The Who's Tommy Orchestral is perhaps a bit of a convoluted title but it's not as much of a jumble as the billing of "Roger Daltrey with members of the Who Band and Orchestra Conducted by Keith Levenson." The title and credit explain the 2019 album, which splices together performances given in Bethel, New York and Budapest. Prior to the 2018 tour that provided the source material for this record, Daltrey told Rolling Stone "We stay faithful to the record. We treat it with the respect that you'd treat a Mozart opera." This is more or less true. Daltrey and his supporting musicians don't bother to rearrange or reinterpret the original Pete Townshend compositions, and the presence of members of the Who Band does give this volume and muscle, qualities that are often absent in orchestral renditions of rock material. What the orchestra does add is a considerable dose of pomp and circumstance, a subtlety that can push this version of Tommy toward the stuffy. Then again, the orchestra isn't as interesting as Daltrey. Baring a reduced range but considerable vocal control, Daltrey seems engaged with material that he's been singing for half-a-century, and that kind of commitment is what distinguishes an album that otherwise feels a shade too familiar.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine