Back in the mid-1970s, there was always time for the summertime blues.
Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, Roger Daltry, and Keith Moon arrived in Houston, Texas, November 20, 1975, at the beginning of their Who By Numbers tour. By the time they were finished that evening, they had created a document of the original Who at the height of their powers. That concert has now been officially released as a DVD.
The concert has been available as a poor quality bootleg. It was not intended for wide release as only two cameras were used and they are subject to the limitations of mid-1970s technology. The sound and picture have been remastered and while they may not be up to today’s standards, it is good enough to hold your attention as it presents a rare glimpse of the original band at their best.
The concert started slow. “Substitute” and “I Can’t Explain” are good enough but “Squeeze Box” and especially “Baba O’Riley” are the two weakest tracks among the 25. Things pick up with Entwistle’s “Boris The Spider, and from then on, the energy builds.
The center of the performance was eight songs from Tommy including a medley. I have always preferred The Who picking and choosing songs rather than playing the entire opera. Today the songs are immediately recognizable to most rock fans. Here, “Amazing Journey,” “Acid Queen,” “Pinball Wizard,” “I’m Free, ” and “See Me Feel Me” are honed back to basics. Daltry is in fine voice and Townshend is at the top of his guitar form, but it is Keith Moon who drives the sound and makes one lament his premature death three years later. Many times Entwistle is the odd man out. His bass lines are heard but the camera’s did not always get him in the picture.
The last third of the concert finds them roaring through “Summertime Blues,” “My Generation,” and “Magic Bus.” Throw in a blast from the past, “Roadrunner,” plus “Join Together” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and you have one of the better live stretches of Who music that has been preserved.
Live performances from the original carnation of The Who are to be treasured. Live In Texas 75 finally gets its day in the sun. It is a must for all fans of the band.