The Who — or more accurately, surviving members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey — plays at KeyArena on Sunday, May 15. The band says it’s its final tour, but it’s said that before. Reports from the road suggest The Who still brings it every night.

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The Who returns to Seattle on Sunday (May 15) for what the band has described as its “last” tour. Original band members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend play with Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr’s son), Simon Townshend (Pete Townshend’s brother) and Pino Palladino (longtime touring bassist).

If this is, indeed, The Who’s last hurrah, the band is going out with a bang, playing songs like “My Generation” as if they were young men again. Reviews of early shows have been positive, and with 50 years of history, the generous set lists have included two dozen songs from the early days, as well as hits like 1981’s “You Better You Bet.”

If you’re a longtime Who fan, the “last tour” billing may confuse you. Depending on how you count tours — multiple dates or just one-offs like “Live Aid” — the band has already done at least four “final tours.”

Concert preview

The Who

7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 15, at KeyArena, 305 Harrison St., Seattle; $35.50-$135.50 (800-745-3000 or

But after Keith Moon died in 1978, then bassist John Entwistle in 2002, a Daltrey/Townshend Who has been a different kind of beast, in any case. The two men have struggled to come to terms with their legacy, and with each other.

Daltrey backed off the “final” tour wording slightly, recently telling Rolling Stone it was “The last old-fashioned, big tour.”

Daltrey is 71 and Townshend is 70. Both have said the demands of touring are now difficult. Townshend told Mojo that even if this is the final Who tour, he and Daltrey will most likely still create music together in some form, but probably not as The Who.

In the article, Townshend joked, “As Roger says, we’re lucky that we’re not in some old people’s home and that we can do this now.”

Townshend played down what English newspapers say is his running feud with Daltrey. Still, Townshend told Uncut recently, “I don’t find The Who’s shows fulfilling, but I’m brilliant at it.”

Townshend is, indeed, a brilliant player, so expect guitar “windmills,” perhaps a smashed guitar, and likely an exciting performance in what may really be The Who’s “final” Seattle show.

For those keeping count, The Who’s first “final” Seattle show happened in 1982 with the Clash opening. It was a brilliant concert and would have been a fitting farewell.

But it wasn’t; the band keeps returning, unable in some ways to say goodbye for good. But the one thing we do know for certain is that The Who won’t be returning to that same 1982 venue ever again. That was at the Kingdome, which was demolished in 2000.