Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Who: Chicago, December 8, 1979

This came in the 3-DVD boxed set of Amazing Journey, when it was released in 2007, and you could only get the third disc by buying it at Best Buy. As I watched it for the first time, I recorded the audio onto CD. It wasn't a bad thing to do, as the music was re-mixed from the original 24-track tape.

This was a show from the Chicago Amphitheater, not even a week after the tragic concert at Cincinnati, where eleven people were trampled to death while the crowd was rushing to get into the venue to see the show. You would never know by watching this, although they lightly acknowledge this a couple of times during the show. This was also 15 months after they had lost Keith Moon, and were touring for the first time with a new drummer, so there was quite a lot riding on the band at this time.

But, as Ive said, this is actually quite enjoyable. Pete and Roger, in particular, are out to have a good time, and are in a playful mood while on stage. The songs are played with plenty of energy to spare, far from the lethargy of the 1981 and 1982 tours that most fans remember this lineup of the band being plagued with. With John "Rabbit" Bundrick on keyboards, they were able to play newer songs such as "Sister Disco", "Music Must Change" (a surprisingly well-received song here), and piano-driven tracks from Quadrophenia, such as "Drowned" and "5:15".

Kenney Jones....what can we say? He had some massive shoes to fill, and while a competent player, he sticks to playing "four to the bar" on the hi-hat (which doesn't suit songs like "Substitute" and "Baba O'Riley"), whereas Keith would have been plowing all over the crash cymbals, doing it only the way he would have done it. But they needed someone who could play a good, long show, with someone to match the band members' energy.

Since there were never any live shows released from the 1979 tours, from which a good live album could have been made (save for the forgettable Concerts For The People Of Kampuchea), this is probably one of the best post-Keith Moon live shows that's out there.

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