Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

The Who The Kids Are Alright DVD (Deluxe Edition) (2008)

TheKidsAreAlrightFrom amazon.com

Really, I just don’t know how this DVD could be any better.

It seems like every night, Dave and Jay have some new band on stage. Some angst-projecting vocalist trying to sound like Kurt Cobain, some guitarist who knows 5 chords and 2 ways to strum each one, a bassist who plays one note at a time, and a drummer who knows only one rythem – bump-bah-bump-bah-bump-bah-badump. But no matter how bad they are, they all have one thing in common – they’re all pretty enough for MTV. It’s enough to make me scream in frustration, because I know how good rock and roll can really be, and this DVD is it.

Patch your DVD player through your stereo, put masking tape on all your window glass, stuff the dog’s ears with cotton, protect all small children with DOT approved devices, then pop this DVD in and hide under the couch, because THIS is rock and roll as it was and is meant to be – master musicians with genuine f— it all attitude, playing through 10 tons of Marshall Hiwatt amps. In the late 70’s there was a famous ad in “Stereo Review” showing a guy sitting in an armchair in front of a speaker, with his necktie being blown straight back behind him. Picture that, and you get an idea of what this movie and this band are all about.

The movie itself is half comedy and half action-drama. The comedy comes during interviews and conversations with the band, with Keith initiating most of it and everyone else either joining in or, in the case of the slick corporate “host” types, getting skewered. The action-drama is all on stage, with Pete whirling his way through incredible guitar playing, Roger providing his usual peerless singing, Keith bringing something almost otherworldly to his drums, and John holding it all down, standing there motionless like the rock of Gibralter, his fingers on the bass a blur.

Unlike so many modern bands, who surround themselves with “star” mystique and who are always safe and cool on stage, The Who were self-deprecating and able to laugh at themselves when they weren’t playing, and when they were playing… well, when they were playing, they consistently reached for the stars. Sometimes it didn’t work – sometimes they sounded like crap. But when they were in the sweet spot, when they were in “the zone,” they were, to use the apt words of another reviewer, “the greatest rock and roll band ever to draw breath.”

Most of what you get in this DVD special edition is “in the zone,” and what little isn’t, doesn’t really detract from the experience. Everyone who worked on producing this DVD edition should get a medal, as the film looks and sounds as close to perfection as it is ever going to get.

By the way, if you are listening through an old-fashioned, two speaker system, choose “stereo” under sound options. The reviewer who panned the sound, probably hadn’t tried that option yet – on my system (Carver tuner with 2 Dahlquist DQM-9 Compact loudspeakers) choosing “stereo” cleaned up the sound greatly.

Unfortunately, most of the people who buy this DVD, probably already know how great it is. You won’t be disappointed, and if you show it to a friend or two, maybe the memory of The Who won’t die with us. There’s never been another band like them, and this DVD does them justice for the ages.

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May 31, 2013 - Posted by | The Who The Kids Are Alright DVD | ,

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