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The Who: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 2004

by J. Poet on August 10, 2017

The Who’s performance on the Isle of Wight in 1970, filmed by director Murray Lerner and later released as a home video, was a high point in the band’s early career. Thirty-four years later, the two surviving members of the group returned to the festival for the two-hour performance captured on this DVD. The set is a collection of the band’s hits, opening with “I Can’t Explain” and closing with a sedate version of “Magic Bus.” Guitarist Simon Townshend, bassist Pino Palladino, drummer Zak Starkey and keyboardist John “Rabbit” Bundrick are a monster support band, but director Matt Askem keeps the focus on the two principals. You’re closer to Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend here than you could ever be in a concert setting, but extreme close ups of Daltrey’s sweaty face and Townshend’s fingernails as he plays a shredding solo don't make the performance any more exciting. The energy flags a bit during a three-song acoustic segment, about halfway through the two-hour show, but most of the time you’re transported by the impressive energy of the band and the timeless message of the songs. The best moments are the mid-range—full stage shots of the band playing “Who Are You?” and “My Generation”—especially when the 60-year-old Daltrey sings, “Hope I die before I get old,” without a trace of irony. That said, Daltrey and Townshend still have the energy of men half their age. When they tear into “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” the years fall away and it feels like 1970 again.
Authors: J. Poet
Artist: The Who
Album: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 2004
Label: Eagle Rock