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AMAZING JOURNEY

The Who

 

Proto-Prog

3.15 | 9 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

fuxi
Prog Reviewer
3 stars When AMAZING JOURNEY came out, it was praised just about everywhere for its rare and early footage but, as an old Who hand, I must admit it didn't show me a staggering amount of scenes I had never watched before.

The story of the Who, you see, had already been told in at least two earlier films: first there was THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT (1979), a joky extravaganza which was released as an actual motion picture, and then we got THIRTY YEARS OF MAXIMUM R&B (1994), a video documentary which was released to coincide with a fascinating (but flawed) box set (with 4 CDs) bearing the same title.

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT (now available on DVD, in an expanded version) and (especially) THIRTY YEARS OF MAXIMUM R&B did their job thoroughly and overwhelmed the Who fan with a wide range of audio-visual material, ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. But apparently Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey decided the story of their band still hadn't been told properly; hence their decision to surprise the world with AMAZING JOURNEY.

It must be admitted AMAZING JOURNEY tells the history of the Who more grippingly (and far more flashily) than ever before. Daltrey and Townshend (with a little help from colleagues, former managers and friends) cast a lot of light on the way their band developed into one of the most exciting live acts on the planet, on their slow decline and eventual recovery (in the new millennium). As one previous reviewer remarked, the story of how Daltrey (an indifferent vocalist at first) developed the Who's true voice (paving the way for such glorious albums as WHO'S NEXT and QUADROPHENIA) is particularly exciting. Proper homage is also paid to Keith Moon's extraordinary way of drumming. Every now and then you will hear some idiot exclaim that Moon's playing was technically flawed. Such people really ought to be banished to a desert island with nothing but LIVE AT LEEDS and WHO's NEXT to listen to!

But is AMAZING JOURNEY an essential buy? The main problem with this set is that it's a documentary, not a concert film or a compilation of concerts. THIRTY YEARS OF MAXIMUM R&B told the band's story more slowly, mainly using footage of complete, uninterrupted songs (including some real marvels, such as vintage performances of 'Water', 'Young Man Blues', 'Dreaming from the Waist' and 'Music Must Change'). AMAZING JOURNEY, on the other hand, fits the 21st century and seems intended for people with an extremely short attention span. As in far too many TV documentaries, a song is introduced only by its opening riff and first few verses. If you're lucky, you get as far as the chorus, but then one of the interviewees inevitably starts talking all over it. So if you're unfamiliar with the Who's music, this DVD will not be the best place to start. Purely for the story it tells, I found AMAZING JOURNEY fascinating, but I hope the Who will come up with further DVD sets of classic concert material, similar to that magnificent 2-disc set we got from Led Zeppelin a few years ago.

fuxi | 3/5 |

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