THIRTY years ago tonight Roger Daltrey was getting ready to play the old Poole Arts Centre as The Who, the band he has fronted since 1964, rode the wave of an unlikely rebirth.

Their album, Face Dances – their first since drummer Keith Moon’s untimely death in 1978 – was released that day and the nation’s youth was in the grip of a fully-fledged Mod revival incited by Quadrophenia, the film based on The Who’s rock opera of the same name.

For a generation of local fans who missed the band in their 1960s hitmaking heyday it was a landmark gig, a chance to pay homage to one of British rock’s true originals.

And on Saturday Roger Daltrey is to return to play Dorset for the first time since when he lines up at the O2 Academy Bournemouth in a warm up show for his sold out performance of The Who’s other great rock opera, Tommy, in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall on March 24.

“I think we’re well enough rehearsed to give Tommy a go, yeah,” he told me on Monday. “And lots of little treats as well, just have fun really.

“The Who stuff we do play outside of Tommy is songs that The Who haven’t played for years, some of which we’ve never ever played live.

“Mostly from the early days, with all the harmonies, because I’ve got an incredible band of musicians with great voices and it’s great to revisit that early sound.

“We do things like Pictures of Lily and Tattoo. They were very unique songs. And they stand up today – I mean everyone’s got a tattoo today, haven’t they?”

Roger has re-assembled the band of crack American session musicians – and Who partner Pete Townshend’s younger brother Simon – that toured the States with Eric Clapton last year, a mark of just how dedicated he is to the Teenage Cancer Trust for which the shows he has organised at the Albert Hall since 2001 have raised nearly £10 million.

“It’s something I’m passionate about getting done in this country because we lead the world in this. I think how these teenagers deserve it. It’s the only way we’re going to actually change our society – from the ground up.

“You start treating them properly when they’re teenagers, they will be good adults. It’s not exactly a difficult equation to make and yet…”

Saturday’s show finds the singer resurrecting The Who’s long-standing association with Bournemouth.

Six months before the release of their first single, My Generation in October 1965 they played a residency at Le Disque A Go Go in the Lansdowne, hanging out with local Mods in the tiny basement club and opposite, in the Gander on the Green pub.

Drummer Moon then vied with Rod Stewart for the affections of the Bournemouth girl Kim Kerrigan, he met at Le Disque and later married.

The Who returned to Bournemouth to play the Pavilion Ballrooms on April 2, 1969 for Poole College Students’ Union Rag Ball; and again on August 29, the night before for their now legendary show at the Isle of Wight Festival.

“Did we really?” asks Roger. “Yeah, it was the Pavilion, wasn’t it? There, I remembered it. I do remember that, we had some good times in Bournemouth.

“Actually, the reason we’re doing Bournemouth this week is because we were going to do another charity gig to warm up for the Albert Hall but that fell through and the guys were coming over anyway so I thought we’d better do a gig which is why it came in at such short notice.”

It can hardly fail to be memorable and Roger is clearly excited by the prospect, but what, I wonder, is the state of The Who at the moment?

“As it’s always been – legless!

“No, Pete’s got a problem with his ear so we’re not working, but we’re very much not saying we’re not going to be here. We did a gig six weeks ago, for charity.

“You just never know. Pete’s a bit concerned about losing his hearing for good, as a composer I don’t blame him, but when we get on stage it’s as vibrant as ever.”