Monday, 18 September 2017
The Who: Surviving TV and Film Clips 1965-2015
1. Les Mods ('Shout and Shimmy' 'Roadrunner' 'I Just Want To Make Love To You' French TV March 1965)
Fittingly for a band who loved looking back to their past, The Who's earliest surviving footage (as far as we know at least) seems like a documentary about the end of an era, even in truth it was just beginning. A pompous and rather prejudiced French narrator intones that this programme is a 'search for British youth' and intones that 'This is how Frenchmen think of English children: round cheeked schoolboys in soccer uniform...such well behaved children do exist amongst the upper classes, but not here. Hammersmith is a small town rather like the poorer districts of Paris, only foggier, whose chances of making 'it' are even slimmer...Mod stands for 'Modern' and represents a sort of neo-dandyism found all across the country but most popularly in the bigger cities...rejecting the prisons of pubs, telly and cars' (did they not know about Ready Steady Go?!) Anyway when The Who finally appear they rip through all this intellectualising and pontificating with a terrific set that sadly is only seen in brief. The Who still seem quite quiet and almost shy compared to what's to come later (Pete won't look away from his guitar and Keith's busy counting time, while John is barely glimpsed at all for some reason) and the programme seems more interested in their music as a business venture, with coy interviews with managers Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert. 'Shout and Shimmy' sounds much like the studio 'My Generation' outtake, though Bo Diddley's 'Roadrunner' sounds entirely different to the version later heard in concert (usually a slow blues paired with 'My Generation') and Muddy Waters' 'I Just Want To Make Love To You' is a bit of a mess, all noise and bluster compared to the sultry period Stones cover. The part that sounds most like the future Who is the untitled jam near the end of the programme which sounds as if it's evolved out of the end of 'Shout and Shimmy' and is heading into 'The Ox'. A terrific glimpse of the band in their natural early habitat, even if their performance is more great historically than musically. The highlights though are all chat: a nervy Townshend says that 'people used to fall back on the church because they were weak mentally, because if you can't face life head-on then God is essential' before saying that things are different now. This makes interesting listening in the wake of his interest in Meher Baba years later! Asked about where he thinks mod will go a cool, French-speaking Kit Lambert replies that 'because this is a youth movement it's far too early to say!' This clip is one of the few in this list officially unavailable, though the Youtube clip is amazingly good quality considering it's vintage and even comes with helpful English subtitles.
2. Ready Steady Go ('Shout and Shimmy' 'Anyway Anyhow Anywhere' 'My Generation' UK TV July 1965)
Of the many appearances The Who made on Ready Steady Go (eleven or twelve or maybe more, depending which source you consult), there really does seem to be the only one that's survived. The Who are far more comfortable here, with a much tighter 'Shout and Shimmy' with some classic 'interrupting' backing vocals from Pete up high and John way down deep, Roger really going for it and Keith in a 'target logo' T-shirt really growing into his own style. This version of the song is a lot better than the studio outtake of it! 'Anyway' is gloriously messy and unhinged and sounding more like an old blues song than a recently-released single. With John's bass mixed down low, this song is basically a duet for vocal and drums until one of the most daring and electrifying Townshend guitar solos in the band's canon, a brilliantly unhinged collection of aggression and slashed chords that yet still sounds menacing and in control, emphasised by the show's director zooming in and out (this clip is on the 'Kids Are Alright' film but is regrettably cut short - see the full length version if you can!) 'My Generation' may possibly be from later (the single wasn't out till October) but we know the band were performing it on TV from August and this version sounds even earlier so it's not unfeasible that this is the same show (and the band changed their clothes between songs a lot in this period, being mods!) It's certainly a very different arrangement of the song (which sadly puts to bed the myth Pete wrote it on the way to the recording studio in the back of a taxi!) and more like the original demo (sadly still not released yet): The backing vocals consist of 'Talking...' without the 'bout my generation' bit until far later in the song, while the song is closer to a slow blues groove, with a distinctly lackadaisical bass solo from John and little of the finished version's anger and brute force. There's even a misguided key change towards the end of the song, which ends not with a bang but a whimper, but this still sounds like a killer song even this early on in its history.
3. I Can't Explain (Music Video August 1965)
Oddly The Who didn't film a music video for their first video until after they'd released the second. My guess is they were shooting this for the American market as it's very much a 'gee, what are those little ol' Englanders up to now?' kind of a video. The band mime self-consciously, Roger trying to look cool in James Dean sunglasses and Pete sending up the whole stupidity of the shoot with a very OTT performance on the solo! However this promo is a crucial development in one sense - the band don't just play to the crowd, they play with the crowd and their 'half' of a London pub is invaded by dancing 'fans/extras' in much the same way the band will copy on the 'Join Together' video. Listening to you, indeed...The promo was included on the compilation video 'Who's Better Who's Best' in 1988.
4. Shindig ('I Can't Explain' 'My Generation' 'Daddy Rollin' Stone' US TV August 1965)
Meanwhile, over in America, The Who are part of an all-star English Invasion bill whose co-stars The Kinks' appearance has already been covered (helpfully the 'Kids Are Alright' use of this clip even includes the full introduction so you can understand the context of what The Who played in). The Who's performance is arguably the better, even if the band are a little nervy and more than a little raw. Daltrey is growing into his hooligan look and stares menacingly into the camera (the spots really help!), while Keith is again in his favourite logo T-shirt and Pete wears his 'union jacket' for the first time, though he and John seem a little over-awed to be honest. 'I can't Explain' has never sounded messier and 'My generation' is still in an uncomfortable halfway house between the bluesy demo and the snarling note-perfect record, but the rare performance of 'Daddy Rollin' Stone' is the saving grace. The Who recorded this one for their debut LP (released four months after this performance) but never used it and the song makes much more sense live, with Pete's choppy surfing style guitar stabs forming a double-act with Keith's noisy drumming. John gets a much bigger role than on the record, singing all the backing vocals himself as Pete sticks to guitar.
5. 5th Annual Jazz and Blues Festival ('Anyway Anyhow Anywhere' 'Shout and Shimmy' August 1965)
Both of these clips are officially available - 'Anyway' as the opening chapter of '30 Years Of Maximum R and B' and 'Shimmy' on 'The Kids Are Alright'. Perhaps because the band are performing before an unfriendly audience of blues and jazz freaks rather than mods (though there is a lot of screaming!), they seem a little under-par on both performances. Only on the drum solo on 'Shimmy' do the band really get moving and a grooving, with Pete doing some natty dance-steps too. 'Anyhow', meanwhile, looks like a great performance but Roger spends so much time wiggling his posterior to all the girls that their screams all but drown out the music! This performance was shot for Shindig as well just three days after the band's 'official' performance and broadcast as a 'follow-up' on the show a week later. Oddly, this was to be the band's last link to the show where so many AAA bands played over and over.
6. Substitute (Music Video 1966)
The band's second music video is another straightforward mimed affair shot in London's Covent Garden. The band seem nervous and shy, as if they've just been yelled at by the director for messing about, with Keith the calmest you ever see him and Roger all but shell-shocked! Maybe the director told them not to send things up the way they had on 'Explain'?! Included complete on the 'Who's Better Who's Best' compilation and about thirty seconds' worth are featured on 'The Kids Are Alright'.
7. The Kids Are Alright (Music Video 1966)
Tiring of uncomfortable drafty studios, The Who go outside for 'The Kids re Alright' video, one made under duress after Shel Talmy released the song as a single to go head to head with 'Substitute' without the band's knowledge - figuring it might be a hit they grudgingly agreed to promote it. The band are in London's Hyde Park for another mimed special on what looks like a particularly cold, grotty and windy day. The footage starts with a close-up of Keith in his 'union jacket' about to whallop the first beat, emphasising the band's pop-art credentials in this period. Roger, meanwhile, is wearing an early form of flares! Goodness knows what the passing rowers made of all this...Another 'Who's Better Who's Best' selection.
