Watch: Who Live ’75 DVD

 

 

Filmed at the Summit
in Houston on
Nov. 20, 1975,
Live In Texas ’75 (Eagle
Vision; 117 mins.) captures the band
in full flight on their last great tour.

 

By Lee
Zimmerman

 

The
differences between then and now couldn’t be more apparent. This version of the
band soars on the strengths of its four original members rather than two survivors
and a bunch of hired hands. The energy is palpable, a nonstop whirlwind of
kinetic motion, each man (save bassist John Entwistle of course) spinning out
of control in his own inimitable way. Townshend darting back and forth, back
arched, legs askew, arms poised in his famous whirlwind sweep. Daltrey, the
dramatic, perfectly poised rock god, tossing the microphone and retrieving it
with an outsized grand gesture. Moon, the mad dervish, bearing down on his drum
arsenal with a fierce determination that belies his clownish persona.

 

 

 

 

Of course,
37 years is bound to create a contrast. The set list for starters; here they’re
introducing new material, the numbers from Who
By Numbers
, while today’s Who is revisiting an archival classic in Quadrophenia.  The look is
different, Townshend – with beard and hair–  dressed in a white suit with
bellbottom trousers, Daltrey still bearing his trademark curls and
physique-fitting leather jumper. Yet, the biggest difference remains the
determination; even ten years removed from their beginnings, the Who still had
something to prove and their brash, riveting performance retains more than a
hint of their insurgent origins. Technical limitations aside (an emphasis on
one angle shot from stage right primarily, too few shots of the band in tandem,
a home movie kind of quality that reflects the technology of the era, etc.),
this is the quintessential Who at their best. There are occasional details
worth noting — Entwistle’s harmonies during “Behind Blue Eyes,” Townshend’s confession
that “However Much I Booze” is part of his mantra to stay sober,” Moon’s intros
and outbursts when handed a mike — but most of the gems of the set might be
well anticipated. There is, for example, no more riveting refrain in all of
Rock than the “See Me, Hear Me, Feel Me” coda from Tommy and for that matter, no more dynamic combo than this band in
its prime. With no frills and no bonus material, the concert stands on its own.
And that’s just fine. As a stirring reminder of all Rock aspires to be, Live In Texas ‘75 couldn’t be more affirming or
essential.

 

 

 

 

 

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