Who Boston 2002 DVD review

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 20 16:16:46 CDT 2004

>From DVD Talk at:

The Who - Live In Boston  
Rhino // Unrated // $19.99 // September 14, 2004 
Review by John Sinnott | posted August 19, 2004

The Concert:
Just about everybody has a favorite band; a special
group that can seemingly do no wrong, where even their
weaker efforts are better than most other bands best
works.  For me, that group has always been The Who.  I
have listened to all their albums countless times, and
have heard many of their live concerts.  Song for
song, they have more energy and power than any other
band.  Well, for my money at least. 

Unfortunately, The Who that tours now is different
than the group that first came to fame in the 60's. 
Keith Moon, the bands maniacal thrashing drummer, died
in 1978, and John Entwhistle, the stoical band member
who was responsible for some of rock’s greatest bass
riffs, passed away in 2002.  The remaining two
members, singer Roger Daltry and guitarist/songwriter
Pete Townshend, still tour using session musicians to
fill in the voids in the group.  But The Who was one
of those entities that are definitely more than the
sum of its parts.  None of the band members solo
albums, though some were very good, were able to
capture the magic that occurred when they all played
together.  So how does this remaining half of the
group sound in concert?  Not too bad after all, but
they have lost some of the excitement that made the
group so enthralling in the past.  Some of that can be
explained by the fact that they are a lot older now,
but a good deal of it is because they aren’t quite

This DVD captures The Who’s concert from September 24,
2002 at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield, MA, a show
from the group's first tour after the unexpected death
of bass player John Entwhistle.  Lasting slightly over
two hours long, the band sure gives your money’s worth
with a set encompassing their entire career. 

As for the line up, in addition to Pete Townsend on
guitar and Roger Daltry singing, Zak Starkey, Ringo’s
son, is on drums, and Pino Paladino, an active session
musician who has worked with Eric Clapton, Elton John,
and Jeff Beck among many others, replaces John
Entwhistle on the bass.  In addition, Rabbit is on
keyboards, and Pete’s brother, Simon, plays rhythm
guitar and sings backup. 

The concert gets off to a mediocre start.  I Can't
Explain, a rock standard, feels a little tired, like
they’ve played it thousands of times, which they have.
 After a trio of their pre-Tommy songs, the group
launches into some of their later material, which came
across as more fresh and energized.  Pete’s guitar
solo on Who Are You was excellent.  While not loud and
glaring, it had genuine feeling to it, and harkened
back to The Who’s prime. 

Pete gives a good introduction to the three songs they
preform from Quadrophenia.  Sea and Sand sounded much
better than I’ve heard it preformed in years.  5:15
was good, though I did miss the brass section, but
Love Reign O’er Me didn’t have the emotional impact
that the song usually carries. 

The concert did have some great moments in it though. 
My Generation really rocked and the changes they made
to the song made it feel fresh and new.  The Kids are
Alright, a favorite of mine from way back, gets
several new verses added to it.  Pete expanded the
song and included lyrics that change the meaning in
interesting ways.  The new version is an excellent
song in its own right, and it’s great to see it
preformed live.  The songs that they preform from
Tommy as an encore were also great fun to hear, though
Townshend's playing on Pinball Wizard wasn't as crisp
as it usually is. 
The original members of the band, though aging, still
have some life left in them.  Roger’s voice retains a
lot of its power, much more than I was expecting. 
Pete’s vocals, on the other hand, are sounding a
little tired and worn, especially in the beginning of
Behind Blue Eyes.  The ohhhh’s at the beginning of You
Better You Bet where Pete and Roger are supposed to
sing in tune are particularly unattractive. 