8. A Whole Scene Goin' On ('Out In The Street' 'Heatwave' 'A Legal Matter' UK TV January 1966)
Figuring that pop music was a real happening thing, man, The BBC commissioned this short-lived show to run alongside 'Top Of The Pops' and 'Ready Steady Go'. However this sole surviving episode (actually the pilot) begs the question: was this really what the youth really wanted? Fashion tips, dating advice from Lulu of all people (she's only sixteen at this point remember and still hasn't dated anyone seriously - not even a Bee Gee!) and Pete Townshend at his cynical best? Well, luckily, even though the programme bombed it's a fascinating time capsule and of great interest to Who fans in particular. The Who are busy plugging their debut album, released a few weeks before, and these are the only 'performances' the band ever gave on film of these three comparatively rare tracks (two from the album and mimed, while a live drum-heavy 'Heatwave' sounds much like it will on 'A Quick One' at the end of the year). The best part though is Pete's interview - this bit, though none of the performances, is featured quite heavily in 'The Kids Are Alright' (mostly the bit about audiences asking pete to smash his guitar, though he's already at the point in his life where he feels he's moved on and is talking about all this as if it was in the dim and distant past and a 'career'). The Who, meanwhile, are 'a very simple form of pop art' and the movement itself 'is not confined to normal channels of appreciation as other art is'. Pete also talks about the 'freedom' of his musical tastes, which probably came as a shock to parents at home who didn't know about his brass-band running dad. The best lines though are saved to last and still follow The Who around to this day even if they are clearly a little tongue-in-cheek even if Pete was probably airing some genuine grievances too. Interestingly they split the band into 'four faces' rather than emphasising their solidarity, with the character assasinations here more or less fitting the four descriptions of the different Jimmys in 'Quadrophenia': 'We get on as a group very badly. The singer is a Shepherd's Bush geezer who wants everything to be a big laugh and when it isn't he thinks something's gone terribly wrong. The drummer is sort of a completely different person to anyone else I've ever met. The bass player, he just doesn't seem to be very interested in anything which makes it very difficult. We gave him a Union Jack jacket to wear once and, you know, he just didn't do anything whereas when they told me to put it on I felt quite embarrassed!' The bit that perhaps should haunt him though and everyone reading this book: 'You have to accept that a certain part of your audience is thick and don't appreciate quality however much you give it to them'. The 'A Quick One' LP, after all, is only a few months away...
9. Unknown ('Bald Headed Woman' Swedish TV 1966)
Pete talks about this song as the 'next' one, so presumably there were more tracks broadcast on an unknown Swedish show but if there are they've either been lost in time or haven't made it out of a private collection yet (as far as I know anyway). The choice of song we get is bizarre (the unloved Shel Talmy-royalty giving B-side of the band's first single, now a year old) even if as Pete says 'it was a big hit here in Sweden - though not for us!' (he probably means The Hep-Stars, a local band who scored big with this in 1963 and were, in the days before Abba, the most famous international Swedish rock band). The Who mime uncomfortably on a bizarre set which consists of the biggest set of stairs seen outside the Morecambe and Wise Show, shot from weird 'above' and 'below' angles. Roger sits at the bottom, with Pete legs astride wind-milling halfway up and John nearly hiding behind Keith.
10. Vient De Pariente ('I Can't Explain' French TV 1966)
Or 'It comes From The Pariente Theatre' as the title translates into English. The Who are well into their European TV jaunt by now which all AAA bands seemed to suffer a year into their career and from the footage seem to be hating every moment of it (except for Keith, who reckons if he's going to be forced to mime, he may as well do it with some weird-looking drums! This one's a big box with a tartan motif on it).
11. Sur Scene A Juvesy ('Substitute' 'Man With Money' 'Dancing In The Streets' French TV 1966)
No prizes for guessing this is 'The Scene At Juvesy'. This one is more interesting simply because it's a live performance, though it's not one of the band's best and their harmonies have never been flatter. A flat-footed 'Substitute' is raised considerably by a brillliantly messy guitar solo which seems to go down with the traditionally-reserved French crowd (they clearly didn't take the stereotype of 'Les Mods' to heart too much!) The only known performance of Everly Brothers cover 'Man With Money' (aside from the studio left unreleased till 1999) is messy too, but has some great fierce Moon drumming. 'Dancing In The Streets' is the best, played not with the soft sweet harmonies of the studio version but with an anger and nihilism closer to 'My Generation', with John adding some lovely harmonies alongside Roger's lead. An unusual concert this one, still officially unavailable.
12. Happy Jack (Unused Music Video December 1966)
Not seen anywhere officially until Top Of The Pops starting broadcasting it in the 2000s, this bonkers video was shot in New Action Limited (the official name for The Who's London office) on a budget of a few shillings and was perhaps a little too 'weird' for public consumption in 1966 (it's very 1967 actually!) Though the song is about a bullying victim in the Isle of Mann who refuses to let it get him down, the video is a comedy crime drama featuring Roger as a spiv look-out tossing a coin over and over, Pete and Keith trying to blow open a safe and a tattooed Entwistle deciding to give up on crime and eat cake instead! Inevitably everybody gets covered in the stuff by the end (with Keith especially playing up to the camera) before a spoil-sport policeman rushes in to end the mayhem. Something tells me The Who had been watching a lot of Laurel and Hardy films while on the road in 1966. was the Isle of Mann too far for location filming?! Included on 'Who's Better Who's Best' too.
13. Beat Club #1 ('I'm A Boy' 'Heatwave' 'Happy Jack' German TV January 1967)
The Who seem much happier over in Germany on our old friend Beat Club and I';m not surprised - if I was forced to live on a 1960s music programme forevermore a) I'd go mad and b) I'd end up strangling Cliff Richard but c) it would be Beatclub. They just seem to care more about the music and let the performers have more 'fun'. Hence the opening to a mimed 'I'm A Boy' in which Roger has his back to the cameras until his big 'reveal' in the second verse (which he gets a fraction late!) That track and 'Heatwave' sound much like the record, but 'Happy Jack' sounds as if the band are playing and singing along to me. Note German presenter Uschi Nurke giving the eye to someone on stage after her introduction, probably Roger!
14. Beat Club #2: Marquee Club Special ('Happy Jack' 'So Sad About Us' 'My Generation German TV March 1967)
You see, Germany even sent cameras over to where The Who started it all - the UK camera teams couldn't even be bothered to go a few miles down the motorway to do the same! With 'Ready Steady Go' now gone Beat Club' is clearly after The Who's services and they do them proud here with a thrilling performance by, as presenter Dave Lee Travis puts it, 'the most controversial group in England!' A rather leaden 'Happy Jack' has seen better days, but 'So Sad About Us' has never been better, with Entwistle dominating with both bass and vocals and Moon all but destroying his drum-kit as the most happy-ho-lucky song about misery ever sounds like it gets a shot of amphetamines. A gloriously ragged 'My Generation' is basically one long burst of bass feedback with a few vocals in there somewhere as the engineer again makes John the loudest thing in the band, while Pete ever so nearly thinks about smashing his guitar - and then, perhaps with the band's accountant's words ringing in his ears, decides not to right at the very end. Exhilarating. 'So Sad' later turned up on the '30 Years Of Maximum R and B' DVD.
15. Beat Club #3 ('Pictures Of Lily' German TV May 1967)
The Who have now been dropped down the bill as their star falls slightly, performing only their latest single for their third Beat Club performance.
Another straightforward mimed performance, this one is most notable for Keith's frilly shirt which makes him look like Jon Pertwee's incarnation of Dr Who and Roger trying to stay as still as possible while all hell breaks loose around him. John gets to mime his french horn parts for the first time. Included complete on 'Who's Better Who's Best' with about thirty seconds used as part of a 'hits medley' on 'The Kids Are Alright'.
16. Monterey Pop Festival ('Substitute' 'Summertime Blues' 'Pictures Of Lily' 'A Quick One While He's Away' 'Happy Jack' 'My Generation' US Concert 1967)
'This is where it all....ends!' The Who had never fully broken America until they played Monterey, their violent and angry set really standing out amongst the other hippie acts on stage. Due to perform on the final night of the weekend, legend has it that the band had it out with Jimi Hendrix over who was going to close the show and who stole whose act. In the end Hendrix lost a coin toss about who would go on last, but won all the plaudits in the media coverage (the band admitting to manager and Animal Chas Chandler that they'd seen him in London and didn't want to go out after him) though at the time the audience looked just as shocked to see The Who. That goes double for the set's most thrilling moment - a 'My Generation' in which the band break everything on stage, very nearly including the poor roadie who runs on to grab Roger's microphone stand just as Pete is getting up to full guitar-smashing mode. This is the only Who extract seen in the original 1968 D A Pennebaker movie of the festival (a film which ought to be as famous as 'Woodstock' but has always been much harder to get hold of for some reason), though you can see the whole bang lot on the pricey 'Criterion Collection: Monterey Pop' DVD released in 2004 (and more than deserving of a re-issue). None of the rest of the set quite lives up to the most famous moment and The Who perform a ragged but rather lethargic show lacking in their usual energy. However there are some great moments here even so, including a brave stab at the complex 'A Quick One' mini-opera and an early prototype of future 'Live At Leeds' standout 'Summertime Blues'. 'A Quick One' also appears on the '30 Years Of Maximum R and B' DVD. Nice costumes too - The Who almost pass as hippies!
