The Who deliver incredible show for Teenage Cancer Trust – Night 1 at Royal Albert Hall

The Who returned to the Teenage Cancer Trust stage last night at the Royal Albert Hall, opening the annual series of iconic shows with an incredible orchestra, marking how they started the gigs back in 2000.

Support came from very special guests, new wave rock legends, Squeeze, who are themselves celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. With a set jam packed with their classics they led the celebrations.

“It’s Quarter to 8 on a Monday evening and we should all be having our tea. But instead we’re all going to get up and dance around to ‘Slap and Tickle’ ladies and gentlemen,” said Chris Difford as the band got the Hall bouncing.

‘Up The Junction’ came early, the country swing of ‘Labelled With Love’ followed, rockabilly of ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ and a pared back, harmony soaked ‘Tempted’ led up to a big finish of ‘Cool For Cats.’

The Who were met by an ecstatic sold-out crowd, ready to savour every moment of this hugely special night. And they delivered.

Backed for much of the night by an orchestra, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend blazed a trail on a stage they can call home. “It energises these shows, bringing in donations,” said Pete, “which is of course you buying tickets. We appreciate it.”

They started from the beginning with ‘I Can’t Explain’ and the orchestra swelled to Roger’s vocals and Pete’s unique guitar sound, on several tracks from rock opera ‘Tommy’. With some jocular confusion over the set list – Roger: “this means f*ck all, because I can’t see it!”- their on stage chat fuelled ever more performing heights and the classics kept coming – ‘My Generation’, ‘The Kids Are Alright’, a blistering ‘Substitute’ and show stopping ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’.

The orchestra returned for a triumphant last set, thundering through ‘The Real Me’, ‘5.15’, an incredible ‘Love, Reign O’er Me’, finishing with ‘Baba O’Reilly’ provoking a crescendo of acclaim from the massed fans.

Last night’s show was just the beginning of a momentous week, celebrating the work of its founder and curator, rock legend Roger Daltrey, as he bows out as the driving force of these very special concerts. Those not there last night may feel they missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience but, there’s still a chance to get in on the action – with another The Who show on Wednesday 20 March, and ‘Ovation’ on Sunday 24 March. Sunday’s show will feature Roger’s friends and fans, many of those who helped establish these gigs as a celebrated annual event: Roger himself, with Kelly Jones, Robert Plant with Saving Grace, Eddie Vedder and Paul Weller.

The Who singer, who will continue as a Teenage Cancer Trust Honorary Patron, has tirelessly fundraised and advocated for the charity for nearly a quarter of a century. A key part of this has been Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall, the now iconic, annual concert series taking place at one of the world’s most prestigious concert venues.

Tonight comedy takes over – with hilarious host Kevin Bridges, plus sets from Rob Beckett, Paul Chowdhry, Joe Lycett, Joanne McNally, and Seann Walsh.

The music continues for the rest of the week, courtesy of some of the biggest UK acts around. As well as The Who (Wednesday 20 March) and closing night ‘Ovation’ (Sunday 24 March), joining the line-up includes critically acclaimed prolific songwriter Noel Gallagher, and his High Flying Birds (Thursday 21 March), BRIT nominees Young Fathers (Friday 22 March), and multi-platinum selling, multi-award winning electronic duo Chemical Brothers (Saturday 23 March).

For 22 editions, Roger Daltrey has persuaded some of the greatest artists on the planet to perform unique, one night only gigs to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust, generating over £32 million from ticket sales alone and spreading word of this extraordinary charity far and wide. That money is enough to pay for over a million hours of specialist care from Teenage Cancer Trust nurses, or 13 Teenage Cancer Trust hospital units. In 2000, when the gigs began, Teenage Cancer Trust was a much smaller organisation with only 5 hospital units across the whole of the UK and far fewer nurses and youth support workers.

