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THE WHO

Proto-Prog • United Kingdom


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The Who biography
One of the greatest of all rock and roll bands and one of the most influential of all time, The Who formed in 1964, when drummer Keith Moon left the Beachcombers and joined The Detours, who included singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend, and bassist John Entwistle. The Who arrived on the scene at a crossroads in the English music scene: The Beatles were still king but were beginning to turn from the bubble gum pop of previous albums, the Merseybeat boom was fading and London was becoming the center of English music. A residency at London's famed Marquis club gave them a stage to make their impression: above all, The Who were a live band that had to be seen as well as heard. There first hit, "I Can't Explain", led to regular TV appearances and a tour with The Beatles. It also got them signed to Decca Records, where they recorded their first album, "My Generation". The album was a hit in England, reaching #5 on the charts, while the title track became an anthem of sorts for the times and still perhaps their best known song.

The Who were very original in that their arrangements were far from the normal in rock those days. Pete was more of a rhythm player who had Keith and John playing around him instead of
merely holding a beat, an influence acknowledged by the way Prog rock turned conventional rock idioms on their ear with regards to arrangement and traditional roles of the instruments. Keith's drumming was described as 'lead' drumming and John was having bass solos as early as 1965 in rock music.

Success out of the gate gave the group some measure of creative control on their next album which they lacked on the first. Pete and manager Kit Lambert had been talking about extended themes and ideas in rock and roll for some time. When The Who went into the studio for their second album in 1966 each group member was to contribute songs to help generate more revenue in royalties for the group, the group having a rather high overhead in terms of destroyed guitars and drum kits. When the others were not able to meet their quota of songs for the new album, Pete and Kit stepped in to fill the album out, and came up with what would be one of the trademarks of prog music in the future, the extended song cycle "A Quick One", which would be the title of the new album as well. It was 6 distinct song fragments tied together with a unifying theme; love, betrayal, and forgiveness. It is often called a rock opera... it could also be calle...
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THE WHO shows & tickets


THE WHO has no upcoming shows, according to LAST.FM syndicated events and shows feed

THE WHO discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE WHO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.71 | 97 ratings
My Generation
1965
2.93 | 90 ratings
A Quick One
1966
3.52 | 133 ratings
The Who Sell Out
1967
4.06 | 337 ratings
Tommy
1969
4.38 | 366 ratings
Whos Next
1971
4.54 | 384 ratings
Quadrophenia
1973
3.47 | 117 ratings
By Numbers
1975
3.22 | 121 ratings
Who Are You
1978
2.34 | 67 ratings
Face Dances
1981
2.60 | 61 ratings
It's Hard
1982
2.90 | 50 ratings
Endless Wire
2006

THE WHO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.05 | 87 ratings
Live At Leeds
1970
4.04 | 24 ratings
The Kids Are Alright (Original Soundtrack of the Film)
1979
2.39 | 9 ratings
Who´s Last
1984
3.00 | 4 ratings
Join Together
1990
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Who Live (Golden Age serie)
1993
3.00 | 18 ratings
Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970
1996
2.69 | 16 ratings
BBC Sessions
2000
3.93 | 11 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall
2003
4.00 | 1 ratings
Greatest Hits Live
2010
3.91 | 4 ratings
Live At Hull
2012

THE WHO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.84 | 19 ratings
The Kids are Alright
1979
4.25 | 4 ratings
Who's Better, Who's Best
1988
3.60 | 9 ratings
Live at the Isle of Wight Festival
1998
4.08 | 6 ratings
Who's Next - Classic Albums
1999
3.78 | 8 ratings
Live at the Royal Albert Hall
2000
3.50 | 2 ratings
Live & Alive
2003
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Vegas Job
2006
3.15 | 9 ratings
Amazing Journey
2007
3.67 | 7 ratings
The Who at Kilburn: 1977
2008
3.35 | 7 ratings
Maximum R&B Live
2009
5.00 | 2 ratings
Live in Texas '75
2012

THE WHO Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.22 | 11 ratings
Magic Bus: The Who on Tour
1968
3.29 | 18 ratings
Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy
1971
3.64 | 20 ratings
Odds & Sods
1974
3.33 | 3 ratings
Who's Missing
1985
3.96 | 6 ratings
Thirty Years Of Maximum R&B
1994
3.82 | 16 ratings
My Generation - The Very Best of The Who
1996
2.14 | 2 ratings
The Who (budget compilation)
1997
4.03 | 22 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
2002
3.21 | 10 ratings
Then and Now
2004
1.72 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits
2009
5.00 | 3 ratings
Live At Leeds 40th Anniversary Super-Deluxe Collectors' Edition
2010
4.50 | 2 ratings
Quadrophenia - The Director's Cut (Super Deluxe Limited Edition)
2011

THE WHO Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.65 | 8 ratings
I'm a Boy
1966
2.81 | 8 ratings
Happy Jack
1966
3.33 | 3 ratings
Summertime Blues
1970
2.95 | 2 ratings
Let's See Action / When I Was A Boy
1971
4.20 | 5 ratings
5.15
1973
2.95 | 2 ratings
Thirty Years Of Maximum R&B sampler
1994

THE WHO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Live at the Isle of Wight Festival by WHO, THE album cover DVD/Video, 1998
3.60 | 9 ratings

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Live at the Isle of Wight Festival
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Fourteen years ago I watched on TV the film called "Message to Love" which is about the Isle of Wight Festival of 1970. That film shows not only some songs performed by some bands, but also the violence from some parts of the audience against paying for their attendance to Rock Music Festivals and also some verbal violence against some musicians like Joni Mitchell (a very unfair thing). By 1970 some of the idealism of the sixties disappeared and some parts of the audiences saw Rock Festivals as only "money making" activities for the people who created them. In the end, the promoters of this Isle of Wight Festival had to make this 1970 Rock Festival as for "free admission" due to the violence of some parts of the audience.

There were several very good bands appearing at that Festival and in that "Message to Love" film, and also other DVDs and / or CDs have been released from some complete concerts from some bands (Jethro Tull, ELP...). And also some seven years ago I watched on TV to this film from The Who playing at that Festival. They looked somewhat sober (I think) and they did not suffer the violence of the audience, who looked very happy at the time of The Who`s apperance. The band first played some of their hits plus other not very well known songs from their repertoire. They even laughed and did some jokes (particularly done by Pete Townshend and Keith Moon), making the audience laugh too. They also played an almost complete version of their rock opera titled "Tommy". It seems that being a quartet they could not reproduce all the songs from the album live, and most of the songs from the "Tommy" album have a lot of overdubs. Anyway, it was a brave attempt by the band to try to play this rock opera live during 1969-70. And I really missed some of those overdubs. The band played an almost "raw" version of that rock opera, maybe looking a bit tired of playing it live during those years.

Rock Festivals were a fad during the late sixties and early seventies. Unfortunately, the increasing violence by some parts of the audiences made them not very attractive as jobs for the musicians and not very attractive as businesses for the promoters. In the DVD from Jethro Tull from the Isle of Wight Festival from 1970 Ian Anderson talks about his dislike of this kind of Festivals.

The quality of the images and sound is very good.

There is a dedication to Keith Moon at the end of the film, showing him doing one of his very famous jokes in front of the camera.

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 The Ultimate Collection by WHO, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2002
4.03 | 22 ratings

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The Ultimate Collection
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Michael678

4 stars ok.... my first official album review on here, and i was on here a few months ago on the forums, but i guess this is gonna be more of a review/rating gig only, so hello again. anyway, I have known of the Who since i was a fan of GHIII (with The Seeker on that game), and it got even futher with radio stations and what not. the inclusion of these guys as prog got me even more interested to hear if they were any proggy at all. kinda here and there, but definitely revolutionary with rock operas and programmed synthesizers (as well as the live performance). all of that is represented masterfully on this double-disc compilation which was the BIG catapult into the Who for me (thank you MP3 player, lol!) it comprises the whole history of the Who from '64-'82 (I Can't Explain to Eminence Front from "It's Hard", Endless Wire didn't peep until 2006). The booklet included here has a good essay on the same thing as well as photos and more information on the individual tracks on here. My favorite tracks here include Won't Get Fooled Again (of course), Love Reign O'er Me, and Substitute to name a few, but i love them all!! even though i have no squeeze box anywhere, i can deal with this compilation any day, proving this to be the best compilation out there. Yet, im giving 4 stars to this album because nobody's perfect (except my favorite albums ever made!!!) hopefully you guys can see me somewhere else on this type of "communication" somewhat. Prog teen, over and out.

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 Face Dances by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.34 | 67 ratings

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The Who Proto-Prog

Review by ExittheLemming
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Blurred Visionary

The thing about The Who for me, and this is sad in a way, is the amount of control that I've had to have, keeping the creative process close to my chest, making sure the other guys in the band felt they were part of the process but they really weren't. Pete Townshend

When did the Who cease to be a collaborative creative unit? Did Townshend's talent begin to eclipse that of his buddies after the successes of both Tommy and Quadrophenia vindicated his ambition, or had the rot set in even before this? As much as I admit that shorn of the textural input of Daltrey, Entwistle and Moon, those power pop 60's anthems wouldn't have sounded remotely as thrilling but they would still be great songs regardless of the means of execution. The band's enduring association with Mod culture is always overstated, as even by 1966/67 Mod had effectively abandoned it's origins in beatnik coffee bars, modern jazz, bohemian art school lifestyles and existentialism for a supplanted psychedelic hippie zeitgeist that embraced intoxication over stimulation. These precedents are seldom echoed in any of the Who's output. I've always suspected that the band's opportunistic managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp adopted the Mod orphan to pitch their client's act to any youthful demographic with burgeoning spending power. Teenage rebellion has never been anything more than a marketing ploy. You don't hear the sound of Italian scooters in the Who or the Kinks, (unless they're being advertised) but you do hear what amphetamines, R'n'B and working class urban modernism might resemble.