17. Twice A Fortnight ('I Can See For Miles' UK TV 1967)
Meanwhile, back in Britain, the BBC have just found the 'psychedelic' button despite still working in monochrome. This very weird but groovy clip is one of the most famous and most-repeated Who clips of them all thanks to its inclusion in the 'Sounds Of The Sixties' compilation. It features a camera on permanent 'zoom' mode, so that the pictures 'vibrate' as much as the TV speakers (is this where the blind and deaf Tommy came from, thanks to this assault on most of the senses?) and the camera keeps switching back between close-ups of all four band members and a picture of a random old man. Watch out for John's cheeky grin when he realises the camera is on him! The Who were one of several 'musical interludes' in this early version of Monty Python's Flying Circus which starred Michael Palin and Terry Jones alongside a pore-Goodie Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden. Sadly this seems to be the only episode of the show that exists - The Who faring far luckier with their one and only appearance on the show than their many on 'Ready Steady Go!' Oddly, not officially available to own as yet, though it always seems to be on telly, at least in the UK.
18. Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour ('I Can See For Miles' 'My Generation' September 1967)
'That's not playing the guitar - that was bowling!' Another very famous clip, one which opens the 'Kids Are Alright' film thanks to the Brothers' opening patter about who the group are which gets sent up pricelessly ('my friends call me Keith but you can call me John!') The Smothers Brothers were a quite irritating pair of comedians who were about as hip as, well, a square man. Their variety show always needed livening up with something and The Who proceed to do just that, with Keith Moon emptying half a tonne of explosives into his drum-kit during rehearsals. The unexpected boom is enough to make an off-stage Bette Davis faint into the arms of fellow guest Mickey Rooney (who probably couldn't believe his luck) and set Pete's hair alight (he also blames the incident for ruining his hearing in later life, though to be fair all those gigs probably played a part in that too). Moon's manic glee a few moments before as he prepares to leg it for the wings (John moves away slowly and calmly, Roger looks shocked) before lying face down on the stage floor grinning is an integral part of The Who's history and one of the band's most popular clips. However there are other great moments here that always gets overlooked too. 'I really dig these guys' says Tommy Smothers insincerely. 'Hah!' laughs Keith rather pointedly. Pete's guitar smashing is caught at its earliest and most aggressive here and his re-action to the carnage and his sizzling hair is to take the presenter's guitar and smash that too. Meanwhile Keith's drum-stick flying is really coming along nicely by this stage and the camera can barely keep its eyes off him even before he blows half the studio up to kingdom come. Glorious carnage that must have scared the hell out of everyone watching in America in 1967. A rather less eventful 'I Can See For Miles', recorded on location across America and more of a collage than a performance, was also screened earlier on the same show and features on the 'Who's Better Who's Best' DVD.
19. Die Jungen Nachtwandler ('Glittering Girl' German TV 1967)
Germany got a really unusual and exclusive clip as they try to film a documentary around the Track Records office. As well as shots of Kit and Chris in conversation with their secretary, Pete busks a new song for the rest of the band he's just written named 'Glittering Girl', which will be recorded for 'Who Sell Out' but won't make the final record. Though Pete insists this will be a big production with clattering drums (much like the final band version), this solo version is very different and pure folk-rock. Kit seems thrilled so it's a surprise it didn't make the record, though he agrees with the writer that the middle eight is pitched 'very high'. The Who try it out on stage, with Roger singing the song (it's Pete on the record) and Pete arguing with Kit over which bit is the middle eight! For perhaps the only time in Who history Pete, Roger and John all share the same microphone! A terrific, rare and revealing clip still sadly unavailable anywhere at present.
20. Call Me Lightning (Music Video 1968)
You'll know the footage if not the song - it was chosen as the 'Keith Moon tribute' in the 'Kids Are Alright' film (released after Keith had died but he had seen an early cut) but with 'Cobwebs and Strange' overdubbed over the top. Originally this video was meant to plug The Who's forgotten 1968 single and is kinda The Who's low budget version of 'Magical Mystery Tour'. It's a silent film (well, apart from the music - there are captions!) and features a bored Peter, Roger and John having a tea party before they find a mysterious box with an inert Keith sitting inside. Soon he wakes up - and how! - and starts madly running round the studio lot while dressed up as a robot as the others try to catch him with brooms. A recovering Keith thanks the others for getting a 'hypnotic helmet' off him and they walk away arm in arm, till the camera cuts back to a hypnotised Pete...
21. Beat Club #4 ('Magic Bus' German TV October 1968)
Returning to Beat Club, The Who puff away on a mimed version of another 1968 single underneath a large 'Beat Club' sign. Though the song is one of their weirdest and most popular, they turn in a rather boring performance of the song by Who standards (even Keith doesn't get up to too much mischief banging two sticks of wood together), which might be why this is one of the few TV appearances of the 1960s not officially released on something complete though you can see thirty seconds' worth on 'The Kids Are Alright' (The Who's Better Who's Best set replaces it with footage of the band on tour and playing on a tram!)
22. Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus ('A Quick One' Unscreened December 1968)
'Now ladies and gentlemen, dig The Who!' The Rolling Stones didn't release their circus TV show for all sorts of plausible reasons: their own performance (technical delays meant the band had been up 36 hours by the time they hit the stage), Brian Jones' ill health and the fear that they would just be seen as copying 'Magical Mystery Tour' among them. However a rumour has always gone round that The Stones (then billing themselves as 'the greatest live rock and roll band in the world') were blown off-stage by The Who (the world's genuine best live rock and roll band of the period). Though The Stones' show is one of their best (especially Mick Jagger making love to the camera with his eyes for twenty whole minutes), the rumours have a point. The Who play out of their skins on their performance, pulling out all the stops and turning in perhaps their single best performance of the 1960s. 'A Quick One' is a devilishly hard song to play live with its multiple sections and the band struggled with it all through 1967 (as you can hear on Monterey) but here they're so well drilled they know the song backwards and turn in a performance that's impressively tight as well as being theatrical. Highlights include Keith Moon pouring water on his drum-kit as the same time as he smashes the cymbals, Pete and Roger wind-milling into the final section in unison, Pete getting his words the wrong way round ('I can't believe it, do my eyes deceive me, am I back in your arms away from all harm?') and a stunning 'you are forgiven' closing section that runs for hours complete with multiple 'forgivens' and the memorable chant of 'cello cello cello' where originally the string overdubs were meant to go (before the band found out they couldn't afford it!) Who needs cellos when an arrangement is as strong as this? Though The Who only get one song on The Stones' special (to the main band's six) they make it count. Stunning stuff. Included, obviously, in the 'Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus' (finally released in 1997 - you can also see The Who in the audience wearing funny hats for closer 'Salt Of The Earth') and also 'The Kids Are Alright'.
23. Beat Club #5: Tommy Special ('Overture' 'Pinball Wizard' 'Tommy Can You Hear Me?' 'Go To The Mirror' 'Smash The Mirror' 'Sally Simpson' 'I'm Free' 'Tommy's Holiday Camp' 'We're Not Gonna Take It/See Me Feel Me' German TV August 1969)
'Tommy' went largely un-noticed on first release, with most of The Who's promotion being on the round rather than on telly. The exception was back in Germany where in an unprecedented move a hip and with-it Beat Club dedicated a whole episode of the show over to just one album.
