The thing that struck me most when watching this performance film was how the Who had at least another ten or twelve years of great music together ahead of them. Their set at the Isle of White Festival included all of Tommy, several of their early classics like “My Generation” and “Can’t Explain” as well as covers of “Summertime Blues” and “Spoonful.”
However, my favorite Who songs, “Baba O’Reilly,” “Behind Blue Eyes” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” wouldn’t be released for another year. “Love Reign O’er Me” was three years off; “Who Are You,” eight. “You Better, You Bet,” “Eminence Front” and “Athena,” eleven.
That being said, Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival, 1970 captures the frenetic energy of the Who live. The four very distinctive personalities of mic-throwing singer Roger Daltrey, windmilling guitarist Pete Townsend, skeleton-suited bassist John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon, who didn’t so much play the drums as beat the crap out of them, shine through.
In a rock-n-roll verite style, director Murray Lerner shot the entire show, played before a massive and unexpected crowd of 600,000, capturing up close and personal the Who’s nihilistic proto-punk theatrics. The Who: Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival, 1970 is a fantastic entrée into the music of the Who for the uninitiated and a terrific companion piece to Live At Leeds for fans.