Teenage Cancer Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to providing specialised nursing care and support for young people with cancer. Since 2000, over £32 million has been raised by Teenage Cancer Trust concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, and that money has helped fund specialist nurses, hospital units and support services right across the UK that help get young people through some unimaginably hard times.

Roger Daltrey CBE, Teenage Cancer Trust Honorary Patron, and mastermind behind the gigs for 24 years, said:
“The generosity of the people who work in the music and comedy industries never ceases to amaze me. In this, our 21st year, after two years of artists having no shows at all, at a time where the only certain paydays are from live performances, artists are willing to give up their earnings from a London show. It shows us that miracles are everywhere, but if you cough or sneeze you’d miss them!”

Katie Collins, Chief Executive, Teenage Cancer Trust, said:
“These amazing gigs and their fantastic lineups help us change lives. Because of Roger, the artists, the teams who make these gigs possible and everyone who buys a ticket, we can make sure young people don’t face cancer alone and continue to provide the vital, expert care and support that is crucial for young people with cancer.”

2024 Show Dates:
Mon 18 March – The Who with Orchestra, with special guests Squeeze
Tue 19 March – A Night Of Comedy – Kevin Bridges (host), Rob Beckett, Paul Chowdhry, Joe Lycett, Joanne McNally, Seann Walsh
Weds 20 March – The Who with Orchestra, with special guests Squeeze
Thurs 21 March – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, with special guests Blossoms
Fri 22 March – Young Fathers plus special guests
Sat 23 March – The Chemical Brothers
Sun 24 March – ‘Ovation’ – A Celebration of 24 Years of Gigs For Teenage Cancer Trust with: Roger Daltrey, Kelly Jones, Robert Plant with Saving Grace, Eddie Vedder, Paul Weller

All live images – credit John Stead

Tickets:

Remaining tickets on sale now. For line-up and ticketing information please visit: www.teenagecancertrust.org/gigs

About Teenage Cancer Trust at The Royal Albert Hall

2024 marks the 22nd year of Teenage Cancer Trust’s phenomenally successful flagship events at the Royal Albert Hall, which were started by the charity’s Patron and lead-singer of The Who, Roger Daltrey CBE.

Some of the biggest names in entertainment have now raised more than £32 million which has helped fund specialist nurses, hospital units and support services right across the UK that help get young people through some unimaginably hard times.

Since 2000 audiences at Teenage Cancer Trust’s annual gigs have witnessed some extraordinary, once in a lifetime shows, from Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn performing together for the first time ever in 2013, Sir Paul McCartney in 2012, plus the likes of Oasis, Muse, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Ed Sheeran, Florence + The Machine, Rudimental and many more.

There have been many legendary moments. Sir Paul McCartney was joined on stage in 2012 for the Beatles’ ‘Get Back’ by Roger Daltrey, Ronnie Wood and Paul Weller – marking a Beatle, Rolling Stone and The Who joining forces.

Muse played in 2008, their only show in the UK that year apart from two sold out Wembley Stadiums. They called it, “one of the best gigs of our lives.” The Cure played a three-hour set on two consecutive nights in 2014, bringing the house down with 45 songs.

Some of the brightest lights in comedy have lit up the stage too, with an annual evening featuring the likes of Mo Gilligan, Kevin Bridges, Miranda Hart, Kerry Godliman, John Bishop, Frankie Boyle, Noel Fielding, Jon Richardson, Russell Howard, Russell Brand, James Corden, Joel Dommett and many more.

About Teenage Cancer Trust

Every day, more than seven young people in the UK aged 13 to 24 hear the words “you have cancer” Teenage Cancer Trust puts young people in the best possible place, physically, mentally and emotionally, for their cancer treatment and beyond.

We do it through our expert nurses, support teams, and hospital units. And we’re the only UK charity dedicated to providing this specialised nursing care and support.

Teenage Cancer Trust is a registered charity: 1062559 (England & Wales), SC039757 (Scotland).

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