Recording in June 2015 to celebrate fifty years in the business, The Who took to the stage at Hyde Park in front of a massive crowd to blast through their stunning back catalogue. This DVD captures that performance, interspersed with a few words from guitarist/song-writer Pete Townshend and vocalist Roger Daltrey.
Kicking off with their usual opener 'Can't Explain', it's immediately apparent they are in top form, with Daltrey's gruff voice sounding commanding and confident, while Townshend windmills in typical energetic style. Backed by huge video screens, the show has a big visual element to it as they tear through classics such as 'The Kids Are Alright', 'Who Are You', 'My Generation', 'Behind Blue Eyes' 'Baba O'Riley', 'Won't Get Fooled Again' and many more.
At certain points the show cuts away to interview snippets with Townshend and Daltrey, which I often find annoying in concert videos, but here it works quite well, as the two veterans offer interesting insights as to how they approach life in The Who, as well as some amusing comments, like Townshend's observation of "what shall we do to celebrate fifty years? I know, we'll work you to fucking death!"
Comments also come from Iggy Pop and Paul Weller, but the music is the main attraction here. Their two Rock Operas are well represented, with a six song medley from 'Tommy' which features 'Pinball Wizard and 'See Me, Feel Me', along with a couple of tracks from 'Quadrophenia' in the form of 'I'm One' and 'Love Reign O'er Me'. The performance of 'The Seeker' is moved into the bonus section of the DVD, accompanied by relatively pointless slideshows set to studio versions of 'You Better You Bet' and 'Squeeze Box'.
You could make the argument that without Keith Moon on drums and John Entwistle on bass, it's not really The Who, and you could also bemoan the amount of extra musicians on stage. However, with the legendary Pino Palladino handling the bass, Ringo Starr's son (and Moon protégé) Zak Starkey on drums and the addition of Townshend's younger brother Simon to help flesh out the guitars and the backing vocals, the band more than do justice to the material.
Precious few acts last this amount of time and have this many great songs to draw from. Daltrey makes the comment about the band that "it's as good now as it's ever been" and from what I witnessed here, this is one of the rare occasions you can agree. Phenomenal.