This gig sold-out within an hour of tickets going on sale at the venues box-office (November 14th) and it being, too, the first time the Coliseum had held a concert of this type. This culture clash did have its differences, particularly between the hippie type Rock audience and the Opera Houses' rather well-to-do traditional staff and their policies of etiquette.
The shot footage, here, was originally intended to be used for a forthcoming film entitled "Tommy" but the quality of the footage was deemed too poor and, in the end, the "Tommy" project was postponed (what footage was used can be seen in the 1979 film "The Kids Are Alright"). With such a show of this era, the era of Townshend wearing his white boiler suit and Daltrey's tassel's and flowing locks, this was the period when the band were at its tightest, its heaviest and its most energetic, with pure dynamism and control, your average Who gig would average from two to three hours. The night they played this 2500 seater was no different, this set spanned two and a half hour's. We see the Who performing "Tommy" (this being the first time the rock opera had been filmed) some seven months after the album had been released, and this performance here, as part of their tour of 1969.
Using several 16mm cameras (three in the stalls, pit and on stage) and due to the dark and grainy cinematography within the film for the fact that the lighting was set-up primarily for the theatre and not Rock music, some of the concert was unable to be captured, the music and soundtrack were recorded on a two-track recorder. With each camera only capable of holding twelve minutes of film does give the whole visual experience some sense of amateurish feel, to the point of it looking like a poorly directed bootleg. This all adds to the flavour of the times and gives the impression of a raw and rough & ready deliverance with what can seem like poor editing and irritating screen-jumps that comes with this mixed bag of rock, opera, theatre and stage.
Within the combination of poor visual quality, iffy edits and dodgy seque's, this really is a spectacular event that only rises the temperature the further the show drives along. Where this film lacks in visual expertise it certainly makes up for the fact that this, still, elaborate and dexterous rock n' roll performance and in its own unique way is highly individualistic simply because of the trappings of its settings. This may be your standard late sixties Who concert but this, too, is a film that stands out from the norm. Yes, we have four individuals strutting their collective stuff, but we also have a tremendous attribute to the virtues of Rock music and even if this piece had been sitting in the vaults for thirty-eight years, ironically, age has not withered and rotted away the energy of the performance nor has it eroded the attitude of its major components.
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