Live at Kilburn a must for Who fans – but for the Coliseum concert, not Kilburn

The recent DVD / Blu-ray release of The Who at Kilburn 1977 is a must-have if you have any spark of interest in The Who. I found it utterly compelling. I got the DVD, because I can play it anywhere, and I’m not convinced Blu-ray has much advantage for something like this.

What gripped me was not the Kilburn concert though. It’s OK, but this is among Keith Moon’s last performances and he is far from his best.

No, the gem here is the 1969 London Coliseum concert, from the best years of The Who. The Coliseum is an opera house, and was booked in order to perform the rock opera, Tommy. The band members realise how pretentious this is and joke about it; yet at the same time there was a genuine desire to push rock music to a new place.

That’s exactly what they do, not because Tommy is an opera, but through sheer energy and virtuosity. The quality varies from reasonable to bootleg, especially the picture which is very dark at times, but it matters little; this is The Who from when they could reasonably claim to be the best live band in the world.

Sparks indeed. You’ll love it.

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