Relish review of IOW '70 DVD

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Thu Aug 19 05:59:10 CDT 2004

On line at:

The Who's remix is is close to being there
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Ed Bumgardner
relish staff writer

The Who Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970

(Eagle Rock Entertainment) 3 and 1/2 (out of four)

In 1970, The Who - Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John
Entwistle and Keith Moon - were at peak prowess,
blowing minds, in the parlance of the day, while
changing the course of rock music.

The group had just released Tommy, a two-record
concept album that, despite a somewhat muddled
narrative, remained such an astonishing achievement
that it was widely honored with the now-dubious
accolade of being the first "rock opera."

The band had always been a more ferocious live act
than was represented on its albums. By its 1970 tour,
The Who had evolved into the most audacious concert
attraction in rock. No band was louder. No band was
more aggressive. No band was crazier, thanks to the
hyperactive antics of drummer Keith Moon, who had yet
to be noticeably hampered by his seemingly unlimited
appetite for drugs, drink and merriment.

The Who's 2 a.m. set at Britain's Isle of Wight
Festival, witnessed by 600,000 people, is considered
by Who aficionados to be one of the band's defining
performances. It had been previously released on
video, but the quality and impact of the presentation
pale when compared to that of The Who Live at the Isle
of Wight 1970, a freshly restored, tweaked and remixed
DVD release of the concert.

The show, per se, is notable for the band's sterling
concert recasting of the entirety of Tommy. The band
preceded Tommy with a smattering of old and new songs,
including freshly amped-up versions of "Spoonful" and
"Twist and Shout," holdovers from the band's Mod
years. Also noteworthy are performances of three songs
that never made it onto a regulation album - "Heaven
and Hell," "I Don't Know Myself" and "Water" - and the
first public airing of bassist Entwistle's famous
"skeleton" suit.

Townshend remixed the show to 24 bit, 5.1 surround
sound to stunning results. The recorded performance is
now as clear, clean - and just as bone-rattling loud -
as a live show. Effective placement of the encircling
5.1 mix, combined with film that ventures closer to
the action than most concert movies, adds up to a
viewing experience that is tantamount to watching and
listening to The Who in its prime from the side of the

Toss in a new, bonus interview with Townshend and the
result is an explosive and spellbinding DVD experience
that is indispensable to any fan of The Who.

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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