Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who (2-Film DVD Box Set)
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Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who and Amazing Journey: Six Quick Ones are two exhilarating feature films about one of the greatest rock bands in the world! Spanning four decades, this authorized and definitive anthology of The Who relives their journey from humble beginnings to their meteoric rise to rock legend status in a 2-film DVD set. Filled with all-new interviews with band members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend and music icons Sting, The Edge of U2, Eddie Vedder and more, this must-have collection also features electrifying rare and unreleased concert footage in mind-blowing 5.1 surround sound. David Wild, a contributing editor of Rolling Stone, says it's "brilliant…an exceptionally smart and intimate portrait." For music that spoke to generations of fans, and refused to be classified, the answer is - and always will be - The Who.
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The "but" in the subject line is that while Amazon in Canada is charging $30 [at this review time]. The same package is $21 in the US.
Long ago, the film "The Kids Are Alright" and its soundtrack album set were the definitive documentary of the band. A "Special Edition" of that film has been released on DVD and is also recommended, although much of that footage is also included here. The approaches to the 2 films are different. TKAA is basically a series of TV and concert clips, showcasing the best footage of the bands best songs... and it was originally released in the 1979, within a year of drummer Keith Moon's death and Pete's announcement that the band was done. So it's an incomplete story of the Who, although it captures them at their most popular. I think it's about 2 hours long.
This Amazing Journey film was released in 2007 (after John Entwistle had died) and is shown in 6 parts, including a feature on each member of the original band (Roger, John, Pete and Keith). It's about 4 hours long in total, with lots of live footage and interviews. Obviously we hear more from Roger and Pete, who were alive when it was made, but we get good film interview footage of Keith and John as well. We get the history of the band, with the impact it had musically and visually in rock history and the Pop Art movement. We get special features looking at the 1979 Cincinnati concert, legal issues regarding their first record deal, Pete discussing how he wrote "Won't Get Fooled Again", the High Numbers (before they were called The Who) playing at the Railway hotel in 1964, and the Who in the studio in 2003 recording "Real Good Looking Boy".
The film looks and sounds great and is the most thorough Who documentary so far.Read more ›
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However, what is here is great. More footage of the Kilburn 1977 show than I thought I'd ever see, to hear how the band supposedly hated the gig/Jeff Stein's footage of that show. We see part of a great, pre-album (almost by a year) version of "Who Are You" live at Kilburn, with Moon and Entwistle jamming underneath Pete's guitar. Pete sings the chorus by himself (!), even the "Who the f ...." part, and Daltrey later joins in. It's wonderful to see Moon playing drums on a live version (other than the live-in-the-studio take in "The Kids Are Alright." The Who, from the clips seen in this DVD, sounded pretty stinking good at Kilburn. Moon actually looks like he was in better shape and less tired than the 1978 Shepperton footage in "TKAA." Don't get me wrong, I love the two Shepperton clips in "TKAA," but Moon seems more firey and hits the drums and cymbals faster (and with less effort) on the Kilburn clips. Good footage of Entwistle's crazy fingers on the bass at Kilburn, although a couple segments don't quite match up with his fingers, but nonetheless, it's great to see 1970s footage of the Ox cuttlng loose on the bass. This happens at the end of "Dreaming from the Waist" at Kilburn. Unfortunately, we only see the end of the song, but it's great to see John wailing on four strings.
it's also great to see The Who clowning around in the studio while trying to do the backing vocals to "Pictures of Lily," and there's a quick segment of Pete laying down the electric guitar for the track.
Clips of the "Quadrophenia" and "Who By Numbers" tours are awesome, allthough short like the Kilburn gig. We see Pete holding up Keith Moon (or restraining him?) at Pete's mic stand, then Pete and Roger carrying Moon to his drum kit, and then Moonie collapsing.
Interesting interviews with Pete and Roger, although much of Pete's is lifted from "An Ox's Tale" DVD and the 2004 interview Murray Lerner did for "The Who Live at the Isle of Wight" limited theatrical release and special edition DVD version in 2004. The quick segment of Hyde Park in 1994 (or 1996?) was interesting, although no site of David Gilmour.
