THE WHO: LIVE AT SHEA STADIUM 1982 is finally on DVD!

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The Who Live Shea Stadium Bluray Critical Blast

I've been a fan of THE WHO since I was a young boy. No, I'm not straight out of their '60s heyday, but I was bopping around in the late '70s and '80s getting an education in the best rock music from my father. I was exposed to "Tommy" at an early age, heard all their best tunes, knew all about the guys destroying their equipment, and always was amazed when my Dad told me he saw THE WHO open for HERMAN'S HERMITS. Can you imagine seeing one of the most legendary bands in history before they were famous?

I didn't get around to seeing them in concert for the first time until 2000 at Madison Square Garden. It was a jaw-dropping show that cemented the band as one of my favorites. I still remember being so stoked when I got home that I couldn't sleep. Thankfully, I had set my VCR, remember them? As a note, my VCR clock didn't blink forever, I knew how to use the damn thing. You see, I had recorded the first episode of THE FUGITIVE revival, which wasn't bad, although it didn't last past that season. I also had recorded a new show by the name of CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION. Now, I only watched the show for a couple seasons, but we all know that "Who Are You" was the show's theme. Hearing THE WHO once again so late it was early, was just one more reason it is oh so memorable all these years later.

But, I digress.

Speaking of memorable, could you imagine the memories built if you'd seen that early tour with the Hermits, Woodstock, or even the Shea Stadium show in 1982? Watching this video is a real treat, but my goodness, what the energy must have been like in the home of the Mets back in the early '80s! I guess it's possible there have been a few bad shows by THE WHO over the years, but I've never seen one live or on film. Rest assured this is just another typical night, a typical night of awesome!

The band had been together about twenty years at this point, so they certainly weren't in their heyday. Keith Moon had died a few years prior to this show, but Kenney Jones lays down the thumping blues-inspired beats admirably. I'm one who believes bands must continue on when members leave or die, as long as the heart is still there. The heart remains with Roger Daltrey's vocals, Pete Townshend incomparable guitar, and the spectacular bass playing of John Entwistle.

As a negative, you don't get an idea of the size and scope of the stadium. You don't see enough of the fans and the video starts with the band already on stage. That's a small nit, though, as the sound mix is wonderful, each instrument sounds crisp, and the vocals come through clean and powerful. There is also a wonderful set list as THE WHO was working in support of their album IT'S HARD, so there are a number of songs from the album only played on this particular tour. The titular track is good but "Eminence Front" is the song from the album that's really stood the test of time, and the version from Shea is glorious.

With a band like THE WHO that was nearing twenty years together, at the point of this show, you definitely want to hear the hits. Well, just about everything you want to hear from "I Can't Explain" to "Pinball Wizard" are here to hear and revel in their sonic delights. You also get several awesome covers like "Summertime Blues", "Young Man Blues", and "Twist and Shout". All these were staples of the band's shows over the years, but there was also a brilliant cover of THE BEATLES standard "I Saw Her Standing There". Little touches like that elevate this release to awesome heights.

I want to talk a little about the bass player blues! Like most concert footage of THE WHO there's precious little focus on John Entwistle throughout the show. In previous years, Entwistle had gone as far as to dress like a skeleton to get some camera love, but it never worked. You'd think there were only guitar, drums, and vocals throughout much of the show. Sad, considering just how brilliantly the man could play his instrument. I was lucky to see him play live back on that tour in 2000, and his bass dexterity made my jaw drop so many times. Thankfully, we are treated to his vocals, thus a heavy focus, during track 5 "The Quiet One", which is one of my favorite songs the band has ever cut.

This is the second night of THE WHO's stand at Shea, but the extras include five tracks from the previous night's show. While that means repeats of "Substitute" and "I Can't Explain" we are treated to "A Man is a Man", "5:15", and"My Generation" which was oddly absent until that point. Those bonuses along with the main concert make this an unbeatable buy for anyone that loves beautiful music played by titans of the business.

Track Listing
1) Substitute 2) Can't Explain 3) Dangerous 4) Sister Disco 5) The Quiet One 6) It's Hard 7) Eminence Front 8) Behind Blue Eyes 9) Baba O'Riley 10) I'm One 11) The Punk and the Godfather 12) Drowned 13) Tattoo 14) Cry if you Want 15) Who Are You 16) Pinball Wizard 17) See Me Feel Me 18) Love Reign O'er Me 19) Long Live Rock 20) Won't Get Fooled Again 21) Young Man Blues 22) Naked Eye 23) I Saw Her Standing There 24) Summertime Blues 25) Twist and Shout

4.5 / 5.0