Over the years Roger Daltrey has come to sound increasingly uncomfortable at inhabiting what are some very anguished and unflattering alter egos from the troubled Pete psyche. Townshend has therefore often had to provide material for two distinct appetites of his target audience i.e. the more experimental and confessional material for his solo albums and the more accessible but simplistic rawk fare for the legions of archly conservative Who fans. (who, by 1980 included the singer, the bass player and the drummer alas)

By the time the band convened to record Face Dances their individual orbits were at least on similar trajectories e.g. Jones, Entwistle and Townshend all had serious marital difficulties and were guzzling through prodigious amounts of booze. To add lighter fluid to an already heavy cocktail, Pete was also indulging in harder drugs (cocaine and heroin) Roger, by way of complete contrast, has always been strenuously 'clean' and was basking in the recent success of his role in the McVicar movie. (as the reformed armed robber now celebrated for his obtaining a degree in Sociology, like you need one to tell you stealing is wrong? go figure and gallery owners everywhere, give my regards to Jimmy Boyle's mutilated victims)

Pete's entire songbook is tantamount to the world's catchiest ever identity crisis. Teased and bullied mercilessly on account of his awkward adolescent gait and large nose by playground sadists in childhood Acton, Townshend was inevitably a case book study in dealing with oppression and searching for belonging. He was a reluctant mod, a very unconvincing hippie, a meticulously unkempt punk and the oldest new romantic luvvy to ever frequent the Heroes and Embassy Clubs in London. What's rather ironic is that Townshend at this time was completely besotted with the Clash as embodying his holy grail of a sexy and politicized rock band who wrote and played great songs while addressing pressing social concerns. It is clearly Townshend and NOT Joe Strummer who would have been best equipped to bring this nascent vision to reality. The reasons being that Pete does not suffer from the romanticized nostalgia for a past that never occurred in the first place that so afflicted Strummer, and he is a pragmatist at heart, a realist who cannot hide behind political rhetoric or empty agit prop. Townshend was a hoi polloi who eventually rubbed padded shoulders with the indolent elite: Strummer was the public schoolboy son of a diplomat who posed around with proles and considered the troops who manned the barricades of Northern Ireland as representative of nothing more significant than a 'photo opportunity'

You Better You Bet - 'Just' a pop song but a cracker for all that and such is the confidence of the writing that it survives a rather speculative and unwittingly comedic Daltrey reading.

I showed up late one night with a neon light for a visa But knowing I'm so eager to fight can't make letting me in any easier I know I been wearing crazy clothes and I look pretty crappy sometimes But my body feels so good and I still sing a razor line every time.

It seems clear that such dissolution expressed so unflinchingly in this song is completely alien to the singer.

Don't Let Go The Coat - Pete always cast a keen eye on the youthful competition throughout his long career and here we see his take on the contemporaneous 'jangle' indie pop phenomenon perhaps best epitomized by the LA's There She Goes. A beautiful and hauntingly powerful song that Roger pitches perfectly with just a hint of remorseful regret in his lower register.

It's easy to be sad when you lack a partner But how would I react to a broken heart now? It ain't really true rock 'n' roll unless I'm Hanging onto you and when I hold it next time

The rather unusual title was probably inspired by an oft repeated phrase sourced from Townshend's acknowledged spiritual guru Meher Baba:

and help us all to hold fast to Baba's daaman [hem of his coat] till the very end.

Cache Cache - Consumed with a sudden wish to give up music forever and live as a tramp in Switzerland, Pete decided to seek out the brown bears that live in cages in the hills above the city of Berne armed only with a bottle of brandy, his wallet and passport for company, Mercifully he found none, but this very endearing and strange song resulted which if nothing else, testifies to the faintly disturbing impulses that can afflict those with unlimited resources and impunity. The author was discovered unconscious in one of the bear pits and subsequently flown to Austria to perform a concert with the Who that evening. The cringe-worthy 'Spinal Tap' element to all this will not be lost on you I'm sure. Once again there is ample evidence that despite his excellent singing, Daltrey has very little clue about the motivation that prompted such spontaneous idiocy from Pete:

I got used to behaving very badly. Once I was so completely out of my brain that I actually humiliated the band in public. We were playing at the Rainbow in London -- this was early '81 and I kept stopping songs and making speeches to the audience. I kept playing long, drawn-out guitar solos of distorted, bad notes. I'd alter the act, making up songs as I went along. And I knew it was London, and I knew that everybody's friends and family were there, and I deliberately picked that day to f.u.c.k up the show. I just ceased to care. I threw my dignity away Pete Townshend

The Quiet One - Given that producer Bill Szymczyk (pronounced B.I.L.L) worked with the Eagles and was suggested by Pete's friend Joe Walsh for this album, it is perhaps not that surprising to report that this Entwistle tune sounds like erm... a Joe Walsh tune. John is on record stating that it was designed to replace My Wife in the Who's live set which he had grown tired of singing. I bet he wearied of this mediocre effort far quicker.

