Artist: The Who
DVD: Live at The Isle of Wight Festival
The Who took the stage at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival at approximately 3 AM. And proceeded to put on one of the legendary shows of that era. It captured the band as they were touring in support of Tommy, and featured much of that album. But it also featured pretty much everything that would become their famous Live at Leeds album. In short, it is a document of one of the best bands ever at the absolute top of their game.
Many criticize this DVD for the sometimes mindless camera work (out of focus shots, shots focusing on lights, cameras turned upside down, etc.). This is all justified comment (hey, it was the 60's man) but doesn't change the fact that it is a very good capture of a phenomenal show.
The Who are absolutely on fire from beginning to end. Pete Townsend, in particular, seems to be taking out an enormous amount of rage on his instrument. Keith Moon is trim and an absolute animal on the skins, simply destroying them. John Entwistle demonstrates why he's considered the best rock bassist of that era and Roger Daltrey just exuded pure power. All four members are at the top of their game and it is mezmerizing to watch.
The setlist is a veritable catalog of classic rock songs. A ferocious version of Young Man Blues. A bludgeoning trio of "pop" hits I Can't Explain, Shakin' All Over and Twist and Shout. Finally, a 15 minute version of My Generation that featured all The Who had to offer: catch pop sensibilities combined with adrenaline-pumping improvisation, standout muscianship, psychedelic soundscapes and a band tightness that is a joy to behold. Seriously, modern-day heavy metal bands wish they cold reach this level of power.
I'm not a big fan of Tommy, and whlie there are good moments from that portion of the show, I feel they aren't as strong as the non-Tommy portion. Overture, The Acid Queen and Pinball Wizard all shine, but most other songs are weak in comparison.
In total, this is a stunning demonstration of the sheer power The Who unleashed on audiences during this stage of their career. It's not the best as far as visuals, and the sound is good but not great. But the performance is an undeniable tour-de-force that any rock fan can appreciate.
Young Man Blues