A new DVD focuses on the Who in all of their mid-1970s glory, capturing the iconic band on stage in Houston, Texas, at the start of a massive U.S. tour to promote The Who By Numbers, their seventh album.
The Who Live in Texas ’75, a 117-minute, 25-song set, arrives courtesy of Eagle Rock Entertainment on October 9, 2012. Long available only as a blurry bootleg (see embedded video below), this concert film as been carefully restored with Dolby Digital Stereo sound by Jon Astley, a longtime collaborator with the Who.
Guitarist Pete Townshend and singer Roger Daltrey, who continue today as the Who, are joined by their two late co-founding partners — drummer Keith Moon (1946-1978) and bassist John Entwistle (1944-2002).
Highlights on The Who Live in Texas ’75 include an extensive section devoted to the band’s legendary rock opera Tommy, savage new versions of of early Who hits such as “My Generation,” another tough go at Eddie Cochran’s titanic “Summertime Blues” (echoing their performance at Live at Leeds from five years before), plus more recent Who fare like “Baba O’Riley” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” as well as several deep cuts from The Who By Numbers. A complete track listing is below.
[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Having already secured the surviving members of the Who for an appearance at the Olympics, London officials made a special request: Could Keith Moon sit in? Wait, what?]
The Who by Numbers, which arrived between Quadrophenia and Who Are You, included the humorous single “Squeeze Box.” The album went Top 10, reaching No. 7 in the UK and No. 8 in America. Daltrey and Townshend have recently announced a new tour, to be called “Quadrophenia and More.”
Track listing for ‘The Who Live in Texas ’75’:
2) I Can’t Explain
3) Squeeze Box
4) Baba O’Riley
5) Boris The Spider
7) However Much I Booze
8) Dreaming From The Waist
9) Behind Blue Eyes
10) Amazing Journey
12) Acid Queen
13) Fiddle About
14) Pinball Wizard
15) I’m Free
16) Tommy’s Holiday Camp
17) We’re Not Going To Take It / See Me, Feel Me / Listening To You
18) Summertime Blues
19) My Generation
20) Join Together
21) Naked Eye
23) Won’t Get Fooled Again
24) Magic Bus
25) My Generation Blues
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on the Who. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: THE WHO: In a way, the Who has no one to blame for a slow and steady slide into overlooked rock-god status. There were simply too many concert jaunts between its most recent releases of new material in 1982’s It’s Hard and 2006’s Endless Wire, cash-ins that forever connected the band with oldies tours. They lost a generation of fans, and became a conversation-piece antique along the way. Before that, weighty pretensions surrounding sprawling projects like Tommy, and replicating their success, had already slowed the Who. Then the group lost both drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle. Yet there’s no denying, if you dig into the stacks, this band’s shuddering energy — equal parts speed, raw fury and rangy emotion. (Oh, and a little nudge-nudge humor here and there, too.) We decided to start digging.
ON SECOND THOUGHT: ENDLESS WIRE (2006): Not everyone’s going to be convinced this is the Who. There were more shades of Townshend’s solo career than of his old band here, aside from obvious and questionable nods to “Baba O’Riley” in the album opener “Fragments.” And there were theatrical elements Townshend certainly would have liked to have pulled off with the Who but they wouldn’t have let him when all four were alive — such as the unintentionally comical vocals of “In The Ether,” where Townshend attempted to channel Tom Waits (and failed, miserably) and the overly emotive and, again, oddly sung “Trilby’s Piano.” But then there were songs where the spirit of the old Who shines through, such as on “Fragments” (after the “Baba”-derived opening, that is), and the “Who Are You”-ish “Mike Post Theme,” among others.
THE WHO – WHO’S NEXT (1971): If you haven’t heard Who’s Next, you owe it to yourself to hear one of the few albums in my collection that is worth the hype it has had heaped on it. What I will say is those formerly angry Who-philes must have been happy, indeed: This remaster felt both warmer and somehow more crisp than the previous issue. I could find no fault in this new mix. What was in the previous issue has been improved upon, but it’s obvious that there was a much more spacious soundstage present. Drums reflected the cavernous room they were recorded in, vocals vibrated as if they’re right there next to you (one moment in “Bargain,” where Pete Townshend takes over lead, seems to almost float in mid-air), guitars have a more immediate, sharp insistence, while John Entwistle’s bass bobs and weaves more clearly in the background. (Always a good thing, Entwistle being one of the most fascinating bassists I’ve ever heard.) Be warned, though: The live material is rough; these takes are some of the earliest representations of the Who’s Next material before it had the edges smoothed off and kinks worked out.
THE WHO – LIVE AT THE ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL 1970 (1996): You’re to be forgiven — even if you were there — for missing this one. Seems, because of lengthy set overruns by the bands that preceded them, the Who didn’t take the stage at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival until the no-kidding hour of 3 a.m. (The bill that year included, among others, the Doors, whose frontman Jim Morrison was on a five-day bail after an obscenity charge.) This recalled the Who’s memorable pre-dawn performance stateside at Woodstock, when morning actually broke as the group worked toward the thematic climax of its celebrated rock-opera “Tommy.” The middle of the night, in retrospect, feels like the perfect setting for a then-dangerous rock conglomerate whose sound was never accurately replicated inside the confines of any recording studio. This is the Who in all its ragged glory, before time took drummer Keith Moon and John Entwistle, before “Tommy” became a triumph-turned-millstone that dragged the band under.