Did you Steal My Money? - We can forgive both the irony of this number being inspired by the Police (the band) and the very large debt it owes to the melodic seed of On Broadway. It's an unusual number for the Who but it works surprisingly well thanks to Pete's accusatory backing vocal that sits in a very pleasing contrast to Roger's more placatory lead vocal. The developmental sections are sufficiently inspired to warrant an entirely fresh writing credit anyway. Quite possibly the only song lyric that conspires to rhyme 'brasso' with 'ass.h.o.l.e'. trivia fans. The demo version on Townshend's Scoop 3 is also well worth hearing. As to the the shady events that inspired this tale, Pete merely states:

The true story behind this doesn't make anyone look good -- especially me. It is not the time to tell it.

How Can You Do It Alone? - A weighty and brooding descending intro provides the camouflage for a lighter and tightly swung verse to emerge that depicts the shame of thwarted desires being uncovered for potentially unfavorable judgement. These run the gamut of flashing on the underground, stealing porn mags and erm, showering with your girlfriend? The short synth driven martial interlude is unexpected but delightful as it leads very satisfactorily back into a verse to fade ending where 'sprightly' and 'creepy' somehow lock flirtatious hands and traipse off down the street inextricably entwined. Why any of this works defies all conventional musical wisdom as the verses centre unequivocally on D major while the intro and bridge begin with a clashing and contrary D minor? File under 'exceptions that prove the rule'

Daily Records - A belter and one of my favourite Who tracks ever. Similarly to Did You Steal My Money? notice how Townshend uses the harmony backing vocals to refreshingly original effect i.e. their wordless gaucheness adds to the feeling of befuddled alienation expressed in the lyric:

I look at baggy suits and leather capped with puke, I look at Richmond married couples denim look I watch my kids grow up and ridicule the bunch but When you are eleven the whole world's out to lunch

Pete's skiffle past is betrayed by an exhilarating guitar break where his command of rapid banjo finger-picking technique is deployed on 6 string electric. Kenney Jones drumming is particularly good on this and it's a shame that his very invisibility makes him one of the few top drummers capable of seamlessly replacing Keith Moon while receiving scant credit or censure for same. A simple and salutary song about how the best intoxication and anti aging tonic to be had anywhere is that fueled by pure, uncut and undistilled music fresh from the source.

You - Another Entwistle original but it's driven by such a tight arsed little riff that must be one of the stingiest ever committed to tape post big bang. Things do perk up thereafter as we transition into a clanking pedal point groove under A which if nothing else, is an exercise in how far you can take this standard issue rock device without resorting to quasi oriental inflected modulations a la Fancy, See My Friends, Tomorow Never Knows etc. Wisely, John resists such temptation as he's in way over his head in that company. It ain't bad, but I've never yet felt compelled to reach for the 'repeat' button on its cessation. Faintly cack-handed misogyny to boot?

You, your wasting my life, You can't lose what you've already lost Your arms are open but your legs are crossed

Another Tricky Day - Almost self consciously nostalgic for a simpler and more naive past, with trademark windmill power-chords punctuating the Ox's effortless but always muscular anchor and Bundrick's playful jesting piano. Very strong ascending melody that reaches its memorable summit thus:

(Just gotta get used to it) We all get it in the end (Just gotta get used to it) We go down and we come up again (Just gotta get used to it) You irritate me my friend (This is no social crisis) This is you having fun (No crisis) Getting burned by the sun (This is true) This is no social crisis Just another tricky day for you

You can't help but feel there are those amongst us in positions of great privilege, wealth and cultural standing who suffer from both a slice of self-loathing and that strange jealously of ordinary people with ordinary everyday concerns? Regardless, like so much on Face Dances, it succeeds because the writing is strong enough to withstand the lukewarm reception afforded by the band to Pete's original demos and the complete dearth of empathy from a singer who would have very little common ground with the hellish demi-monde inhabited by his songwriter

This just leaves the token doggie bag of tidbits that proliferate on reissued CDs these days. Word to the wise label execs everywhere: free s.h.i.t. is still overpriced.

Somebody Saved Me is an interesting draft that was given its definitive reading on Pete's brilliant solo album All the Best Cowboys have Chinese Eyes. Listening to this earlier version, it seems to inhabit harmonic territory similar to that retraced by Lloyd Cole's Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken? a couple of years hence. I Like Nightmares is good fun but is ruined by Pete's transparently rat a.r.s.e.d. delivery with uncharacteristic dithering over whether he wanted it punchy New Wave or country parody. It's In You sounds like something even the Stones would have rejected from one of their uniformly wretched 80's albums. There are also bundled a couple of live versions of How Can You Do It Alone? and The Quiet One which are decent but strictly for completists only.

