The Who DVD-EP (Classic Pictures Special Edition)
The Who have been going almost since time began, or at least since my time began. If you are old enough to remember the 60ís you will know that there were two camps in the UK rock world; The Rolling Stones and The Who. Also at the time there were two Ďrivalí factions amongst the youth; the Mods and the Rockers. If you were anywhere in the south/south east region you would invariably see gatherings of Mods dressed in Parka with scooters (Vespa or Lambretta) bedecked in more mirrors than the Hubble telescope. And the Rockers leathered up astride menacing looking motorbikes (B.S.A., Norton and Triumph). I was too young to be either a Mod or a Rocker but I found the thought of a motorbike rather alluring which, as a Who fan, was not really in keeping. I digress.
Classic Pictures Entertainment have unearthed some early archive footage of the band shot in Germany and though insufficient to produce a normal length DVD, cleverly came up with the idea of releasing the material as part of their budget DVD-EP series. The DVD-EPs in the series consist of four sections; Track Select (the main featured performances); Pop-Up DVD (the same tracks but with added on-screen facts along the lines of TOTP2); Previews (a selection of partial tracks by other artists in the series); DVD Jukebox (a selection of tracks from feature length Classic Pictures DVDs).
Four classic Who songs are covered; See Me, Feel Me (Tommy Can You Hear me), Pinball Wizard and Iím Free (from the rock opera album Tommy, 1969) and Iím A Boy (originally released as a single (in 1966), 1967). Arguments or debates often ensue when it is suggested that a particular album was the first concept album but Tommy certainly was one of the first rock operas. The film that followed in the mid 70ís quickly dated not helped by the lyrical references to 50ís and 60ís phenomena such as pinball machines. That said, who could forget the great performances by the late Keith Moon (pervy Uncle Ernie complete with marigolds and jar of Vaseline) and the late Oliver Reed (evil Uncle Frank) or indeed the surreal baked bean scene.
The performances on this DVD-EP are early performances and are surprisingly melodic, dare I say genteel yet with underlying power, for a band that is generally considered to sound raw and raucous. Hard to believe they used to sport Beatle/Mod-like hairstyles in the early days (Iím A Boy track). This first section of the DVD-EP runs for 11 mins (as does the Pop-Up DVD section).
The preview section covers Alice Cooper, Motorhead, Deep Purple, Joe Cocker, Meatloaf, The Beach Boys and Rod Stewart offering a taster of the other DVD-EPís in the series (running time 3:30 mins).
The DVD Jukebox section (running at over 27 mins) provides a selection of tracks from feature length DVDs available from Classic Pictures by Alexis Korner, Steve Marriott, New Grass Revival, Wishbone Ash, Leon Russell, Jack Bruce, Edgar Winter (classic Winter with Leon Russell), Big Country, Black Sabbath (with Ronnie James Dio) and Blue Oyster Cult). Track details of the DVDs from which these tracks are taken are displayed onscreen.
Picture and sound quality are good. The performances were originally filmed for German TV and recorded in glorious black and white (monochrome) with special effects (front and back projection, band in silhouette etc.).
The DVD has a fully animated menu from which can be accessed the sections and tracks within the sections at will.
The DVD sleeve provides full listings of all sections.
The DVD is multi-region PAL format, 4:3 screen ratio, with selectable Dolby© Digital 5.1/DTS.
How often do you see rare footage from a band featuring complete tracks? Most documentaries on bands only show snippets of performance from yesteryear. We can always wish for more but at least we can enjoy the all too short but complete tracks on this DVD, marvel at the talent of the late John Entwistle and Keith Moon, and Pete Townsendís clever compositions and Roger Daltryís Jekyll and Hyde vocals. All for the bargain price of around £6.99. (Release date 23rd September 2002 Cat No. DVD6068X)
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