‘The Who At Kilburn 1977’ Blu-ray Review
The show was originally filmed to be part of The Who documentary, The Kids Are Alright. Shot in December of 1977, this was the first show The Who were to perform in over a year, and turned out to be Keith Moon’s 2nd to last performace before his death the following year. Apparently the director of TKAA, Jeff Stein, thought the footage was not up to par, and had the boys play another show in May 1978, that would see two songs (Baba O’Reilly & Won’t Get Fooled Again) later appear in the film. Prior to the release of this Kilburn show, only a five second clip of Townshend throwing out a challenge to the crowd, and the audio performance of My Wife, on the TKAA soundtrack were released.
Kilburn is a good show. But as previously noted it is a little sloppy, and Pete needs to be much further up in the mix. I don’t mind sloppy, hey it’s rock and roll. But the boys sound a little lethargic. (Especially when compared to the 69 show.) Pete is jumping around and dancing and windmilling like a madman, but the musical energy to back up the antics is just not there for good portions of the show. Keith is fine, but he does a lot of mugging for the camera, and I think his playing at the 69 show is far superior to Kilburn. I’m sure a lot of fans will disagree, but I am just not as amped up about this show as other reviews.
The Coliseum show from 1969 is another matter. The sound mix is worse than Kilburn but the band sounds better! Pete does less dancing but much more *playing*; there is more technique and more leads -and just awesome jaw dropping moments (sparks, my generation especially fiery). He is all over the fretboard and his use of feedback and distortion masterful. Keith, for me, is far better than the Kilburn show. He does less pandering and just plays the hell out of every song. Roger is fine at both shows; but I guess I am just on old fogey – something about him in that fringed vest is Roger, and he seems looser at the Coliseum show. Ox is Ox, beyond great at both shows; was there ever a better bass player?
I believe a lot of it is the history. In the late 60’s and even early 70’s bands like the Who, Zeppelin, Floyd were very vital. By the late 70’s they had lost a lot of that vitality. They could still crank out the great studio album at times, but by and large the magic was gone. They had become bloated money machines. Not bad bands by any means; just a shadow of their former selves. By 1977, The Ramones, NY Dolls, and countless others were taking up the charge to do something refreshing, edgy. The two Who shows here demonstrate the difference in 60’s rock giants who 10 years later lost an edge or two. They were too aware of who/what they were instead of just being/living it.
Movie Content: 3/5
The print is presented in 1080p AVC MPEG-4 with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. While some of the visuals are not as crisp as I would have liked, probably due to the lighting, most of them are incredible. The camera’s were right up in their faces like I have never seen. It’s really a “one of a kind” style of filming. There are a lot of great Keith Moon close up shots – and he pounded the drums on this night. Keith doesn’t look tired, he looks excited to be playing again. Many in close shots of Townshend’s guitar playing, and a few good one’s of John Entwistle. Little things too, like Townshend’s cut up fingers, the set list written on one of Keith’s toms, great interaction with the audience.
Video Quality: 4/5
The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix. The sound is fine but sounds very similar to what was done with ‘Kids’. Entwhistle’s bass and Townsend’s guitar are in the right speakers with Daltrey’s voice coming through the center channel. The rears are used very sparingly, not giving this concert that full audio experience as if you are sitting right there at the concert.
Audio Quality: 3/5
- Extra Footage “Tommy” and “A Quick One While He’s Away” [HD]
The extra footage is in high definition.
Special Features: 3/5
The Final Word
The set list is standard for them at the time, but has some of the best performances of the staples. The video and audio are decent on Blu-ray and any Who fan is going to buy this
Overall Rating: 3/5 (Rental for those curious/Purchase for fans)
Note: This was a guest review by James Petropoulos