Though clearly something gets in lost in translation, with the 70 minute album cut to half an hour of TV viewing and the band miming throughout, you get a lovely sense of just how visual a work 'Tommy' was even before it was a film. The opening shots of 'Overture' feature the band playing in an actual pinball machine (well, presumably it's an effect unless The Who are smaller than I'd already imagined, but it's quite an impressive effect for 1969), the album cover comes to life and whizzes across the screen and on 'I'm Free' the band play as a giant white silhouette which is so effective and still-recognisable it's a surprise the band didn't use that idea more often. So far only 'Tommy Can You Hear Me?' has been given an official release (on 'The Kids Are Alright') and it's the most unusual performance here, with the band standing in line and Keith treating the song as if it's a joyful singalong (while Roger's spoken word 'Tommy'...runs for much longer on the fade), although part of the speech is on 'The Kids Are Alright' (The German interviewer asks a very long and high-falluting question and Pete replies 'uhhhhh' and grins, leaving it unanswered). Pete gets to discuss why he wrote the work as if it's 'art', talking about Meher Baba ideas (though the guru isn't mentioned by name) and that when the mirror is smashed Tommy treats himself as a 'messianic figure' along with everyone else, even though he knows he's only human. He also argues with the presenter's interpretation of 'Sally Simpson' ('Basically it's the first affection and communication he gets...so he follows it through and becomes a star in his own right, even though he doesn't really know where he's at. I know I'm in a rock and group and what we're selling, but Tommy doesn't'). The show is also notable as the first time Roger's let his hair grow out to its natural curly length and his open shirt, clearly in full rock God mode now. All that said and as good as it is, the story must have been impossible to follow for anyone watching this who hadn't bought the LP yet.
24. Woodstock ('Sparks' 'Pinball Wizard' 'We're Not Gonna Take It-See Me Feel Me' 'Summertime Blues' 'My Generation' 'Naked Eye' US Concert August 1969)
The Who took to the Woodstock stage at 5am on the Sunday morning, in between Sly and The Family Stone and Jefferson Airplane. Playing to their biggest ever crowd, The Who pull out all the stops and rise to the big occasion far more than they did at Monterey, with one of the most famous moments of the whole festival coming at around 7.45am as the band come to the conclusion of 'Tommy' and the sun begins to rise spot on cue for the finale of 'See Me, Feel Me'. Though unplanned it feels like an entirely natural re-action by the universe to a tale of the band's song of hope and love for their audience and Tommy's discovery of himself as a part of the outer world. It's an exhilarating moment, rightly appearing in both the original version of the 'Woodstock' film and 'The Kids Are Alright' film. To be honest the rest of the set doesn't come close (and it doesn't help that the band are in darkness for much of their set), although quite a lot of it (nearly half an hour's worth) has been released to date on various DVD sets: 'Pinball Wizard' and extracts from 'Sparks' and 'My Generation' are on 'The Kids Are Alright', while 'Summertime Blues' was added to the 1994 Director's Cut of 'Woodstock', the full edits of 'My Generation' and the 'We're Not Gonna Take It' section before 'See Me, Feel Me' ended up on the 40th anniversary set. 'My generation' also turned up on 'Woodstock Diaries' in 1994. Sadly the memorable moment when Abbie Hoffman tried to interrupt the show to talk about politics and got kicked off by a boiler-suited Pete doesn't seem to have been recorded or released, though audio can be heard on the '30 Years Of Maximum R and B' box set.
25. London Coliseum ('Heaven and Hell' 'Summertime Blues' 'Happy Jack''A Quick One' 'I Can't Explain' 'Young Man Blues' 'Tommy' December 1969)
With Tommy one of the year's biggest success stories the original plan was to hire a national opera house and perform 'Tommy' there as if it was a 'real' opera. The plan backfired, oddly, not because anyone said no (the Coliseum was chosen as it was English National Opera's home at the time and was thought to have the best acoustics for rock music) but because the production company filming it had a nightmare. The Who appear in near pitch-darkness throughout, while the sound is relatively flimsy compared to period Who recordings. A shame because The Who are on good form by themselves, with a rock and rolling 'Young Man Blues' was a worthy inclusion on the 'Kids Are Alright' film (sadly faded early). The highlight, an impressively together and bouncy version of 'Happy Jack', turned up on the '30 Years Of Maximum R and B' DVD too). So far that's everything that has been officially released from this show to date, but the whole gig exists and is a Yo8tube favourite for many fans - especially a fiery 'Heaven and Hell', another tight natty performance of 'A Quick One' at one of its last performances and a, well, amazing 'Amazing Journey'.
26. Tanglewood Music Shed ('Heaven and Hell' 'I Can't Explain' 'Water' July 1970)
A candidate for the Who show most fans want to see released complete on DVD, sadly licensing problems mean we've only ever seen extracts of this one to date. Perhaps the second-best Who gig after 'Live At Leeds', the band are on top form all night and play with an added bite and anger even by their own standards of destruction. Pete's guitar has never been recorded better too, with a stunning 'Heaven and Hell' where he seems to be playing three solos simultaneously! This song, plus a stunning ten minute version of 'Water' and a comparatively perfunctory version of 'I Can't Explain' were all released on '30 Years Of Maximum R and B' but another half hour of footage at least exists, all equally good. This includes such memorable and unexpected moments as a rare Keith Moon monologue ('I'd like to introduce you to our guest speaker for this evening!' *holds up a speaker* 'For God's sake sit down!' is Pete's answering cry), an intriguing lighter-than-usual version of 'I Don't Know Myself' with John heavy on the backing vocals, a fast version of 'Young Man Blues' and the first half of 'Tommy' (up to 'Christmas') sounding particularly gorgeous. The Who at the absolute top of their game, this show is a real gem. Please sort the licensing problems out now and get this show out on the shelves!
27. Isle Of Wight Festival (UK September* 1970)
The band's 'other' famous gig from their most infamous year for live performances, already covered several times in this book so we won't go through it again. All you need to know: Roger looks good in his bare-chested phase, John looks great as a glow-in0the-dark skeleton, the band are on form if not perhaps up to 'Leeds' or 'Tanglewood' kind of form and the audience are for once even more nihilistic and angry than The Who, tearing down burger vans and challenging ticket prices with the demand that music 'should be free'. The full show is available on DVD, though unlike the CD the performance has been re-arranged so 'Tommy' comes last not in the middle and followed by encores, while 'Young Man Blues' and 'I Don't Even Know Myself' additionally appear on '30 Years Of maximum R and B'.
28. Top Of The Pops #1 ('Won't Get Fooled Again' 1971)
Meet The Who band - same as the old band! The most common of The Who's three surviving TOTP clips (there were many more, most of them in the 1960s and all sadly wiped), this mimed version of the four-minute single edit (to be honest it sounds like Roger singing along with the record) cuts out most of the drama but keeps in most of the mayhem, with a by-now bearded band (well, Pete and John) going all-out as they entertain the BBC crowds after a lengthy gap away making 'Who's Next' and struggling with 'Lifehouse'. Though often repeated, this clip has never been released on anything official as yet.
29. Join Together (Music Video 1972)
The Who's first music video in six years is a surprise. The original intention for the song, in context as part of the plot of 'Lifehouse', was the power of music to unite people separated from each other in their own homes. So what better way to celebrate the single's release than with a video where the audience invade the stage and sing along with the band? A good idea on paper, it all seems a bit un-Who-like when seen in actuality, although at least you do get to see Roger puffing on a giant mouthorgan and some lucky crowd members got to see Keith playing the drums close-up! Included on 'Who's Better Who's Best'.
30. Russell Harty Plus (UK TV January 1973)
The Myers-Briggs Theory says that we are all one of sixteen personality types (and there I was thinking I was bleeding quadrophonic). Keith Moon is surely an ENFP type, loud proud and mischevous. Pete Townshend is clearly an INFJ, worried arty and usually quiet. Of all the types that get together in pairs, though, this one is notorious as being the most destructive double-act of all time and so it proves here, with Pete and Keith egging each other on something rotten and preventing the hapless (and admittedly rather hopeless) presenter from saying a word. Pete knocks over an amplifier and apologies, Russell tries to make sensible chat with Roger ('a former sheet-metal worker') and John before wishing he hadn't asked Pete, with Keith interrupting (work? him? Arty farty he was, at art college!) Things go downhill from there, with Keith determined to show off his naked torso on television and ripping Pete's shirt to show off his pal's arm muscles from all the wind-milling he does. Russell looks on astonished, unable to say anything and wishing the ground would swallow him up while Pete giggles and Roger and John have the look of people who've witnessed this sort of thing a million times already - that day probably. A classic clip rarely seen in full though bits of it are scattered through 'The Kids Are Alright'.
