Live At Shea Stadium (DVD) By The Who

November 30, 2015

Hung Up In Your Eyes  B. Hyland

The Who were on tour in North America when they arrived at Shea Stadium for two sold out shows, October 12-13, 1982. They would not tour again for seven years and it was their last tour with drummer Kenny Jones. Also on hand was keyboardist Tom Gorman.

The entire second show has now been released with five bonus tracks from the first performance. The sound and video are both excellent and have a crispness that belies their age. Many times in a live recording, an instrument is lost in the mix but here everything is in synch, including John Entwistle’s thumbing bass, which provides the foundation for the sound. The only miner issue is the crowd, which is either turned down or was not very loud or invested.

The Who of 1982 had settled into a mature groove. Much of their frenetic approach in concert dissipated with the death of Keith Moon. Jones has not faired very well in the band’s history as Keith Moon was an impossible act to follow but he provided a steadying if not spectacular hand. This is very apparent in this concert as Townshend, Daltry, and Entwistle are connected and involved. It all adds up to one of the better Who concerts on film.

Their Shea Stadium show was a combination of big hits, well-known songs, and a number of obscurities that were rarely played live. “Dangerous,” “It’s Hard,” “Naked Eye,” “Drowned,” and “Cry If You Want” have disappeared into Who history so it is interesting to hear and see them performed on stage.

Only two songs, “Pinball Wizard” and “See Me Feel Me,” are from Tommy, which is a relief as material from the rock opera has appeared on numerous live recordings.

It is their middle career material that forms the foundation for the concert. “Behind Blue Eyes,” “Baba O’Riley,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Eminence Front,” and “It’s Hard” all benefit from Gorman’s keyboards and show a sophisticated approach to their live material.

The concert came to a rocking end with “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Summertime Blues,” and “Twist And Shout.”

Of the five bonus tracks “5:15” and “My Generation” were inexplicably left out of the second show, so it nice to have both as extra tracks as the energy just flows from one to the other.

Live At Shea Stadium 1982 is a nice time capsule of The Who. It is a very different live performance than any with Keith Moon as the music was getting more complex and they were in transition as a band. It fills in some gaps in their career and is a must for any of their fans.


Quadrophrenia: Live In London by The Who

July 8, 2014


Tommy was one of the seminal albums in rock history. Pete Townsend, Roger Daltry, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon took rock and roll music and moved in a new and creative direction. While the Who would produce a number of excellent rock albums and sell tens-of-millions of copies; Tommy was their defining release.

Quadrophrenia was released in 1973 as the next step in a musical vision that began with Tommy. It was a more ambitious and personal project that contained some of the most sophisticated music of the band’s career. Tommy made the complex simple, while Quadrophrenia was just complex, which gave it a very different feel. It is music that requires your attention and commitment to listen too and appreciate. While not as commercially successful as its predecessor, it represents the peak of Townsends creative process.

Quadrophrenia: Live In London is an album that took four decades to create and in some ways brings the music to a satisfying conclusion. The release presents a complete live performance of the album followed by a six song encore.

The Who of today is far different from the band of 1973. John Entwistle is gone and Keith Moon is long gone.  While Townsends guitar play is crisp and Daltry’s voice is better than I have heard it in years; John and Keith are missed. It’s not so much in the music as it is in the perception. This is more apparent on the DVD than the CD’s.

Townsend and Daltry have recruited drummer Scott Devours and bassist Dino Palladino to round out the basic quartet and both are more than competent musicians.

In many ways the music from Quadrophrenia has withstood the passage of time better than Tommy. Listening to the music in chronological order heightens an appreciation of the album and story. “The Rock,” “5:15,” and “Love Reins O’er Me” form a blistering rock trifecta. Townsend and Daltry appear invested in the performance as it may be a final curtain call for the album. It may not be classic Who but it is very good and at this point in their career the effort is appreciated.

The six song encore is icing on the cake. “Who Are You,” “You Better You Bet,” “”Pinball Wizard,” “Baba O’Riley,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and “Tea & Theatre” are sort of an odd combination but are welcome as live performances.

The sound and video throughout is excellent. The concert was filmed and recorded for release and the care in which that was done shows.

Time is passing and the Who are closing the book on a chapter of their lives. For any fan of the band this release is a must although it must be approached with the year 2014 in mind. Quadrophrenia: Live In London was an ambitious project with a worthy result from an important band in the late fall of their career.

Happy Jack 45 by The Who

March 3, 2013

happy jack

“Happy Jack” was written by Pete Townshend and was a part of their early stage act for a number of years. John Entwistle shared the lead vocal with Roger Daltry making it a vary rare Townshend song that was not sung solo by Daltry.

It was a huge hit in their native England peaking at number three. Released during early 1967, it became their first top 30 hit in the United States peaking at number 24 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Hot 100.

It had a very different sound than much of thier material but is still worth a listen almost 50 years later.

Live In Texas ’75 (DVD) by The Who

October 21, 2012

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.

Overture From Tommy 45 by the Assembled Multitude

August 28, 2012

The Assembled Multitude was one of those groups that was never a real band. Producer Tom Sellers (died in a house fire, 1988)recorded with studio musicians. He formed the group during 1970 and many of the participants would go on to play for the artists who recorded for the Philadelphia International Label.

It was an instrumental unit who covered many of the popular songs of the era. They actually had a good sound if you were into an up-tempo cross between pop and easy listening.

Their biggest hit was a re-working of the Who’s “Overture From Tommy.” Released during the late spring of 1970, it reached number 16 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. It may not have been rock ‘n’ roll but but it resonated with the rock audience of the day.