I'm glad they talked to Kenney Jones, who is pretty much bitter-free, at least in the interviews. He really carries the weight of Daltrey's fueding back then, the world's criticisms of him not being Keith Moon, and the 1979 Cincinatti trajedy where 11 Who fans were trampled to death in a stampede for festival (general admsision) seats.
Maybe they will eventually put out all of these shows in full, someday soon on DVD. Take a note from Deep Purple and Kiss, please, Roger and Pete, and dump all the archive stuff on us. We are waiting.
Thanks for all the great music! Hope to see you on tour again soon .....
P.S. The talking heads segments aren't that bad. They're limited (only Noel Gallagher gets on my nerves, acting as if he's bothered to play with The Who at the Royal Albert Hall in 2000 - what the heck? I'll play fourth banana to The Who anyday!), as if the filmmakers started to include them in the beginning, and then kind of abandoned the idea in favor of interviews with Pete, Roger and file interviews of Entwislte, as well as their siblings and parents. First time I think I've heard Simon Townshend speak (not counting his background vocals live - and lead vocals on the 1996 Quadrophenia DVD)
The main film is cut up nicely into chapters, and each chapter is titled with a line from a Who song that pertains to stories described in that given chapter. Which many of the stories talked about in these film can be truly quite moving.
The end of the main two hour film has the most emotional parts. They describe trying to move on after the death of Keith Moon. Pete Townshend gives much heartfelt praise about John Entwhistle, and goes to talk of his death and moving on thereafter. The film also talks a lot about the Cincinnati tragedy, better than they ever had in the past. They even get brave enough to tackle Pete's legal problems he faced regarding the Child Pornography incident. In fact Pete speaks more clearly and eloquently in these films than I have ever heard before.
The second disc has short films that are collectively called "6 Quick Ones" which has mini-documentaries about the main four members. They even speak of Pete's guitar techniques witch is quite interesting as a guitar player myself.
This is a great piece to be viewed by anyone whether or not they think they are interested. It is captivating film for anyone.
The "Six Quick Ones" are the highlight. They provide entertaining and illumaniting views into each bandmember (prompting my wife to comment, "Wow, I never really appreciated how awesome Keith was as a drummer"). The movie iteself moves at a good pace and has some interesting tidbits, but very little that the serious Who fan would find new or surprising.
The most frustrating aspect of the movie is that we never see a song in its entirety. The Who's power as a creative force is not apparent in 20 second clips (a scissor kick or a windmill or a lunatic drum bit is now a rock cliche -- what makes one appreciate the Who is seeing that these were not poseur moments, but part of a constant, all-out assault on the senses in each song driven by passion and competition).
The Kids Are Alright, by contrast, is a fan's love letter, the uber-mix tape to show why this band is great musically, and generates such passion amongst its fans. The full-length clips, interspersed with interviews from assorted literati, cogniscenti, and roustabouts paint a picture (albeit an Impressionistic one) of the Who's unique and self-contradicting blend of utter seriousness about the saving power of music, pop-art self-mocking, and all-out joyous abandon. I dare you to watch Baba O'Riley or the montage of "Cobwebs and Strange", and at least not walk away with the impression that this band is something special, worth investigating further... Amazing Journey is a good one to watch to learn more.
the other discs are great stuff. for a fan the 10 minute railway hotel show as a bonus to disc 2 is worth the 22 bucks. i can't believe how tight and strong they sounded as just kids in their first moving images. the documentary itself is well done also. people are comparing this to the kids are alright, "kids" had great footage, introduced you to the band and told you a little about them. this tells you their whole story from day one til now by them, unlike the many other docs that are third person.
if you just recorded the two shows on vh1 there are a few more things on the discs, like all of disc three. one more thing, the bestbuy sets are priced wrong from the distribution center. the limited 3 disc set is marked 32.99 the regular 2 disc sets are marked 33.99, but they all ring 22.99 at the register.