31. Top Of The Pops #2 ('5:15' 1973)
Presenter Noel Edmonds is wrong when he says 'The Who haven't had a single out in two years' (it's not quite been one, but it has admittedly been a couple since last big hit 'Won't Get Fooled Again'). This is the period when TOTP went back to being a live rather than mimed show and you can tell that the band are a little rusty, with Pete flat on the opening verse, Roger doing a gonzo impersonation of a train and the band resorting to singing along with the record from the moment Roger starts singing. An angry Who didn't enjoy this performance (did they know something about other presenter Jimmy Saville?) and Pete recalls in his book 'Who I Am' his anger at being told 'how to play' by the TOTP producer. So he smashed his guitar at the end for the first time in years (he regretted it instantly - it was one of his favourites, a present from Joe Walsh and he and his roadie couldn't stick it back together again) and - thankfully off-camera - he mooned the unreceptive audience before walking off. The current poor reception to 'Quadrophenia' probably didn't help his mood much either. A rarely seen clip as a result of all this mayhem and The Who were banned from the show for five years for their scandalous behaviour! (They'll be back after six).
32. Old Grey Whistle Test ('Long Live Rock' 'Relay' 1973)
As whispering Bob says 'for my money no other band have given so much for as long as The Who' and the band prove why with a much happier appearance on BBC2's more 'grown-up' music show where they get to play some rarities rather than just the hits. And what a choice: 'Relay' was a flop single from the year before and this is the only known Who live recording of this 'Lifehouse' song (the soundtrack was also lifted for the 'BBC Sessions' CD), which is a shame because it sounds quite powerful live. 'Long Live Rock', meanwhile, as at the time unreleased and was a 1972 outtake written for Billy Fury to sing on the 'That'll Be The Day' film before inspiring the 'Quadrophenia' story. The Who play it more tentatively than the studio take but there's a lot of gusto energy and enthusiasm here too. Both songs are included on volume two of the 'Old Grey Whistle Test - The Definitive Collection' set.
33. The Hague ('Summertime Blues' 'Won't Get Fooled Again' 'My Generation' 'See Me Feel Me' Holland March 1973)
Even by Who standards, this is an exceptionally aggressive show. We don't know whether than band had a big blow-up on stage or whether they were re-acting to the poor crowd response to the introduction of 'Quadrophenia' on this tour (None of which have appeared officially to date) or whether the band just got out of the wrong side of the bed that morning, but 'My Generation' especially has never sounded more muscly or frustrated. That's the highlight here, but a weird 'Summertime Blues', with John sticking rigidly to the bottom notes of his bass while Keith hammers away at his drums as if he's putting up a particularly heavy shelf, is of note too. The world-weary aggression should be well-suited to 'Won't Get Fooled Again' too, but somehow without that lightness of touch the song feels like a lead weight rather than dancing the way the record and most live performances do, while a closing 'See Me Feel Me' feels more like hell than a hymn as usual. Still, this is a mighty impressive gig, which sadly only seems to exist as a half-hour extract, possibly filmed by a fan near the end of the show when he could risk being caught and thrown out! Even so, The Who commandeered the use of 'My generation' for the '30 Years Of maximum R and B' DVD.
34. Who Put The Boot In - Charlton Athletic Club (1974)
The Who mainly took a year off in 1974 but the few gigs they did play were all big ones, with this one filling out a football stadium. It's hard to say whether The Who really 'score' on this set, which is clearly more ragged than their previous sets but not quite as ropey as their later ones (so it's a draw?) Keith is on particularly hot form though, being the member of the band who most hated having time off: his entrance onto the stage after nearly a year away is an impressive forward roll and as well as some sizzling drumming he also gets to sing simultaneously on a moving version of 'Bell Boy' which is the highlight here, even if The Who are obviously playing to a click-track to keep them all in time. So far just four songs have been released from this show, all on '30 Years Of Maximum R and B': a messy 'Substitute', a raucous 'Drowned' (with some impressive bluesy harmonica and howls from Daltrey) and a clunky 'My Generation Blues' which never really worked at a slow tempo even if that's how the band originally intended to sing it. Overall, though, this looks like a great show - so where's the rest of it?!
35. Live At The Summit, Houston, Texas (US November 1975)
This show from a year later is out, however and is the latest official DVD from The Who camp at the time of writing. In many ways it's a strange show to release - the band seem tired and introduce relatively little to the setlist from the just-out 'Who By Numbers' LP meaning that of all their tours this is probably the least interesting since the early days. As the album puts it, they're too old to give up and too young to rest. Which is a shame because it's the new songs that work best: 'However Much I Booze' is far more aggressive and defensive than the album version and is verging on punk, while a noisy thrash through 'Dreaming From The Waist' is about as close as the band ever came to the day they couldn't control themselves. Elsewhere it's business as usual, with lots of old friends sounding a little worse for wear with the only real difference being a spiky introduction to 'Behind Blue Eyes' from Keith ('This features, Pete, John and Roger but not necessarily in that order. I don't sing on this one and only appear at the end which is when it takes off!') The revival of 'Tommy' is particularly under-par and not a patch on the 1969-1970 versions, with Pete messing around with the echo pedal on his guitar and several of the best songs missing to keep the song list down (it even starts with a particularly underwhelming 'Amazing Journey', thus cutting out most of the first quarter hour!) Which is not to say that this set is bad - The Who were occasionally rusty but never truly bad - just that there are better full shows deserving release than this slightly sorry for itself return from a lengthy hibernation.
36. Cleveland ('Dreaming From The Waist' US December 1975)
The band are, for instance, flying on the only known clip from this gig known to exist - a much stronger and lighter-on-it's-feet version of 'Waist'. Presumably the rest of the show has been kept out of sight because it was filmed in monochrome from a distance and Roger's vocal is a few beats behind everyone else, but in musical terms this one's a cracker: Pete's wild desperate guitar stabs work so well against Roger's solid presence and John and Keith are the ultimate support act here, nailing the song's tricky time changes with aplomb. Though the band are only a month on from the last gig, they sound like an entirely different band, with Pete jumping three times in the noisy conclusion alone and Roger in prime microphone-twirling mode. Included on '30 Years Of Maximum R and B' where it's one of the best things on the DVD.
37. Pontiac Silverdome ('Pinball Wizard' 'I'm Free' 'Tommy's Holiday Camp' 'We're Not Gonna Take It' 'Summertime Blues' 'My Generation' 'Join Together' 'Roadrunner' 'My Generation Blues' 'Won't Get Fooled Again' Live US December 1975)
Easily the weakest inclusion in the 'Kids Are Alright' film and soundtrack album is the plodding ten minute medley of Bo Diddley's 'Roadrunner' and a turgid 'My Generation Blues' slowed beyond all comprehension. The song starts off well enough, with a noisy slide down the strings of Townshend's guitar before he does a Chuck Berry duckwalk across the stage which has to be seen to be believed, but the band are a little leaden and the sound of the show isn't great either. The rest of the gig, still officially unseen, isn't a lot better with The Who still ploughing through Tommy night after night without any of the enthusiasm of old and 'Pinball Wizard' especially has lost his magic coat of many colours by this point. The encores of an unexpected 'Join Together' and a fiery 'Won't Get Fooled Again' are a little better though. The set list quoted above is the one that appears on Youtube - presumably more exist out there somewhere.
38. Live At Kilburn (UK 1977)
This show is available in full and it's seen by fans as Keith Moon's farewell show - though he'll be back for specially filmed 'The Kids Are Alright' features for the next two entries and played a few extra gigs towards the end of 1977, this is our last chance to see him across a full show. Given how poorly Keith was, how many drink and drug battles he was fighting and how rusty and overweight he was after another lengthy period away, this is actually a rather good set. The Who pretty much play a 'greatest hits' show with a few 'Who Are You' previews thrown in, but perhaps because of the rest they've just had play with a lot more enthusiasm than they did in 1975. They do, however, play slower (mostly to accomodate Keith's ill health) and though their bark is as strong as ever they don't always have the bite to back it up, so these shows do tend to get mixed receptions from fans. The band clearly aren't playing as well as they were in 1970 but to these ears they've covered up the cracks in the band well, with songs that may be slow but are very much sturdy, with new chances for sizzling slow-motion guitar leads and a much stronger presence from John's bass, which is always a good thing. 'Baba O'Riley' sounds especially good in this new setting, sounding old and tired six years on from the 'teenage wasteland' and with John's bass rumbling like a warning siren throughout the whole song, while a messier but still fun 'Dreaming From The Waist' with Pete po-going like a punk Tigger probably takes the silver. A much better show than reputation and time period would suggest.
