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The Who - The Who at Kilburn: 1977 CD (album) cover


The Who



3.73 | 14 ratings

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3 stars Angry and wasted, and still not to be missed!

The Kilburn gig was supposed to be filmed for inclusion in The Kids Are Alright film, but the band were so ashamed of the show that they threw it in the vault for decades. Being one of the last gigs to feature Keith, it was inevitable that the show would eventually resurface despite the whispers about it. Many claim this DVD is a complete disaster of only historical value, and that all but the most mouthfoaming Who fans should disregard. Should you avoid it? Not if you love The Who!

Some of the rumors are true. This is a sloppy show featuring an obviously out-of-practice band who possibly held their post-gig drinking party before the gig, as everyone but Roger appears to be half-in-the-bag. It's a show that finds Townshend in an extremely toxic mood, openly chastising the show as shit, and seemingly contemptuous of the audience as well. At one point he challenges the "big-mouthed little gits" in the audience to step on stage and try to take his guitar from him. Thankfully no one dared because it would have been ugly. Keith tries his best to keep the show festive and win over his guitarist, but Townshend will have none of it. Reportedly the other three were not pleased with Keith's readiness in general and this may be the reason for the tension on stage.

If you're the kind of person for whom good music means disciplined and tight, with a businesslike professionalism ala many bands of today who actually take classes on how to be in a band (what a joke), then stay away. If you don't mind your rock and roll to have some drunken' vomit on the car door, by all means check this out. I really enjoyed the show despite the mistakes I heard, a few which were cringeworthy. I think when you're watching a band who is a little looped, the sloppy loss of inhibition has the bright side of yielding some interesting grooves and passages. Certainly true with Townshend who was overplaying almost everything, but sometimes the results were awesome, and to be fair other times they were not. If you want to hear The Who as you rarely do, with their hair down, sounding like they are playing their friend's wedding reception late in the evening, you have your chance. There will be some euphoric highs and some frightening lows, including the absolutely most devastatingly bad version of "Who Are You" you've ever heard. My sig-other was staring at the TV literally begging Pete to stop....please, let it die....she was saying as he dragged the body on and on through the streets of concert hell. Ouch.

As a great bonus (or perhaps an apology) the set gives you a 2nd disc with a show from 1969, showing the boys in far more muscular form. Shot at London's Coliseum in December of that year, this disc will soothe the shock of the Kilburn show. I personally think the two-disc set is a must for any Who fan, warts and all. I had a blast. As I read somewhere, even an off-night for The Who is more exciting than a great night for most other bands.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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