The Who Hits Back with an Orchestra in San Jose

All Photos © Jonathan Scott Shensa Photography

Monday night The Who brought their latest tour “The Who Hits Back” to the Sap Center in San Jose. Unlike their last tour, The Who Moving On 2 years ago they didn’t have a new album to support. Instead of doing a greatest hits only tour they decided to take a chance by playing with a local orchestra in each of the cities The current U.S. tour kicked off in Hollywood Florida back in April and is ending in Las Vegas in November. The band is made up of original members Roger Daltrey, Pete Townsend, guitarist/backing singer Simon Townshend, drummer Zak Starkey (Ringo Star’s son), keyboardists Loren Gold and Emily Marshall, bassist Jon Button, and backing vocalist and Billy Nicholls. The Who also were accompanied by a 48-piece orchestra, complete with cellos and French horns.

Driving from Sausalito, to San Jose I kept thinking about how I’ve seen the band in 5 decades. My two favorite The Who memories were seeing the band do their rock opera “Tommy” in 1989. Another show was in 1996 when the band played the entire Quadrophenia album from start to finish at Madison Square Garden. Sadly the show that had the most impact on me was their show at the Hollywood Bowl in 2002. This was their first show together after the untimely passing of John Entwistle. I even attended the VH1 Honors The Who Show in at UCLA in Westwood, California.

I decided to try and save some money by driving down to San Jose to buy a ticket from the Box Office like I’ve done in the past. When I got there they Box Office was closed with a sign saying buy tickets at I walked around the outside of the building looking for someone who worked there. I finally saw a person inside the venue and I found an open door and entered the Arena as the band was sound checking Baba O’Riley. The friendly security guard explained that the venue Box Office only opens 2 hours before door. Thankfully the guard told me of an area near by to get something to eat.

I made it inside the venue in time to see Mike Campbell & The Dirty Knobs (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist) play a short set. It was great to see Mike on the stage killing it once again on guitar. He wore a yellow suit that could have come out of the closet of Elton John. The band hit the stage at 7:30. The bands set list was a mix of of songs from their two albums and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers songs. The band opened with a rocking song called Mike went deep into the Heartbreakers catalog for the second song of the evening a song called “Fault Lines”. My favorite song of the evening was Mike playing the Heartbreakers classics, Refuge and “Runnin’ Down A Dream”. The band actually played a headline show at the Fillmore Tuesday night.

All Photos © Jonathan Scott Shensa Photography

30 minutes after Mike left the stage the lights went off and the band and the orchestra launched into the opening of the Overture from The Who’s Rock Opera “Tommy”, The songs played included “1921”, “It’s a Boy”, “Amazing Journey”, “Sparks”. The “Tommy” Tribute ended with two of my favorite Who songs, “Pinball Wizard” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. The crowd of all ages sang along to the “See Me Feel Me Listening to You” part. Following “Tommy”, the orchestra stayed on stage for “Eminence Front” and “Ball and Chain”.

With the orchestra taking a break it was time for the second part/act. Next up was another classic”You Better You Bet”. The next song was “The Seeker”, which had one of my favorite lyrics, “I asked Bobby Dylan, I asked The Beatles, I asked Timothy Leary, But he couldn’t help me either.” The Seeker was followed by “Naked Eye”, and “Another Tricky Day. Next up were two of the bands biggest hits, the classic anthem “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and the power ballad “Behind Blue Eyes” (with violin, cello, contrabass).

The third and final part of the show saw the Orchestra return for”Quadrophenia’s”, Bad boy anthem “The Real Me”, I’m the One, “5:15”, “The Rock and “Love, Reign O’er Me”. The final song of the evening was another Who classic, “Baba O’Riley” with the Katie Jacoby (electric and acoustic violinist), stepping up to the front of the stage jamming with the band taking it to another level.

The band did an amazing job and sounded great. The band was set up like an opening band or a small club, where the members are almost on top of each other (the orchestra was on the stage in the back). So we didn’t get to see the band jumping around. Roger did throw around his microphone and Pete did his windmill swing (no jumping). After over 50 years together one thing you can be sure of “The Kids are Alright”. For all things The Who, checkout their website at

All Photos © Jonathan Scott Shensa Photography

All Photos © Jonathan Scott Shensa Photography


About Jonathanshensa

I'm a Celebrity Event Photographer, producer and Screenwriter. I also worked with promoting bands and spent 5 years in music management. In my younger days, I was also an Actor, News reporter, DJ, and have worked at Talent, and Management companies. I love the mass media but also love to talk about everyday topics. I want to have a positive and creative impact on the entertainment business. Check out my entertainment blog, "The Outsiders Guide to the Inside of Hollywood".
This entry was posted in Concert Review, Concerts, Jonathan Scott Shensa Photography, SAP Center San Jose, Shenza's Reviews, The Who, The Who Hits Back San Jose Review, The Who Hits Back Tour 2022, The Who Live, The Who photos, The Who Review, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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