39. Shepperton Studios Clips For 'The Kids Are Alright' Film ('Who Are You' 'Barbara Ann' July 1977)
Re-assembling for the shooting of 'The Kids re Alright' film following yet more time off, Keith was clearly unwell. Director Jeff Stein was asked if he could provide footage of the band 'working' on their latest single 'Who Are You' and obliged, even if the version seen in the resulting music video isn't strictly the same version of the song. Much of the 'rehearsal' footage which tops and tales it on the 'Kids Are Alright' version is also a little disappointing, mostly consisting of 'who-wah-ooh' overdubs and handclaps (although it's always fun to see Keith getting competitive with Pete and John raising his eyebrows in mock horror as he's the only person doing things properly!) Though like the rest of the 'Who Are You' album the finished version is overdub city (to cover up an ailing Keith), The Who could still play with power and magic at times as the bulk of the rehearsal footage proves, with the band really nailing the song's slinky groove. His work done, Stein then had the enviable position of being able to request songs from the band. Jim wasn't expecting this and when asked to come up with something on the spot surprised everyone in the room by requesting EP cover 'Barbara Ann'. Though Keith is clearly thrilled to be singing lead one last time, he struggles to drum at the same time and the result is chaos, with Roger struggling to keep the band going through a set of 'bah bah bahs' and clearly getting frustrated when his bandmates won't play. A more organised Stein will hire the band again to shoot versions of two key tracks he was lacking 'definitive' versions of.
40. Rampart Studios Clips For 'The Kids Are Alright' Film ('Baba O'Riley' 'Won't Get Fooled Again' May 1978)
As production neared an end, Stein made a request to the band to reconvene after yet another lengthy break to provide him releasable live versions of 'Baba O'Riley' and 'Won't Get Fooled Again' and hired an audience of 500 Who fans for the day. Out of practice and increasingly frustrated at their inability to nail the old magic, Townshend especially grew grumpy and un-cooperative as The Who kept edging towards a finish only to collapse in the middle of both songs. Urged to keep going, a full passable take was rejected because Stein still wanted something bigger and grander as the conclusion to his film. A snarling Townshend decleared that they would give the two songs one last chance and would pull out all the stops because they weren't doing it again - and they do. The footage of both songs is sizzling, with Stein choosing to pretty much bookend the film with them, placing them third and last respectively in the song list. Though Keith struggles just to keep upright on the chair, everyone else is magnificent: Roger, his long curly locks about to shorn, is at the end of his time as rock giant here and roars out all his soul here on both tracks, John keeps the band together with some truly jaw-dropping bass playing (you can actually listen to John's isolated bass tracks on the disc of extras that comes with the DVD of 'Kids' and it's super-human), while Pete parodies himself, mugging all his vocal lines, entering while banging a tambourine like an oversized dwarf from 'Snow White', jumping like a hyperactive toddler on acid and sliding across the stage floor on his knees during the 'scream' on 'Fooled Again' (the DVD extras also include six different camera angles from this shoot: all are tremendous, even Keith's as he cuts from intense concentration to sudden giggles at what his bandmates are up to). 'That good enough?' snarled Pete as he walked off stage after one of the best performances The Who ever gave. 'Yeah, that'll probably do' replied a still shaken director. Stein got his wish and how, with the performance of 'Fooled' especially as good as anything on the rest of the set from ten-fifteen years earlier, complete with a laser show back when lasers were still the height of technology. He also gave The Who, the band which along with The Kinks spent their whole career looking backwards, their ultimate parting present: a glorious last performance by the original line-up that's so true to their original values and talent. Many fans think they should have ended here, with Keith's relieved face and the emotional hug from Pete at the end (Roger tries to as well before a groupie nearly knocks him over!) the perfect way for this film to finish (except for an equally perfect credits sequence of lots of farewells and smashed guitars anyway!)
41. Shepperton Studios ('Sister Disco' 'Who Are You' 1979)
After taking another year off following Keith's death in September, the band reconvened back in their now new-favourite home of Shepperton Studios with new drummer Kenney Jones. The rehearsals for the band's new tour were captured for posterity as a 'new exciting chapter for The Who' but in actuality most fans see this period more as an encore nobody was asking for. The band do sound pretty good though, with Roger especially seeming more at home now that the band are back flying at full tempo again. The Moon-era Who found 'Sister Disco' too hard to play, but the band are enjoying it here and nail a pretty much perfect rehearsal take, despite the tricky changes and time signatures with 'Rabbit' Brundrick filling out the sound for the first time. A 'Who Are You' is more ragged and much more incomplete, but still sounds more than passable. The footage was left unused for another fifteen years before being included on the '30 Years Of maximum R and B' DVD.
42. Concert For The People Of Kampuchea ('Baba O'Riley' 'Sister Disco' 'Behind Blue Eyes 'See Me, Feel Me' US December 1979)
After The Concert For Bangladesh but before Live Aid there was a benefit for the refugees of Kampuchea, organised by an all-star cast including Paul McCartney, who tapped into the goodwill of a bunch of friends who'd helped on a recent recording (his 'Rockestra' theme from Wings' 'Back To The Egg' album on which Pete was one of half a dozen guitarists) and got his pals to perform too. The resulting live show was big news at the time and was a fascinating mix of the old and new (being the first high profile gig for many bands including Elvis Costello and the Attractions. The Pretenders and The B-52s), but licensing rights mean the intending film was delayed for two years (though a special was shown that Christmas) and the soundtrack album has never been re-issued. The Who are one of the best parts of the show, with their original two-hour-plus set one of their best, although officially only four songs were featured in the film and album. Though 'Baba' sounds a little flat, the other songs are all in good shape with 'Sister Disco' sounding even tighter and adrenalin-fuelled than the rehearsal take, 'Behind Blue Eyes' being gentle and sweet and unbearably poignant with a screen showing images of the disaster and a closing 'See Me Feel Me' has an added hope and optimism coming at the end of a long day of so many rockstar musicians trying to do good. Pete also turns up on the all-star 'Rockestra' ending (also playing on an all-star jam of 'Lucille') and stands to Paul's right, laughing at him and his gold lame suit (Pete was the one member of the band who refused to wear one!) This show deserves to be more widely known, The Who's set in particular.
43. International Ampitheatre Chicago ('5.15' 'My Wife' 'Music Must Change' 'Pinball Wizard' 'Drowned' 'Punk and The Godfather' US December 1979)
A few days later though The Who sound ill, a pale sweaty and out-of-it necker-chiefed Townshend especially. However, out of adversity comes some great music, with a runaway train rendition of '5.15' sounding strangely suitable, a gruff 'My Wife' sounding more horror than comedy, 'Pinball Wizard' gets tilted, 'Drowned' drowns but in a good way, 'Punk and The Godfather' grows old disgracefully and best of all a seemingly never-ending version of 'Music Must Change' that's eerily intense (Pete introduces the song, horrifically slowly, as 'being about...' loses his train of thought and ad libs '...cheese sandwiches'). Roger sings the song with a low growl while a horn section - new for this tour - attempt to keep up with Pete's gymnastics on a lengthy instrumental. Pete reaches desperately for the chords but they're not there, feeling his way back into the song after one painful wrong note after another (check out John's grimaces!) - and yet somehow even that works on this day, with the 'wrongness' only emphasising Roger's pleas that 'music must change'. Pete also insists on taking all the introductions of this TV broadcast gig, saying hello not only to his mum but his aunt, his granny and about half of his old home town of Acton! '5.15' 'Pinball' and 'Music' were all three brave inclusions on the '30 Years Of Maximum R and B' DVD.
