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The Who - The Kids are Alright CD (album) cover


The Who



3.92 | 37 ratings

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3 stars A video scrapbook

"The Kids are Alright" is a feature film made by young American fan Jeff Stein. He had little prior experience but convinced the band it would be a good idea after it was initially rejected by Townshend. I call it a scrapbook because unlike most linear documentaries this film is an "all over the map" celebration of the band with seemingly little structure. Live clips, television appearances, promo videos, interviews, and general silliness are all blended together in one big smoothie. The films biggest appeal is also its great weakness. While it is great fun to kick back and take in the short clips and funny comments, songs are often cut off in mid stride, very few are shown in their entirety. This can be a frustrating experience for fans who want to rock out, and for that reason I really prefer "Maximum R and B" for my Who watching. Yet despite the frustration of having songs cut off just when you start air-guitaring, there are many moments that make this worthwhile. Watching Moon's incessant craziness as he preys on interviewers, watching Pete struggle to find words to explain the band's importance, watching them evolve from 60s band to rock legends. There is a clip from the Rolling Stones 1968 "Circus" where their performance of "A Quick One" pretty much stole the show. The "Baba O'Riley" clip is amazing with Townshend smashing the tambourine into his hand with such ferocity it has to hurt, and yet he just has this smile on his face, the energy they contain is immense whether fueled by alcohol or not. And then the film closes with an explosive performance of "Won't Get Fooled Again" which was the last live performance of Keith Moon, who died a few months later. They had just screened the film a week or two prior to his death and decided to leave it as it completed, rather than turning it into some kind of sentimental homage. Good move, Keith would have hated that. While very enjoyable for Who fans I can't quite give it four stars. It does not succeed as informative documentary nor does it satisfy completely musically due to the edits. But well worth your time to see at least once. Along with The Wall and The Song Remains the Same, The Kids was a staple of the American "midnight movies" phenomenon of the late 1970s and early 80s. Those were some pretty festive social events which I just caught the tail end of, and yet another piece of what rock and roll was that is missed.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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