Face Dances is an unjustly neglected album in my book as I consider it stronger than the more highly regarded It's Hard that followed. Although not 'proggy' in any conventional sense, of some interest to PA visitors has to be Rabbit Bundrick's keyboards which in the absence of the usual swathes of Townshend guitar, provide much of the internal detail and flesh out the arrangements accordingly. He does this quite brilliantly and his playing is borderline ornate in places with a choice in sounds and textures exemplary throughout. Bundrick is the rabbit that Townshend pulled out of the hat. It also seems clear that by circa 1974 the Who only existed in any meaningful form solely to perform the music of Pete Townshend. They ceased to be a 'real' interactive band long before then.

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 The Kids are Alright by WHO, THE album cover DVD/Video, 1979
3.84 | 19 ratings

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The Kids are Alright
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I went to a now defunct cinema in my city to watch this film in July or August 1979. At that time, I was 14 years old, and I was on school holidays then. I also went at that time to watch some Rock films ("Woodstock", "Let It Be" and others) in other cinemas. It was a time when Rock concerts in my city were not seen with "good eyes" by the goverment, and Rock movies were rarely shown in cinemas and for a short time only (fortunately this changed by the late eighties). At that time I also was starting to collect Rock music records and learning about Rock and Prog Rock bands. So, I went to that old cinema to watch this film, with a lot of "teenager enthusiasm". I liked the film a lot, so some days later I went to watch the film again.I think that even some years later I went to another cinema to watch the film again, and finally, in 2000 a Cultural TV channel in my city broadcasted the film for the first time on TV. So, now, my opinion about this film is not as favourale as the first time I watched to it, but, anyway, I still consider it as a good documentary about the history of this band done before Keith Moon`s death. It has some flaws: the clips are not shown in a chronological order. There is not really a narration of their history. So, it is more a visual documentary, with funny scenes and interviews, some TV appearances, and some songs played in concert, like in the Monterey and Woodstock Festivals and in other venues, some promotional films for songs like "Happy Jack", etc. Maybe the most interesting things in this film are the scenes of the band filmed during their last concert with Keith Moon which were filmed in May 1978, and also the scenes filmed during the recording of their "Who Are You" album during late 1977 and mid 1978. Humour also appears a lot in this film due to funny interviews with the members of the band, particularly with Keith Moon and Pete Townshed. Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle appear less time speaking in the film (a thing both of them didn`t like very much from this film, and they also said that they considered the film as "amateur"). As time has passed, I can see more clearly now these flaws, and it is very clear that Jeff Stein, the Director of the film, really was an amateur film maker then, being really a fan of the band who proposed to them to do this film. Another flaw (which I hope that it was repaired when preparing the film to be released on DVD) is that most songs are in a higher speed in the original film (a thing that didn`t happen in the soundtrack album of the same name).So, this film, while still been very good, is like a "collage" of unrelated scenes edited one after the other. Anyway, it still is very entertaining and funny. I hope one day to watch to the DVD version of this film.

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 Live at the Royal Albert Hall by WHO, THE album cover DVD/Video, 2000
3.78 | 8 ratings

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Live at the Royal Albert Hall
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This concert video was recorded in November 2000 during a benefit concert, with The Who playing the songs with some guests in some songs. It is one of the last recorded appearances of John Entwistle (who died in June 2002) with the band, and it includes an excellent bass guitar solo section by him. This concert video is very good as shows the band playing very well, with a lot of energy. Particularly, the inclusion of Zak Starkey as drummer since 1996 improved the band a lot since Keith Moon`s death and in my opinion he has been the most adequate drummer for the band`s music style, playing in a similar way like Moon did with the band (he was in fact given some drums lessons during his childhood by Moon himself). The sound and images are very good, and it is maybe one of the best concerts I have seen from the band wiithout Keith Moon.The inclusion of John Bundrick as keyboard player also improved the band`s playing during the concerts. So, I think that this line-up of the band (Daltrey, Entwistle, Townshend, Starkey and Bundrick) was the best line-up since the death of Moon. The inclusion of guests in some songs was a good idea, bringing some variety to the playing of some songs. Their performances are good in general.

