Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Who Live At Kilburn gives rare look at band in Keith Moon's last performance

Airing on Palladia this month is a rare concert by The Who "Live At Kilburn", filmed in December of 1977 in London.

Intended as footage to be used in the 1979 documentary about the band "The Kids Are Alright", the concert was actually an invitation only event and shot during a period when the Who had not played live for nearly a year.

The Who is clearly shaking off the rust here. The concert was plagued with audio problems and at one point an apparently frustrated Pete Townshend is seen deliberately knocking over one of his speaker cabinet heads.

Midway through the show Townshend says to the audience: "Well, this isn't really worth filming is it? Might as well tell the camera operators to go home".

Aside from the few moments of the concert that were actually shown in "The Kids Are Alright", the rest of the video sat in the band's vault for 30 years before being uncovered in 2006. Audio glitches were repaired along with other enhancements and the entire performance was remastered and released as a DVD.

In fact, in its current form, the concert is pretty special viewing. Shot on 8mm film with six cameras, its a nostalgic trip through time when the band's concerts had simple lighting, no video screens and no sidemen. Its also their last live performance with drummer Keith Moon.

The Who plays an 80 minute set that blisters through old favorites like "I Can't Explain" and "Substitute" into rarities like the John Entwistle led "My Wife". Its also the first time the band played the yet- to- be released "Who Are You" live.

While critics cite the concert as evidence of Moon's health decline (he died the following year of an overdose of a drug that was supposed to help cure his alcoholism), Moon actually appears to be quite competent and in the moment. Frontman Roger Daltrey is as fit as ever and in top voice. Entwistle blisters away on bass. And, Townshend is a madman with his trademark windmills and slides across the stage.

What they may have lacked in a consistently tight musical performance is made up for with astounding raw energy.

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