When Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon stepped onto the stage at Leeds University on Valentines Day 1970, they forged an indelible link with the city that would resonate the world over.
Just another gig on the band’s world tour in support of their massively successful rock opera Tommy, the set was recorded and released three months later as Live at Leeds.
That recording has come to be regarded by fans and critics alike as the greatest live album of all time.
On Tuesday night the band returns to the city to perform at the First Direct Arena as party of their 50th anniversary tour.
Billed as The Who Hits 50!, the tour is a greatest hits set as the band begins what Townshend claims is its farewell to the world.
The show, which guitarist Townshend describes as “hits, picks, mixes and misses” will see the band play a selection of their best known anthems, ranging from hit singles such as I Can’t Explain and Substitute, to deeper cuts from their classic records such as 5.15 and Won’t Get Fooled Again. Ahead of their show lead singer Daltrey said: “This is the beginning of the long goodbye.”
And while they are booked to play all over the world, Tuesday’s date is bound to have particular significance to the band given the Live at Leeds link.
The live album sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide and put the city on the international musical radar.
The recording of the record was recognised with an official Blue Plaque in 2006, with the band returning to play a triumphant set in the university’s refrectory, the venue where the original was recorded.
A few months later the band returned to the city to headline the Wireless Festival at Harewood House.
The band will return to Leeds without original drummer Moon and bassist Entwistle, who died in 1978 and 2002 respectively.