Newly remastered, this is the definitive live performance of this giant architectonic hit. The audience consisted of only 300 hardcore fans imported for the filming. My suggestion for listening would be… later… late at night with a beverage or a bong hit and then full screen and ramp speakers up to warp factor five.
[An aside: Once upon a time in London I was in a recording studio with Glyn Johns and Ethan Russell as The Who struggled to record a song from “Who Are You” whose title escapes me now (What can I say? Those were the days when everything was sort of, well, liquid.). The sessions had not been going well and they’d come in late and unprepared as usual. The only thing I really remember was a period of about an hour when everything was cued up and the band would count down and hit it. They’d get about 30 seconds into it and Johns would stop the tapes, key his studio mike and say, “Nope. Not sold.” Johns was a hard taskmaster and declined to be fooled again. These days, me too.]
This was done for the film The Kids Are Alright and is notable for the close-ups of the faces and hands of the band, especially the great and demented Keith Moon’s cocaine-boosted last performance with the band.
BACKGROUND from somebody who was there: The 40th anniversary of The Who at Shepperton Studios
‘My Generation’ and Daltrey spun a wide arc microphone narrowly missing the top of Townshend’s head. Townshend slashed the strings of his guitar with wild, wild windmills until it looked like his arm was going to come off. Keith Moon -on what was going to be his last gig- drove himself behind the drumkit like a demon possessed. Entwistle didn’t move a fucking inch. And yet he appeared more potentially explosive than anyone else. His bass lines throbbed as if he were playing lead. His medieval face bore half-buried expressions of complete boredom and contempt for anything and anyone.
It was supposed to be over. That was it. The Who appeared to be unstrapping their instruments and now people like Pridden and Alan Rogan ran the stage. And then it started….like as if the synthesizer coda was approaching from another planet. I looked across at the estatic faces and caught sight of Bobby Pridden bobbing up and down like a Lord of the Knobs and shouting urgent instructions to someone behind him. And then it hit the entire Shepperton hangar like an unbelievable dream come true; that all-too-familiar synthesized coda every Who fan dreams of, looming larger than life as it gained impossible momentum. I’d seen and heard ‘Won’t get Fooled Again’ played many times before, but this……!
When it finished there was a kind of split-second stunned silence before we all clapped and roared ourselves hoarse. To give an idea of what it was like; even the normally blase film crew got up out of their stencil-backed seats and applauded. I shall always remember that day because of all the very many Who gigs I have been lucky enough to see, I don’t think I have ever seen the band come so close to its fans…..all 300 of us.
OTHER DETAILS: The Who 1977–78 performances
Although the complete performance has yet to surface, a longer set was reportedly played, including two versions each of “My Wife” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. The latter was played a second time when director Jeff Stein insisted on a more definitive ending, resulting in a drawn-out and explosive conclusion. Moon had experienced difficulties keeping up with the set, and shocked the band and crew by snorting a large amount of cocaine before the final rendition of “Won’t Get Fooled Again”; his drumming deteriorated towards the end as the effects of the cocaine wore off. This was the last time Moon played with the group.
[HT: Big Fur Hat]