Today I’m going to take a look at the Blu-Ray version of a concert I was lucky enough to see five times in person, The Who’s 2013 Quadrophenia tour. Quadrophenia is one of the all-time greatest records, and my personal favorite. It’s an important coming of age story that The Who revived for their 2013 tour and really added to the experience with some great visuals and incredible performances. The band here is two originals, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, along with Pete’s brother Simon, bass player Pino Paladino, keyboardists John Corey and Loren Gold, and drummer Scott Devours who played in place of usual Who drummer Zak Starkey who was injured.
The shows were all a track-by-track reproduction of the record, starting with “I am the Sea” and ending with “Love, Reign O’er Me”. From the opening of “The Real Me” It’s obvious these two old dudes still have it. Pete windmilling on his guitar while Daltrey whips his microphone around, with images of The Who of old on huge video screens in the background, and also fading in and out on the screen around Daltrey and Townshend. They sound fantastic, Daltrey’s voice isn’t as bad as most critics will lead you to believe, and Townshend has never sounded better, vocally or on guitar. Of course, some songs are in different keys, but that’s to accommodate Daltrey’s range, and it isn’t distracting at all.
One reason I really loved the Quadrophenia tour was for the visuals that were prepared by Roger. The visuals were maybe a little self-indulgent, but they made the shows a celebration of everything Who, and all that has happened since 1964, the year The Who formed. The two instrumental tracks, the third track “Quadrophenia” and penultimate track “The Rock” have some great visuals. “Quadrophenia” focusing on the time between World War II and 1964, featuring things like a bombed out London, The Beatles arriving in America, and the start of the Vietnam War. The visuals for “The Rock” feature a lot of Who mixed in with news reel footage from the 50 years The Who have been a band, including footage of things like the assassination of John Lennon, September 11th, Hurricane Katrina, and Occupy Wall Street. It’s pretty interesting to see all that has happened in those fifty years. Also featured during “5:15” and “Bell Boy” are visuals of John Entwistle and Keith Moon. A projection of John performs a bass solo for “5:15” and Moon is shown while his vocal track from “Bell Boy” is played. Both moments are tastefully done and really help make the show feel very special, especially for a big Who fan.
If you’re a fan of The Who and Quadrophenia, you’ll really dig this DVD/Blu-Ray. I’d say, even without Entwistle, it’s a bit better than the 1996 tour DVD. My only complaint about the production would be it seems like they added some canned crowd reactions whenever Keith Moon or John Entwistle are on screen. At these shows, those moments did prompt some cheering from the crowd, but whatever they did just sounds a little out of place. There are some bonus tracks including the usual encore from the tour, featuring “Baba O’Riley” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and that’s a nice treat as well. Overall, the Blu-Ray is an excellent time capsule for a band that is slowly winding down. In addition to the Blu-Ray, there’s a DVD and two-disc CD set available as well.
The Real Me
Sea and Sand:
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