Review: Cleveland Orchestra, Roger Daltrey, and the Who’s “Tommy”

Posted on: July 11, 2018

“Orchestras and classic rock bands have more in common than some may think,” writes Malcolm X Abram in Monday’s (7/9) Akron Beacon Journal (OH). “Many a boomer-age classic rocker had orchestral influences, aspirations lacing their albums with strings, or synth meant to replicate strings…. Sunday night the Cleveland Orchestra with classic rock icon Roger Daltrey brought … those desires together for a fun and at times epic evening of outside symphonic-infused rock [at the Blossom Music Festival]. Daltrey, 74 … seemed genuinely excited to be presenting the music [the Who’s rock opera Tommy] he’s been singing for nearly 50 years with orchestras…. The orchestral arrangements by David Campbell mixed accenting and punctuating the familiar riffs of tunes, such as Acid Queen, and added complementary melodies and lines.… The audience was a mix of boomer-age rockers … groups of classic rock-loving younger folks and … orchestra fans.” In the song “Baba O’Riley,” “which naturally had the crowd shout-singing about ‘teenage wastelands’ … violinist Katie Jacoby stepped to the front of the stage to re-create the original recording’s violin solo by Dave Arbus. She not only nailed it, she animatedly played it like a rock star getting the crowd in the palm of her talented hands.”

Posted July 11, 2018

In photo: Roger Daltrey (wearing white shirt) and members of the Who perform with the Cleveland Orchestra, led by Keith Levenson, at the Blossom Music Festival, July 8, 2018. Photo by Roger Mastroianni