Pete: "I really didn't like working with that band at all"

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Sun Aug 8 06:20:47 CDT 2004

>From the Boston Star-Ledger at:

When the Who was on
Sunday, August 08, 2004
Star-Ledger Staff 
"The Who -- Live at the Isle of Wight," (Eagle Rock
Entertainment) One disc. $19.98. 

"I really didn't like working with that band at all.
... I always felt uncomfortable, ill-at-ease." 

So says guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend in a
recent interview included in the DVD release, "The Who
-- Live at the Isle of Wight." If Townshend didn't
like working with the Who, he hid it pretty well -- in
plain sight of some 600,000 revelers at the 1970 Isle
of Wight music festival in the group's native England.

At the festival, Townshend was as animated as any of
his bandmates -- singer Roger Daltrey, drummer Keith
Moon and bassist John Entwistle -- and seemed to be
having a bloody good time of it, chatting up the
audience, windmilling his right arm in his patented
guitar semaphore, hopping about in full aerobic bliss.
And at two in the morning. 

By 1970, the Who were fully decorated rock festival
vets, having performed at Monterey in 1967, Woodstock
Sr. in 1969 and a previous Isle of Wight gig in front
of biblical-sized crowds. While the film doesn't
capture the band's full three-hour performance at the
Isle of Wight, this is still prime Who-palooza --
thunderous, confident, tuneful and funny. 

The set list included early signature hits such as "I
Can't Explain," "My Generation" and "Magic Bus"; a
handful of covers, including Mose Allison's "Young Man
Blues" and Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues," and a
sizable chunk of "Tommy." 

The concert film, which will have a theatrical release
on Aug. 9, is a remastered, remixed and restored
version of "Listening to You: The Who at the Isle of
Wight Festival," a 1996 DVD release. For this release,
Murray Lerner, the film's New York-based director,
traveled to England to work with Townshend aboard a
studio on a boat owned by Townshend and docked in the
River Thames. The interview with Townshend was also
conducted aboard the boat by Lerner, an Oscar winner
for the 1980 documentary "From Mao to Mozart: Isaac
Stern in China." 

Townshend uses the interview to put the Isle of Wight
performance in perspective. There had been clashes
between anarchic gate-crashers and festival
organizers, and Townshend had been determined to keep
the peace. 

"At the same time that he was playing so intensely,"
says Lerner in a phone interview, "he was cooly
analyzing (the situation), thinking, 'How does this
affect the audience? What do I do next?' It's unusual
to realize how analytical he was during such an
emotional performance."

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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