The Who will later this week unveil The Who 2002 Encore Series of soundboard-sourced, authorized bootlegs of shows from its current North American tour. Via guitarist Pete Townshend’s Eel Pie commerce site and new online site TheMusic.com, the double-disc sets will be available “within three weeks” of the given show. All proceeds will benefit “young peoples’ charities supported by the Who,” according to a statement.
As for the initiative behind the campaign, “the band are aware that many of the shows on this tour will be sold as bootleg recordings and to satisfy this demand they have agreed to release their own official recordings to benefit worthy causes,” the statement said.
The sets will retail for about $24, and TheMusic.com says “we are considering a box to hold the CDs for those that buy the complete series. It would contain some value added bonus items.” Soundclips from select shows are available via the site.
As previously reported, Who bassist John Entwistle died on the eve of the planned tour kick-off in Las Vegas, but the group has soldiered on with replacement bassist Pino Palladino. Townshend and vocalist Roger Daltrey have been criticized for continuing on for perceived financial gain, a charge Townshend recently addressed on his official Web site.
“To those of you who feel that we made the wrong decision to go on … I respect your views too,” he said. “When [drummer] Keith [Moon] died we went on, and later — for several years — I truly felt we had made a mistake. Probably, because of that, I knew this time it didn’t matter what I thought, or indeed what any potential detractors might come to think. I just had to get on with it all and work it out later. It seems to be working out OK.”
Townshend added that rehearsal footage with Entwistle filmed prior to the tour — comprising his last recorded work with the group — will likely be compiled for a DVD at some point in the future.
The Who plays Grand Rapids, Mich., tomorrow (Aug. 27) and will wrap its North American tour Sept. 28 in Toronto.