The Who Perform ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ from London’s Royal Albert Hall on ‘Colbert’

The Who took offered The Late Show audience a special rendition of the band’s 1971 hit single “Behind Blue Eyes,” filmed during a March all-acoustic charity gig to benefit the Teenage Cancer Trust at London’s historic Royal Albert Hall.

Minimal preparation was done for the gig, which prompted Pete Townshend to offer a lighthearted warning to the show’s audience. “We’ve only had two hours rehearsal,” he said. “So it’s going to be shit.” The set featured several rarely performed songs, including Townshend’s solo effort “Let My Love Open the Door” and “Eminence Front,” which features Roger Daltrey on lead vocals.

The Who will soon take their “The Who Hits Back!” tour across North America in two legs, with the band accompanied by a full orchestra on each stop. It’s the second time the British rockers have utilized an orchestra on tour, following 2019’s Moving On! trek. 

“I have loved working with the orchestra. It is something that I resisted at first. I didn’t think it would be very good,” Pete Townshend told Rolling Stone in a recent interview. “I’ve always had this belief that when you work with orchestras, you shouldn’t try and bring a rock drummer on the stage.”

The tour kicks off April 22 in Hollywood, Fla., wrapping the spring segment of the tour in Bethel, N.Y. on May 28. In the fall, the tour resumes Oct. 7 in Toronto and concludes with two nights at Las Vegas’ Dolby Live on Nov. 4 and 5. Shows are also scheduled for Los Angeles’ storied Hollywood Bowl and the New Orleans Jazz Festival. 

“Pete and I said we’d be back, but we didn’t think we’d have to wait for two years for the privilege,” Roger Daltrey said of the tour in a statement shared to the band’s website. “This is making the chance to perform feel even more special this time around. So many livelihoods have been impacted due to Covid, so we are thrilled to get everyone back together — the band, the crew and the fans. We’re gearing up for a great show that hits back in the only way The Who know how. By giving it everything we’ve got.”