It Was 40 Years Ago Today: The Who Premieres ‘Tommy’ at London Coliseum

The Who: (from left) John Entwistle, Roger Daltrey, Keith Moon and Pete Townshend in 1969.

Billed as “A Two-Hour Non-Stop Concert,” The Who’s performance at London Coliseum on Sunday, Dec. 14, 1969, marked the first of hundreds of times the band would play Tommy live in its entirety (most of it, anyway).

On this occasion, Townshend’s rock opera was bookended at the beginning by John Entwistle’s “Heaven And Hell” and the iconic “I Can’t Explain,” and at the end by classics like “Summertime Blues,” “Shakin’ All Over” and “My Generation.” In between, the band debuted songs from Tommy such as “Amazing Journey/Sparks,” “I’m Free,” “Listening To You” and “Pinball Wizard.”

The concert went mainly unseen until its 2008 release as a supplementary DVD on The Who At Kilburn: 1977.

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