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 The Who at Kilburn: 1977 by WHO, THE album cover DVD/Video, 2008
3.67 | 7 ratings

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The Who at Kilburn: 1977
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I knew about this Kilburn concert (the first DVD in this package) because I read about it in a book about The Who written by journalist Chris Welch. This concert was done and filmed with the aim to include some footage from it in "The Kids Are Alright" documentary film which was also done during that period (1977-78) by Jeff Stein. But unfortunately, the members of the band were not very satisfied with their performances in that concert (particularly Peter Townshend, who even shows some dislike from the band`s playing during the concert). At the same time, maybe it was a good idea to not release this video until recently because the modern technology which is available now maybe helped a lot to improve the sound and image of this concert video which is very good. But, I think that at the same time the band had at that time some real reasons to not include footage from this concert (apart from two very brief scenes when the band was not playing) in "The Kids Are Alright" film: they sound like they didn`t rehearse enough. Particularly Keith Moon`s playing shows some "doubts" in some places, like he really was having a hard time remembering how to play some songs. Also, his playing began showing the effects of the excesses in his lifestyle and the lack of practicing. In fact, this was the bands`first concert since mid 1976, and Moon was living in the U.S. then until the band called him to return to England to record the "Who Are You" album in late 1977. Another reason to not release this concert video in the seventies maybe was that they were a bit drunk while playing (I can see it!). But the performances of most songs are good, sometimes noisy and chaotic. Anyway, this is a very good concert video which shows the band playing with a lot of energy. They even played a bit of the "Who Are You" album title song in a somewhat improvised form (as I mentioned above, they were recording the "Who Are You" album then until mid 1978). To replace the live footage from the Kilburn concert in the "The Kids Are Alright" film, they played and filmed another concert in May 1978 at a film studio inviting (like in the Kilburn concert) some fans. The "The Kids Are Alright" film is a good film but most of the songs included in the original film (including the songs which were filmed in May 1978) suffer from a bit of high speed in their appearance and sound, and also for this reason the release of this Kilburn footage is much better than that film mostly in the presentation of the live performances. The performance of "My Wife" was the only live recording from the Kilburn concert which the band released in the "The Kids Are Alright" album, but in a bit edited form and with a different sound mixing (but i wasn`t included in that film). Even with all the flaws the Kilburn concert was much better than some of the later concerts which the band played after Moon died (particularly during their "Farewell Tour" in 1982).

The second DVD from this package shows the band playing the "Tommy" rock opera live almost in its entirety in 1969. It seems that some songs were not played for some reason, and the band plays it very well but obviosuly lacking the keyboards and horns which were recorded in the original studio album. The quality of this footage is not very good, sometimes dark, and it lacks in some places the images of the band filmed live and instead they show some still photos from the concert to replace the missing footage. Not as good as the Kilburn concert, but it was a good idea to include this footage in this DVD package as "Bonus Material".

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 The Who at Kilburn: 1977 by WHO, THE album cover DVD/Video, 2008
3.67 | 7 ratings

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The Who at Kilburn: 1977
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

4 stars THE WHO in a bad night were far better than 90% of the bands in their best day

I honestly can't understand the critics to this video, that's what THE WHO was...A force of nature that couldn't be stopped, if you want to see a polished clean 1977 show, buy a CAPTAIN & TENILLE concert, but if you want to see a band giving 110% of them even if not in shape and amazing material, this video is a must have.

Luckily I waited until the deluxe edition was released in Blu-Ray, because apart from the regular 1969 at the London Coliseum version, you get an extra bonus, the first-ever live recording of the rock opera Tommy featuring: "A Quick One While He's Away", "Overture", "It's a Boy ", "1921", "Amazing Journey," "Christmas," "Acid Queen," "Pinball Wizard," "Do You Think It's Alright," "Fiddle About", "Tommy Can You Hear Me?", "There's a Doctor", "Go to the Mirror", "Smash the Mirror", "Miracle Cure", "Sally Simpson", "Tommy's Holiday Camp", "I'm Free", "We're Not Gonna Take It."

I agree with Finnforest's comments about weak songs in the Kilburn concert like the infamous version of "Who are You", but "Baba O'Riley" "Behind Blue Eyes" and "Pinball Wizard" are as exciting as usual, and of course the hilarious version of "Tommy's Holyday Camp" with Keith singing completely out of key. So yes it has lows, but the whole concert is a collector's item that no WHO fan should avoid.

The image has been digitally restored (A few minutes are lost because of the rewinding of the 16 mms camera), the sound is great (avoid the dull Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, because the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and PCM 2.0 with boosted vocals are both excellent), so it's a piece of musical history in very good condition that every fan must get.

Ah, almost forgot the rating.........4 solid stars.

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 Quadrophenia by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.54 | 384 ratings

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Quadrophenia
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Xonty

5 stars A very underrated album by the general public, but thankfully not on here. "Quadrophenia" is one of my all-time favourite albums, and my favourite Who album by quite a long shot. I've never really been a fan of The Who and I'm still not, but this is just incredible. It maintains the powerful heavy rock feel heard on "Who's Next", but introduces lots of progressive elements as well. A double concept album about an alienated doubly schizophrenic mod - how much more prog could you get?!

