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The Who announce MOVING ON! tour, new album, as Pete Townshend deals with depression

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The Who’s Roger Daltrey (left) and Pete Townshend, both 74, are set for a 29-major North American concert tour that begins in May.

The Who will launch an extensive 2019 North American concert tour, dubbed MOVING ON!, that will see the legendary English rock band accompanied by what the group is billing as “some of the best orchestras in the U.S. and Canada.”

A new, 13-song album is also in the works by The Who, whose leader and creative driving force — guitarist, singer and principal songwriter Pete Townshend — on Friday disclosed in an online post that he is taking medication to deal with his ongoing “manic depression.”

The tour is The Who’s first full U.S. concert trek since a 2016 tour that included a memorable San Diego show at Valley View Casino Center.

The 2019 tour kicks off May 7 in Michigan at Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Arena and concludes Oct. 23 in Edmonton, Canada’s Rogers Place arena. It will include three California dates — Oct. 11 and 13 at the Hollywood Bowl, and Oct. 16 at San Diego State University’s Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl.

All MOVING ON! tour dates and ticket information appear below. Each pair of tickets purchased will include “a redeemable code for a CD copy of The Who’s forthcoming album when it’s released,” according to a statement issued by the band Monday morning. The tour’s title does not appear o signal the graying band has retirement on its mind, at least not yet.

In that statement, which announced the MOVING ON! tour, Townshend enthused: “I love it. It is what both of us want to do. Move on, with new music, classic Who music, all performed in new and exciting ways. Taking risks, nothing to lose.”

Added Who singer Roger Daltrey: “Just because it’s The Who with an orchestra, in no way will it compromise the way Pete and I deliver our music. This will be full throttle Who with horns and bells on.”

The prospect of releasing a new album — The Who’s first since 2006’s “Endless Wire” — was pivotal for Townshend, who — like Daltrey — is 74.

“I said I was not going to sign any (touring) contracts unless we have new material,” Townshend told Rolling Stone in an interview published Friday. “This has nothing to do with wanting a hit album. It has nothing to do with the fact that The Who need a new album. It’s purely personal. It’s about my pride, my sense of self-worth and self-dignity as a writer.”

Also on Friday, Townshend posted an 892-word essay, entitled “A New Who Year Ahead,” on The Who’s website. In it, he writes candidly about what he describes as his seasonal affective disorder-fueled case of mild manic depression.

“At this time of year I suffer from a fairly mild form of manic depression that in the past has caused me to turn to all kinds of addictions, prescribed and otherwise,” Townshend wrote.

“I think it’s what we now know as SAD, but almost as soon as the days start to get longer, it gets better for me. I’m feeling much happier already, and it’s still January. I send out heartfelt love and compassion to all those who suffer from depression more seriously, and not just in the deep winter months.

“Accepting the reality of clinical and psychological depression must be The Big Cause for 2019... some artists have already been brave enough to speak about it. It’s not uncommon among creative people; it’s not uncommon period.

“Time to be aware, and be as kind as we can to people who suffer from depression that can disable them as surely as a car crash. Medication, very carefully handled and prescribed, can really help so many.”

The Who’s touring lineup will be completed by Townshend’s brother, guitarist/backup singer Simon Townshend, keyboardist Loren Gold, bassist Jon Button and drummer Zak Starkey, who is the son of Ringo Starr.

Tickets for The Who’s tour go on sale to the general public Friday at 10 a.m. at livenation.com and by phone at (800) 745-3000. Tickets for the San Diego concert are priced at $79-$299, plus service charges.

A pre-sale for Who fan club members starts Wednesday at 10 a.m. local time and runs through 10 p.m. Thursday.

The Who 2019 North American tour dates

Tuesday, May 7: Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena

Thursday, May 9: Buffalo, NY KeyBank Center

Saturday, May 11: Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live

Monday, May 13: New York, NY Madison Square Garden

Thursday, May 16: Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena

Saturday, May 18: Noblesville, IN Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center

Tuesday, May 21: Chicago, IL Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

Thursday, May 23: Maryland Heights/St. Louis, MO Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

Saturday, May 25: Philadelphia, PA Citizens Bank Park

Tuesday, May 28: Detroit, MI Little Caesars Arena

Thursday, May 3: Pittsburgh, PA PPG Paints Arena

Saturday, June 1: Toronto, ON Scotiabank Arena

Friday, Sept. 6: St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center

Sunday, Sept. 8: Alpine Valley, WI Alpine Valley Music Theatre

Tuesday, Sept. 1: Cuyahoga Falls, OH Blossom Music Center

Friday, Sept. 13: Boston, MA Fenway Park

Sunday, Sept. 15: Wantagh, NY Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater

Wednesday, Sept. 18: Atlanta, GA State Farm Arena

Friday, Sept. 2: Fort Lauderdale, FL BB&T Center

Sunday, Sept. 22: Tampa, FL Amalie Arena

Wednesday, Sept. 25: Houston, TX Toyota Center

Friday, Sept. 27: Dallas, TX American Airlines Center

Sunday, Sept. 29: Denver, CO Pepsi Center

Friday, Oct. 11: Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Bowl

Sunday, Oct. 13: Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Bowl

Wednesday, Oct. 16: San Diego, CA Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl San Diego State University

Saturday, Oct. 19: Seattle, WA T-Mobile Park (formally Safeco Field)

Monday, Oct. 21: Vancouver, BC Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena

Wednesday, Oct. 23: Edmonton, AB Rogers Place

Twitter @georgevarga

george.varga@sduniontribune.com


UPDATES:

7 a.m.: This story has been updated to include new quotes from The Who’s Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, as well as to note that each pair of concert tickets purchased for the band’s upcoming MOVING ON! 2019 North American tour will include a copy of The Who’s s upcoming new album.