 February 1971
22 February 1971
1 March 1971
8 March 1971
26 April 1971
2 May 1971 Young Vic (unconfirmed)
5 May 1971
7 May 1971 Sunderland Fillmore North, Top Rank Suite
13 May 1971 Birmingham Kinetic Circus
14 May 1971 Liverpool Liverpool University
23 May 1971 Dundee Scotland Caird Hall
1 July 1971 Worthing England Assembly Hall
3 July 1971 Sheffield Sheffield City Hall
4 July 1971 Leicester De Montfort Hall
8 July 1971 Bath Bath Pavilion
10 July 1971 Dunstable Civic Hall
12 July 1971 Eastbourne Winter Garden
15 July 1971 Watford Town Hall
North America
29 July 1971 New York City United States Forest Hills Stadium
31 July 1971
2 August 1971 Saratoga Springs Saratoga Performing Arts Center
3 August 1971 Philadelphia Spectrum
4 August 1971 Boston Music Hall
5 August 1971
6 August 1971
7 August 1971
9 August 1971 Rochester Rochester Community War Memorial
10 August 1971 Pittsburgh Civic Arena
12 August 1971 Cleveland Public Auditorium
13 August 1971 Trotwood Hara Arena
14 August 1971 Detroit Cobo Arena
15 August 1971 Bloomington Metropolitan Sports Center
16 August 1971 Edwardsville Mississippi River FestivalSouthern Illinois University Edwardsville
17 August 1971 Chicago Auditorium Theatre
18 August 1971
19 August 1971
Oval Cricket Ground Benefit Concert and Europe
18 September 1971 London England Oval Cricket Ground
28 September 1971 Manchester Free Trade Hall
2 October 1971 Reading University of Reading
9 October 1971 Guildford University of Surrey
10 October 1971 Kent Eliot College, University of Kent at Canterbury
18 October 1971 Southampton Southampton Guildhall
20 October 1971 Birmingham Odeon
21 October 1971 Glasgow Scotland Green's Playhouse
22 October 1971 Blackpool England Blackpool Opera House
23 October 1971 Liverpool Liverpool University
24 October 1971 Stoke-on-Trent Trentham Gardens
28 October 1971 Manchester Odeon
29 October 1971 Hull ABC Cinemas
30 October 1971 Newcastle upon Tyne Odeon
4 November 1971 London Rainbow Theatre[1]
5 November 1971
6 November 1971
9 November 1971 Glasgow Scotland Greens Playhouse
North America
20 November 1971 Charlotte United States Charlotte Coliseum
22 November 1971 Tuscaloosa Memorial Coliseum
23 November 1971 Atlanta Municipal Auditorium
25 November 1971 Miami Beach Miami Beach Convention Center
26 November 1971
28 November 1971 Memphis Mid-South Coliseum
29 November 1971 New Orleans The Warehouse
30 November 1971
1 December 1971 Houston Sam Houston Coliseum
2 December 1971 Dallas Dallas Memorial Auditorium
4 December 1971 Denver Denver Coliseum
5 December 1971
7 December 1971 Phoenix Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
8 December 1971 San Diego San Diego Sports Arena
9 December 1971 Inglewood The Forum
10 December 1971 Long Beach Long Beach Arena
12 December 1971 San Francisco San Francisco Civic Auditorium
13 December 1971
15 December 1971 Seattle Seattle Center Coliseum

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "1971 Archives - The Who". Retrieved 31 August 2019.

Neill, Andy; Matt Kent (2002). Anyway Anyhow Anywhere: The Complete Chronicles of The Who 1958–1978. Barnes & Noble. ISBN 1-58663-133-0.

External linksEdit