After nearly a quarter of a century as curator of the annual Teenage Cancer Trust gigs, Roger Daltrey has revealed that the forthcoming Royal Albert Hall spectacular will be his last in charge of the charity concerts.
The news comes after the announcement of this year’s line-up, which includes performances by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, the Chemical Brothers, and Young Fathers. In addition, there will be the usual evening of comedy, as well as two special gigs from The Who. Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend’s band will open the week-long celebrations on March 18 and will also play on March 20, supported by Squeeze, as well as a full orchestra.
The series of gigs will climax on March 24 with “Ovation”, a celebration of the Teenage Cancer Trust’s 24 years of Royal Albert Hall shows, featuring Daltrey and guest stars including Robert Plant with Saving Grace, Eddie Vedder, Paul Weller, Pete Townshend, and Kelly Jones.
The annual fundraising event began in 2000 and has hosted some of the biggest names in music and comedy, including Sir Paul McCartney, The Cure, Van Morrison, Depeche Mode, Florence + The Machine, and Joan Armatrading. In 2013, Damon Albarn and Noel Gallagher gave their first-ever joint performance at the event.
It has run every year with the exceptions of 2020 and 2021 when it was cancelled due to the pandemic, and has raised more than £32 million for the charity, which provides care and support for young people diagnosed with cancer.
Kate Collins, chief executive of Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “Roger's impact on the lives of young people with cancer in the UK is immeasurable. The very first show for Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall in 2000, The Who & Friends, was the catalyst for what has become over 20 years of flagship weeks of fundraising, awareness raising and magical moments at this exceptional venue.
“After that first gig, Roger became the driving force behind changing the lives of young people with cancer in the UK. Quite simply, we would not be the charity we are without Roger and these shows and – more importantly than that – thousands of young people with cancer in the UK would not have had the specialist support and care they urgently need.
“Roger's tireless drive has helped Teenage Cancer Trust change the lives of young people with cancer on a scale that was unimaginable at the first show in 2000.
“It is time to celebrate his unstoppable drive, determination, commitment and leadership and what better way to do it than with this amazing line-up for the 22nd year of shows.”
From next year Daltrey will continue as a Teenage Cancer Trust Honorary Patron, with the annual concerts overseen by a series of guest curators. In a statement, the Who singer said: "The £32 million raised from these concerts has been the foundation for the 28 specialized units within the NHS, as well as specialist nurses and youth workers to be there for a young person when cancer has turned their world upside down."