The crashing sound of Pinball Wizard flipped a packed audience back into the 1960s last night when guitar legend Pete Townshend took the stage in Cornwall. Making only his second appearance on a British stage for 121 years - he has been at the Empire in Shepherd's Bush, on Monday night - Townshend played a benefit concert in aid of Kneehigh Theatre.
Nearly 1,600 people packed the Hall for Cornwall for a show which raised funds to help Kneehigh stage its play The Riot at National Theatre next spring. Townshend performed numbers from the Who's early days and the music he wrote for Tommy and Quadrophenia. He and his family have a home near Falmouth, and he declared the Hall for Cornwall as a "fantastic place". Cornish band Rootjoose provided perfect support. Townshend first saw Kneehigh at work in the county with his wife and children, who are supporters of the theatre group. He was accompanied by the backing band who appeared with him at Woodstock, just outside New York, in front of 30,000 people tree months ago.
The concert is part of a week-long residency at the Hall of Cornwall in which Kneehigh is presenting a number of debates on the future of the county.