44. Rockapalast (Germany March 1981)
With 'Beat Club' now sadly a thing of the past The Who return to Germany's latest innovation: a weekly two hour concert slot. The Who struggle here and not just in the way they had in Chicago - there's nothing wrong with Pete here and yet all the band sound a little worse for wear, with the wonkiest 'I Can't Explain' of all seventeen years' worth of performances rather setting the tone for everything that follows. The 'Face Dances' material really doesn't work well in concert either, with 'Don't Let Go The Coat' sounding particularly, well, naked and 'You Better You Bet' is at its worst. There are some good moments though: a new wave makeover for 'Drowned' which has Pete singing and Roger harmonica puffing over a jazz groove that's closer to something from a Style Council record, while Roger has now taken up jogging during 'Who Are You'. Even so, with so many great gigs out there, I'd give this so-so show a miss.
45. You Better You Bet (Music Video 1981)
The Who's biggest single in six years was surely at least in part because of how much effort the band put into promoting it. Hence this music video shot again in Shepperton Studios, perhaps the only one The Who ever did that doesn't feature one or other of them (usually Keith) messing around or getting the giggles. This one is shot in moody black-and-white and is obviously meant to show a new, maturer side to The Who, with Roger showing off his shorter locks. It's all a little bland for most fan tastes though. Included on 'Who's Better Who's Best'.
46. Top Of The Pops #3 ('You Better You Bet' 1981)
The Who's ban from TOTP now over just in time for a hit single, the band seem perkier on this mimed-with-Roger-singing version of 'You Better' even if they are dressed in brightly coloured 1980s suits. Pete has shaved his beard off in between the filming of the promo and this video.
47. Don't Let Go The Coat (Music Video 1981)
Presumably shot the same day as 'You Better', an even moodier black-and-white Who mime to this impenetrable song about fashion and spiritualism. Included on the DVD version of 'Who's Better Who's Best' as a special feature.
48. Another Tricky Day (Music Video 1981)
The last of the black-and-white Shepperton promos, this was filmed 'just in case' the album was successful enough for a third single - which was wishful thinking to be honest, with this song never released except on the album. Also included as a bonus feature on 'Who's Better Who's Best'.
49. Eminence Front (Music Video 1982)
The Who burst back into colour for the only promo shot for final album (for twenty-four years anyway) 'It's Hard'. Shot on The Who's farewell tour, the lengthy opening is set to footage of the band rehearsing, until they finally get round to playing the song from the first verse. Despite the bank of keyboards that dominate the backing track, Rabbit Brundrick is barely glimpsed in this video.
50. Shea Stadium (US October 1982)
Shot for posterity on The Who's farewell tour (well, their first farewell tour at least), the soundtrack from much of this gig ended up on the 'Who's Last' live album released in 1984. The Who are by now a shell of themselves, sounding safe and middle-aged even on the songs that once inspired them to greatness or the news songs added to the set - traditionally the ones the band had most performing. Even joyful songs like 'Athena' and 'Eminence Front' fall flat, while Roger sounds as if he's getting a cold. A sorry penultimate gig.
51. Toronto (Canada November 1982)
Though still underwhelming by their high standards, the very final show in Canada - broadcast on pay-per-view TV - is at least an improvement with the band pulling out more of the stops, if not quite all of them. Soe moments really fly on this set, the best of them live versions of the 'It's Hard' songs also released as bonus tracks on the CD re-issue (particularly a leery 'Dangerous', a melancholy 'Cry If You Want' which ends in howls of feedback and a weary 'It's Hard' prefaced by Pete's memorable introduction 'It's not hard at all really - what's hard is making it stay hard. You don't understand what I'm saying do you?!', mixing Meher Baba with sexual innuendo like the glory days of old). Also released on DVD, this show is a worthy one for fans to collect but you don't need to go out of your way to see it unless you're a real 'Ooligan.
52. Live Aid ('Love Reign O'er Me' 'Won't Get Fooled Again' July 1985)
The Who didn't have that long to wait before coming out of hibernation, reforming three years later at Bob Geldof's request for 'Live Aid'. The band, still with Kenney Jones on drums, are clearly rusty and a little slow, but they still pack an emotional punch and especially with their apt choice of song. 'Love Reign O'er Me' is a little busy, but this song calling for love and peace is a good fit for the cause, while a usually cynical 'Won't Get Fooled Again' is played with much more joy and hope than usual. The band are visibly older, Roger comes in early on the 'move myself and my family aside' verse and the sound is closer to 1982 than 1972, but The Who still put on a great show.
53. Tommy Live - Los Angeles 1989
The Who's reunion tour four years later confused many though. Too soon to be missed and not yet ready for the re-appraisal most 1960s bands got in the 1990s, The Who quickly grew bored with this lengthy tour and admitted after John's death that they'd done it purely for the money - specifically to save the bass player from bankruptcy. The Who now have multiple extras on stage - Paul's younger brother Simon on guitar, a sea of backing singers including Track Records co-star Billy Nicholls, a full horn section and Pete Townshend's new ponytail. Plus guest stars who to be honest keep getting in the way: Phil Collins is embarrassing as Uncle Ernie (played without Keith's twinkling friendly eyes), Billy Idol is miscast as Cousin Kevin, Patti LaBelle is too squawky as The Acid Queen and even Elton John can't fill the over-sixed shoes he used to on 'Pinball Wizard'. The 'Greatest Hits' segment is better, thanks to such rarities as 'Face The Face' (from Pete's 1985 solo album 'White City' - though the title track or 'Give Blood' would have been a better fit), 'Dig' from the 'Roger Daltrey Sings Pete Townshend' album and a fun twist on 'Rough Boys' from Pete's 'Empty Glass' album. Other than that, though, is a band going through the motions and trying to become millionaires playing big stadia - The Who magic always worked better in confined spaces. Released in full on the 'Tommy/Quadrophenia/Live Hits' DVD. Tip: watch the pop-up documentary with Pete and Roger while the show runs in that background as that's truly fascinating and much more enjoyable!
54. Giants Stadium - New Jersey 1989 ('The Acid Queen' 'Pinball Wizard' 'A Little Is Enough' 'Boris The Spider' 'I Can See For Miles' 'See Me Feel Me')
THis show from the same tour seems a little bit better, even though it's only been seen in part so far, with the first three songs - not played at LA - ending up as extras on the 'Tommy/Quad/Live Hits' DVD set and the last three turning up as the big finale to '30 Years Of Maximum R and B'. A wonky 'Boris' is easily the best thing here, with John having fun doing his bass vocals and Pete having even more fun at the end when he pretends to see Boris running across the stage floor and tried to smash him with his guitar (don't worry, he's fine!) It's interesting to hear a band tale on 'A Little Is Enough' too, though as Pete still sings lead and the bass is inaudible it really isn't all that different. Otherwise this is more modern Who, heavy on the frills and low on the thrills.
55. Quadrophenia Tour (1996-1997)
The second reunion tour was better, with Alex Langdon making for a good Jimmy on-screen. These interruptions between the songs are the perfect solution to The Who's original tour dilemma (Roger felt the songs needed a storyline and an explanation - Pete just wanted to get on with them) and Roger felt more creative input, having written most of the script and directed the visuals. Zak Starkey, Keith's Godson and Ringo junior, is also as good a replacement for Moon as the band have ever found or could hope to find, with the music much tighter too. The special guests are also far better choices: with 1960s nearly kid PJ Proby as an ok Godfather and Billy Idol stealing the show by alternating between strutting ace face and persecuted Bell Boy, complete with baggage as he walks off stage! I wouldn't say 'Quadrophenia' had never sounded better - this live tour still isn't a patch on the original record and even the original troubled tour of 1972 is better - but it's easily the best of The Who's reunion tours so far. So why was a soundtrack CD never issued, complete with dialogue? The visuals, however, can be seen on the 'Quadrophenia/Tommy/Live Hits' set, complete with a five-song encore of the usual suspects included on the 'Hits' disc.
56. 'The Vegas Job' (US 1999)
In case you hadn't guessed, John needed money again so The Who went back out on tour with their simplest and most fan-friendly set yet. Released on DVD as quickly as possible, this seemed a pointless release back at a time when so many past gigs weren't officially available. The Who do play with a little more life than in 1989, but not too much and few songs really catch the ear. Even the surprises, like a revived 'Anyway Anyhow Anywhere', sounds awful with a gruff Pete attempting to sing back-up vocals and a chugging ten-minute 'Magic Bus' sounding more like a rail replacement service than the days of old. This is a miserable DVD from a band that got old before they could die.