The album starts with "I Am The Sea", the only ambient song I've ever really heard that is as loud as the rest of the albums, and audible when travelling on the train or wherever. The Who being The Who, they chose not to make a subtle overture but just put the outright statements of each side to Jimmy (the mod)'s personality in the background of the sea. "The Real Me" then pounds in with some excellent bass playing and horns by Entwistle (heard throughout the album). Great lyrics and very powerful vocals by Daltrey, so much to say about it but I won't get ahead of myself. The title track "Quadrophenia" is really the overture, but it allows more room for Townshend's songwriting genius to put it lightly :P Great guitar playing and musicianship, and really sets the atmosphere on here. "Cut My Hair", arguably the first real song, then comes in, describing Jimmy's difficulties with being a mod, and educating the modern generations (such as me) and Americans on what it was like. More brilliant vocals, lyrics, effects/soundscapes, musicianship, just a very consistent masterpiece.

"The Punk And The Godfather" jumps right back into the loud Who spirit, possibly the most prominent song on the album with more excellent lyrics. Really struggling to find anything bad about any of these songs now! "I'm One" continues the country styles from Townshend heard on their previous album, a great inclusion and not made as such a big fuss unlike the other album. Very sensitive and great lyrics/guitar writing and playing. Another great song follows! "The Dirty Jobs" describes Jimmy not getting along with his parents. Again, I adore the lyrics and how much you can relate to the chorus when you're feeling a bit sad. "Helpless Dancer" is very strong lyrically and vocally - Daltrey puts across a great performance here, and very bold piano chords just striking you like fists. Very subtly angry for a Who song, should be more appreciated. Also, I love the end of the song, as you hear the band harmonising one of their typical sort of 60's mod songs. "Is It In My Head": finally I can complain on something! The chorus is weak both lyrically (especially the rhymes) and musically, drags along a bit, but nevertheless another good song. Probably the worst on the album though, just showing the incredible standard they've upheld on here! "I've Had Enough" again shows Jimmy's frustration with the world around him, again very relatable at times, and an excellent way to finish Side 1 (2 on vinyl). The train noise sets you up very well for the next song...

"5:15" is one of my favourites (although I've listened to it way too many times now). Great for travelling on a train by the way! It starts off with a reappearance of the "Cut My Hair" melody and jumps straight into a much more rocking/rolling piece. Excellent harmonies, horn parts, guitar playing on here. All of the instruments really complement each other, and the chords work very well. Great risque lyrics too! "Sea And Sand" is a little weak vocally, but the lyrics are great: "My dad couldn't stand on two feet as he lectured about morality" just emphasises Jimmy's frustration furthermore with everything going on around him, and his reluctance to stay in his head more to escape reality in a way. "Drowned" is another great song (better than "Sea And Sand"). Very well written by Townshend (the whole album was by the way, in case you didn't know!) Lyrics and melody are also delivered excellently by Daltrey once again!

"Bell Boy", as I'm sure you know, is the part where Jimmy meets the "Ace Face" (leader of his mod group) who has become more of a part of what they were fighting against in the mod group, so Jimmy feels understandably even more betrayed. Keith Moon adds a little comedy onto the album (which I don't think Townshend was too happy about, but it definitely works!) Gets a bit tiresome on the whole, but a great idea and inclusion on the album. More excellent musicianship (running out of synonyms now :P) "Doctor Jimmy" again contains very powerful lyrics and is probably the most destructive song sung by Jimmy's character ("What is it, I'll take it. Who is she, I'll rape it). Shows his rebelliousness and youthful nature more than ever here, just before he becomes a man on the final track. Also, some great use of strings, with those violins cutting like knives right at you. An astounding track!

"The Rock" is the most detailed in the picture booklet. It shows Jimmy stealing (?) a boat and riding out to sea. I love the fact it is made as an instrumental, really lets you concentrate on the excellent music behind it. Again, lots of themes reappear on here before the thunderous rain and the strike of the first piano chord of the following song: "Love Reign O'er Me" is an undeniable classic and a great finishing song. Great chord progressions, lyrics, musicianship from all of the band, but Roger's delivery is just astonishing (although I didn't really like the gentle verses - should have had a couple more takes perhaps? A little shaky). "LOVE!!!!", Roger bellows and a final climatic outro lasting for almost a minute of raging instruments, including Keith Moon's incredible drumming. I really don't know how he does it! :P

A+ - An underrated masterpiece by the general public. Outstanding from start to finish and such a consistent work. The Who's magnum opus.

I Am The Sea: **** The Real Me: ***** Quadrophenia: ***** Cut My Hair: ***** The Punk And The Godfather: ***** I'm One: ***** The Dirty Jobs: ***** Helpless Dancer: ***** Is It In My Head?: *** I've Had Enough: **** 5:15: ***** Sea And Sand: **** Drowned: ***** Bell Boy: **** Doctor Jimmy: ***** The Rock: **** Love, Reign O'er Me: *****

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 Tommy by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.06 | 337 ratings

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Tommy
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by LinusW
Special Collaborator Italian Prog Specialist

3 stars Ambitious and breaking new ground, but not a masterpiece.