While Pete Townshend’s voice might be a little
rougher, and though he doesn’t jump around and cavort
around the stage like he did 30 years ago, his guitar
playing isn’t hampered by his advancing age.  He is
still able to instill a sense of urgency and power
into songs like Won’t Get Fooled Again and Sea and

The main problem that I had with the concert in
general was that Roger’s voice and Pete’s guitar were
mixed higher than the other instruments in most cases,
which is too bad because it gives the songs a
different feel and sound, and not necessarily better. 
On Love Reign O’er Me the amazing synthesizer riff
practically disappears into the background for most of
the song.  Another example is the way the bass guitar
is handled though out the concert.  Where as John
Entwhistle’s bass would act as a foundation for a lot
of the songs only to leap to the front for several
intricate bars and then unexpectedly returning to the
background, in this concert the bass just sits in the
back, never really emerging.  This is too bad because
Pino Paladino is an excellent bassist.  He was able to
pull off all of John’s riffs without missing a note
and it’s unfortunate that he was regulated to a
background position in the mix.  The songs suffer for

Zak’s drumming, while not as energetic as Keith Moon’s
(but then who is?) was very competent.  He managed to
keep the beat and put in a lot of frills, even though
the first minutes of I Can’t Explain let it be known
that he wasn’t able to fully fill Keith’s shoes. 

Pete wasn’t in the best of humors during this concert
either.  Before they launch into three songs from the
aborted Lifehouse project (two of which ended up on
Who’s Next) there is an odd exchange between Pete and
a member of the audience who apparently was heckling
the band.  Pete cusses him out, and concludes with
stating “I don’t know what band you think you’re
following, but sometimes I think you’ve got the wrong
one.”  Later in the set he stops while introducing a
song as says “For F*ck’s sake, be quiet.  I’m trying
to concentrate.”  He berates the audience a couple of
times for talking, and even threatens to walk off if
people don’t shut up. 

The Who preformed the following songs: 

I Can't Explain 
Anyway Anyhow Anywhere 
Who Are You 
Another Tricky Day 
Baba O'Reily 
Sea And Sand 
Love Reign O'er Me 
Eminence Front 
Behind Blue Eyes You Better You Bet 
The Kids Are Alright 
My Generation 
Won't Get Fooled Again 
Pinball Wizard 
Amazing Journey/Sparks 
See Me Feel Me 
Listening To You 

The DVD:


This DVD has a PCM stereo track and a 5.1 Dolby
Digital track.  Both tracks sounded outstanding in
their own right.  The 5.1 audio really put you in the
middle of the music, with some backing vocal and
cymbal crashes, in addition to the noises from the
audience, in the rear.  This actually works much
better than it sounds, giving the feeling of being in
a club where sound seems to assault you from all
directions.  The stereo track was more pure and
precise, with the audience sounds being mixed a lot
lower, but not as encompassing and powerful as the
5.1.  There wasn’t any (unintentional) distortion in
either track, and even the really loud parts were
accurately reproduced.  In short, this disc sounds


Filmed live, the full frame video quality was good but
not outstanding.  Some of the songs were a little
dark, but this is more of a lighting problem than
anything inherent in the DVD.  The lines were fairly
tight, though people in the long shots were not as
defined as I would have liked.  Digital defects were
not a problem.  An adequate disc. 


I wasn’t expecting much in the way of extras on this
DVD, and was pleasantly surprised to find some
interesting bonus' included on this disc.  First off
is an art gallery with approximately 25 images drawn
by the late John Entwhistle.  I enjoyed the
characatures he did much more than the realistic
drawings.  There is also two interviews; a fourteen
minute talk with Pete and an eight minute interview
with Roger were they discuss their reaction and
feelings about John’s death. 

There is also an Easter Egg: On the song selection
submenu cursor down to “Relay” and then press left to
highlight the emblem on Pete Townshend’s T-Shirt. 
Select it and you will be treated to a 13-minute audio
interview with Pete Townshend from March 2004 where he
talks about the guitars that he currently uses and how
they differ from the guitars that he used back in the

Final Thoughts: 

Without Keith Moon and John Entwhistle this group
isn’t really The Who.  Roger Daltry and Pete Townshend
are still talented, but without the other half of the
band they just don’t have the energy and power that
the band is known for.  That being said, this concert
was still very enjoyable.  A lot of the songs really
rock, Roger’s voice is strong and Pete can still play
guitar.  Honestly, this was better than I thought it
would be.  If you already have The Kids are Alright
and Live at the Isle of Wight Festival and are
yearning for more Who concerts on DVD, this disc is

Movie - 3 stars
Video - 2 1/2 stars
Audio - 4 stars
Extras - 3 stars
Replay - 4 stars

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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