57. Royal Albert Hall (UK 2000)
This gig from a year later and back home in London is better, thanks mainly to being braver. Pete shines on a four-song acoustic spot in the middle (with excellent versions of 'I'm One' and an unexpected 'Heart To Hang Onto' from his 'Rough Mix' collaboration with Ronnie Lane. The guests are a bad idea though: Noel Gallgher is inaudible on 'Won't Get Fooled Again', Paul Weller over-sings 'So Sad About Us' and Bryan Adams sounds confused on 'Behind Blue Eyes', while poor Roger Daltrey is left on stage twiddling his thumbs and watching some strangers all but ruin 'his' songs. The gig does feel like a big special occasion though which in many ways it is, being the last gig on home-soil with John Entwistle in the group.
58. Live In Boston (US September 2002)
This is the very last with John though, an American show filmed for posterity because it happened to be the last in the tour and The Who thought they might not play for a while -actually Pete and Roger were back within weeks as a way of coping with their grief. Released in tribute to the bass player a couple of years later, it's not exactly the way most fans would choose to remember him, with The Ox's usually nimble fingers showing signs of slowing and his 'My Wife' cameo gruffer than ever. To be fair it's just a one-off bad gig, which every musician has, but John would no doubt cringe if he knew this ended up being his last musical will and testament and would hate having this show on sale. Even the modern Who have played better gigs than this - give it a miss, especially at the current price!
59. Real Good Looking Boy (Music Video 2004)
A rarely seen video for a rarely heard song, this Entwistle tribute was released on the end of the 'Then and Now' compilation and is a tribute for three separate people: John, Keith and Elvis, whose pictures dominate the opening of the video. The whole video is a collage of old footage, most of which are old friends that have already appeared on this list umpteen times, but there's still much here a hardened fan might not now, including some moving shots of Keith in silhouette waving to the camera. The video ends with *that* hug from the end of 'The Kids Are Alright'.
60. Live 8 ('Who Are You' 'Won't Get Fooled Again' July 2005)
Twenty years after 'Live Aid' the world still had problems and Bob Geldof was still just about a national treasure rather than a nutter banned from most chat-shows, so The Who came a-running when he needed another favour. The G8 world leaders were meeting to decide climate change - yeah, right, let's get the richest people from the richest countries to care about what happens to the poor, right? - and Geldof wanted to make an ecological message heard. The Who perform near the end of the event, just before Pink Floyd and Paul McCartney and come close to stealing the stage from both, even with just two songs. 'Fooled Again' is back to the old cynical sound, very different to the 'Live Aid' version nearly twenty years to the day earlier, while 'Who Are You' is played with a real fire and aggression again. Many reviewers commented that The Who sounded like a much younger band than most of the genuinely young acts taking the stage that night. Oh and you have to love Peter Kay's introduction where he gets everyone excited by talking about a terrific band from the past that everyone has come to see...and he jokes that it's The Spice Girls instead (such a tease!)Perhaps the best of the post-1981 Who performances, so it's a shame they couldn't play a longer set.
61. T In The Park ('See Me Feel Me' UK 2006)
More of the same but not quite as good, with a moving 'See Me Feel Me' broadcast as part of a festival highlights set with the band playing on full power even if they can't quite match the power of their Live 8 show.
62. Glastonbury #1 ('I Can't Explain' 'The Seeker' 'Anyway Anyhow Anywhere' 'Fragments' 'Who Are You?' 'Behind Blue Eyes' 'Baba O'Riley' 'Relay' 'You Better You Bet' 'My Generation' 'Won't Get Fooled Again' 'The Kids Are Alright' 'Pinball Wizard' 'Amazing Journey > Sparks' 'See Me Feel Me' 'Tea and Theatre' June 2007)
Why did it take so long for The Who to play Glastonbury, Britain's biggest outdoor festival? The shows had been running most years since 1969 (with very English breaks every fourth year so the field could recover and crops could grow on it!) and organiser Michael Eavis said before the band took the stage that he'd wanted the band for years - equally The Who had always wanted to play. A more intimate experience than most festivals, it's the perfect breeding ground for their 'listening to you' audience re-action although despite that this show still isn't quite as together and well-disciplined as the Live 8 one, with a tendency to ramble during the solos. half of the full show was broadcast on BBC TV and was particularly moving for the final encore of 'Tea and Theatre' with Pete and Roger performing alone, the rest of the band having left the stage as they drink a toast to friends past. Of the oldies a surprise revival of 'Relay' works best, with The Who representing the 'old' guard of musicians on a day when they themselves have watched many of the 'new'.
63. Superbowl ('Pinball Wizard' 'Baba O'Riley' 'Who Are You?' 'Won't Get Fooled Again' February 2010)
I'm told the Superbowl is a big thing in America, with American Football games played out to easily the biggest crowds The Who had faced since Woodstock. Playing their half-time shows is a big deal publicity-wise them, so it was quite something for a 'umble 'Oo from London, England to get the gig in the first place. I doubt many new fans came from this show though as Roger's voice is hoarse, Pete seems unhappy and the four song set of standard favourites never really catches fire. It's still a lot more entertaining than watching grown men throw themselves on top of each other to gain custody of a leather ball though.
64. London Olympics Closing Ceremony ('Baba O'Riley' 'See Me Feel Me' 2012)
Appearing at the end of the Olympics, after Ray Davies turned up in a London taxi, Oasis sang 'Wonderwall' minus the song's composer Noel Gallagher and a reunion of - dear God it happened for real - The Spice Girls, The Who played another standard two-song set pitched somewhere between their recent brilliance and hopelessness. The Who must have been used to playing to big crowds by this time but still sounded nervous on the night, with 'See Me Feel Me' never quite taking off despite the globalness of the event.
65. Sandy Relief Concert ('Pinball Wizard' 'Baba O'Riley' 'Bell Boy' US 2012)
By now The Who were all but honorary Americans and played their part in raising money for the victims of a hurricane that had swept across the country. The band play some unusual tracks at this show, three of which were screened as part of an all-star night, with 'Bell Boy' the most moving. Instead of replacing Keith, the band play right along with him as thanks to the wonders of technology the performance from Charlton in 1974 appears on the screen, while the band turn round to face their old drummer and offer salute. Even though other bands did it first, this is still a very moving moment.
66. Glastonbury #2 ('Who Are You?' 'The Seeker' 'The Kids Are Alright' 'I Can See For Miles' 'My Generation' 'Pictures Of Lily' 'Behind Blue Eyes' 'Bargain' 'Join Together' 'You Better You Bet' 'Love Reign O'er Me' 'Eminence Front' 'Amazing Journey > Sparks' 'Pinball Wizard' 'See Me Feel Me' 'Baba O'Riley' 'We Won't Get Fooled Again-Cook's County' UK June 2015)
The Who's second Glastonbury set was even better than their first and was touted at the time as a possible 'farewell gig' (yeah right, we've been saying that for the past fifteen entries!) It's a moving one that takes the band full circle in many ways, with the band back to their angry and nihilistic best, with several digs at the recent UK election (The Conservatives got back in again despite the mega harm they'd done to the poor and disabled - and despite some serious cheating that should have resulted in a whole new election!) The highlight is a stunning finale of 'We Won't Get Fooled Again' that's sung with real venom and anger, the song deviating unexpectedly into the 'people are suffering - say it again and again and again!' refrain from 'Cook's County', a song from 'It's Hard' never before played on stage. Though nobody quite smashes anything at this gig, the band come close with this the most dangerous performance they'd played in many a decade and with so many unexpected songs in the setlist you never quite knew what was coming next. A sweet 'The Kids Are Alright', an urgent 'The Seeker' (recently featured on the 'Rock Band' music game) and a wild-eyed 'Eminence Front' being three of the best. Not quite up to 'Live 8' still, but arguably the best of the full-length 'modern' Who gigs out there.
67. Hyde Park (UK 2015)
This return to London, however, isn't quite in the same league with the band a bit calmer and, well, older in the performance and with less surprises and more crowd-pleasers in the mix. It's still a strong place to end though, with an even better, funkier 'Seeker' wrapping up our list quite nicely.
Well, that's it for another week. Join us for the best of the unreleased Who recordings next week, just as soon as your eyes and ears have recovered!