Tommy finds The Who exploring longer, more connected and more ambitious themes in a double album concept that never really takes off and soars. It often aims for the grandeur and bombast of classic progressive rock, but end up feeling slightly powerless, flaccid (and in my view a bit silly) in the process.

And it is charming and pompous pseudo-classical motifs, horns and epic organ that together with the regular rock instrumentation confidently set the album in motion (this will be back now and then, like some other themes ' it's a concept after all). Restless, kinetic and energetic drumming from Moon as per usual, as he dances around the kit. The atmosphere is mostly warm, bright and kind of frisky, with a steady confidence and a perpetual drive forwards - an air of childlike and optimistic expectancy, if you will. And even in the decidedly darker songs, the tone doesn't really change all that much. Despite some valiant tries, a little more bite and a little more menace wouldn't hurt. Even if this makes the album very cohesive, it dynamically cripples Tommy. Part of this problem can also be found in the instrumentation and vocal arrangements. There is a lot of acoustic guitar on the album, and even if it's mostly playing riffs or being strummed it brings with itself a certain airiness. The electric guitar is often rather polite and unobtrusive, rather than gritty and rocking the way I expect it to be in the hands of Townshend. And then there's the orderly, pleasant background melodiousness of the keys. And the beautiful, tidy and harmonic vocal arrangements. All in all, it is a pleasant psych-infused 60s rock sound, that doesn't really rise to the occasion. This is especially clear since it is a proper rock opera, where songs are composed rather theatrically. Music tend to follow text on Tommy; in sudden exclamations, choruses, different characters, moods and so on. And for some reason, I think the style of the music is overstretched in such a compositional framework. It's just too light, pretty, stilted and square. It limits the available space for expression. And since Tommy goes on for a while, you have time to notice this disparity on several occasions. It's just a bit unwieldy and rarely as intriguing as it is made out to be.

But...and this is a big one, there are enough of great songs here to make most fans of classic rock very happy indeed. Especially the more naked and emotional pieces that doesn't feel as meticulously constructed are highlights. When Daltrey is allowed to live out the emotions properly and with a bit of zing and bite from Townshend and Entwistle, the magic seeps back in, both in rock form and atmosphere. And some of the tighter, more prog-and-psych-infused songs really do work in a feisty, non-apologetic and joyfully adventurous classic rock way. They sound as fresh, unique and vibrant today as they must have sounded in 1969.

3 stars.

//LinusW

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 Quadrophenia by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.54 | 384 ratings

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Quadrophenia
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Who - Quadrophenia (1973)

I really wanted to like this one, a double vinyl concept album with an extra photobooklet and one of the highest rated albums on the archives. Yet, even The Who, who did an excellent job on the 2lp 'Tommy' (1969) in my opinion, couldn't help but loose themselves in their second 2lp.

Now the songwriting of this album is pretty strong and on par with other strong records. The band chose to continue the art-rock/heavy-rock style of 'Who's next' (1971) stylisticly, whilst rejuvinating the conceptual songstyle of their first rockopera 'Tommy'. A golden marriage, or so it seems. The catchiness of some parts is beyond what most progressive rock groups can achieve and the riffs and rhythm-sections are all well written. Still I can't help getting the feeling the band just doesn't reach the momentum of earlier effort Tommy, which sometimes makes Quadrophenia sound like a poor rendition.

The production. When the music starts, after some sea noises and musical promises of what's to come, one can't help but getting the impression the producer of the album wanted to create rocked fuel; such loudness, fullness and directionless intervening sound- spectrums. Like every musician is giving a solo at the same time. This I can accept for a short album, but I just can't listen to this kind of production for long. The opening-track turns into halve song and halve bass-solo by John Entwistle, the meaning of it all is a riddle to me. The album continues to have extremely overenhanced sounding arrangements, though the synths sound pretty good indeed. During many moments The Who actually sounds like a symphonic prog group. During supposed to be quieter moments the production still attacks the listener its eardrums with ugly loud piano passages (recorded way out of pace by the way). Other pace and rhythm-anomolies continue to down-grade the band's perfect reputation and what for? Just clumsiness in a studio. A band not having its mind on the matter, which is of course the great risk of the ambitious progressive undertaking. The concept of the album gave rise to the idea to have each member sing vocals on different tracks, which again results in amateurism that could have easily been avoided with such a talanted lead-singer (and his brothers who joined in on Tommy). After the second side I'm so tired of the sound of this album, I just can't get myself to put on side three most of the time. Now I don't want to get all negative here, but I can understand that albums like this one have contributed to the downfall of prog.

Conclusion. Though I'm in minority here, I must admit I think this is yet another one of progressive rock's misguided double lp concept albums. A pitty, because the album has a big 'what could have been' feel to it. It might have been quite good had it been given a more delicate and subtle recording by a producer who can stand up against a band that is most certainly on fire here. Two and a halve stars.

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