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The Who - Maximum R&B Live CD (album) cover


The Who



3.48 | 14 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars A gorgeous two-DVD set which shows the somewhat disconcerting evolution of The Who from garage band to The Greatest Rock Band in the World (rivalled only by the Stones) and then on to burnt-out money-spinners. As an overview of the band's history, this is in many respects superior to THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT. It also has a clear advantage over the more recent AMAZING JOURNEY DVD in that only complete and uninterrupted song material is used. (And lots of it, too!) The interviews with (mainly) Messrs. Townshend, Daltrey and Entwistle are illuminating, but the set only covers the first thirty years of the band's history. As a consequence, it ends with their late 1980s decline and says nothing about their 21st century resurrection. It can also be pointed out in favour of AMAZING JOURNEY that the surviving band members there sound even more wistful and self-critical than here.

The SECOND DVD included here is a fine registration of a 1981 German gig by the Kenney Jones incarnation of the band, which I (like so many other Europeans) experienced live on TV when it was originally broadcast. No matter what you think of the FACE DANCES era, the band are in great form and give first-rate performances of "You Better You Bet", "Drowned", "Behind Blue Eyes" and many other classic tracks.

But most people will be buying this set for the first DVD. This originally appeared on video in the 1990s, but sound and image have now been cleaned up (as far as possible), and you're left with what must be the most varied archive of the Who's concert material so far compiled. I particularly enjoyed the mid-1970s stuff, especially "Dreaming from the Waist" (although the images here are VERY grainy) and "Bell Boy" with Keith Moon on drums and vocal. It's also delightful to have "Music Must Change" from 1979 (a mind-blowing, even proggy, performance this is) and "Behind Blue Eyes" performed very movingly at the Concert for Kampuchea. Even "Love Reign O'er Me" from Shea Stadium (1982) brings a tear to my eye. But the 1989 tracks from Giants Stadium (with Townshend on acoustic guitar throughout) are a real downer; did I see Daltrey end this particular concert with a gesture of despair?

When MAXIMUM R&B LIVE originally appeared on video, it also had first rate 1970 live material on it from Tanglewood (especially "Water" and "I Don't Even Know Myself"). This has now been omitted. Let's hope the entire Tanglewood concert will be released some day, as I really don't enjoy the Isle of Wight material from the same year, which has Moon using double bass drum throughout.

If you're a true Who fan, you will of course also need THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, since that particular DVD includes not only The Who at Woodstock, but also a superior version of the astonishing "Young Man Blues", and last but not least, the best ever version of A QUICK ONE (probably the band's most exhilerating live performance ever).

fuxi | 3/5 |


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