Saturday, August 8, 2009

ALBUM REVIEW: The Who at Kilburn - Flashback for the Who‏

The DVD The Who at Kilburn was released on Nov. 18 to commemorate the legendary rock band's performance at the Gaumont State Theatre in Kilburn, London in December 1977 and Who frontman Roger Daltrey doesn't know why. Daltrey told Billboard, "I just remember it was kind of a weird day. We did the show in the afternoon, which is not the best time of the day to be on form, especially for (drummer) Keith Moon."

The documentary was produced by Jeff Stein, and although Who biographer Johnny Black notoriously called the show "disastrous," Daltrey merely referred to it as "quite a good show," although he did tell Billboard that "Pete (Townshend) at the time wasn't very happy with it," although he doesn't remember why.

Perhaps Daltrey will have to buy the DVD himself to see an obviously upset Townshend yell, "There's a guitar up here if any big mouth f** little git wants to take it from me." The show was important because it was the second-to-last played by the band before Moon's death on Sept. 7, 1978. To see the current incarnation of the band perform live, try going online for the Who tickets.

The seeds for the Who were planted when guitarist Pete Townshend and bassist John Entwistle met in the Shepherd's Bush neighborhood in London and joined a band called the Detours with vocalist Roger Daltrey. After changing their name to the Who and adding drummer Keith Moon, the band quickly gained a fan base that loved their energetic live shows and rock'n'roll sound.

In 1965 the Who released the popular single "I Can't Explain" and continued with equally successful hits like "My Generation," "Substitute," "The Kids Are Alright" and "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere." Townshend said the infamous words "I hope I die before I get old" in "My Generation," and a generation of the Who fans flocked to see the band and buy their records.

After bursting onto the music scene during the British Invasion of the 1960s, the Who's Townshend released a 90-minute rock opus called Tommy in 1967, and in 1970 the band released what some fans consider their best work, Live at Leeds. Later on in the decade, Moon tragically died of a drug overdose in 1978 after the release of Who Are You, and after Kenney Jones stepped in on drums the same fate almost befell Townshend in 1981, although he luckily survived the event.

The group released Face Dances afterward and embarked on what they claimed would be their final tour. Throughout the '90s the remaining members of the Who stuck to solo projects but were honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 43rd Grammy Awards. In 2001 Entwistle passed away due to a cocaine-induced heart attack.

In 2005 the remaining members performed at Live 8 and then released their first album of new material in 24 years, Endless Wire. The pair then hit the road on a large-scale tour and is currently on the road for a smaller-scale version with bassist Pino Palladino, drummer Zach Starkley, keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick and guitarist Simon Townshend forming the rest of the band.

Daltrey and Townshend will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 Kennedy Center Honors and Daltrey told Billboard how proud he is, saying, "Coming from where we come from, being totally inspired by American music at such a young age and now being honored by the country that inspired me, it's unbelievable." If you haven't seen the iconic band live, get your The Who tickets soon!

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