Review: The Who 'Live In Hyde Park' 50th Anniversary DVD

The Who playing Hyde Park in London. Michael Putland-Redferns-GettyImages

The Who's 2015 World Tour celebrates the iconic band's 50th anniversary since the release of their debut single "I Can't Explain" in 1965 (which kicks off their Hyde Park set). On June 26, 2015, The Who filmed their concert at London's historic Hyde Park before 65,000 fans for their "Live In Hyde Park" DVD/Blu-ray/CD release, which combines searing live performances and interviews with guitarist/singer/songwriter Pete Townshend, lead vocalist Roger Daltrey, and some famous rock admirers.

The film opens with a gang of multi-generational Who fans traveling to the concert on dozens of vintage 60's Mod-style scooters which recall The Who's 1971 dramatic film Quadrophenia. During the opening moments of The Who 'Live In Hyde Park' Townshend boasts: "In London there's a general sense of warmth that The Who are a part of the city. There's the Mayor Boris, and then there's The Who, and then there's the Prime Minster and the Queen."

Townshend starts the concert by telling the crowd: “You’re a long way away…but we will reach you!” Pete keeps that promise with a huge backdrop video screen, a spectacular light show, and a setlist that includes classics like "My Generation," "Behind Blue Eyes," "Love Reign O’er Me," "Pinball Wizard," and "Baba O’Riley." Surprisingly the set includes deep cuts such as "Pictures of Lilly," "I'm One," and "The Seeker." The show starts around sundown with The Who taking the stage backed by a recording of their hit "I Can See For Miles." You can literally see for miles past the thousands of people to the London skyline for the first half of the show.

The Who pay tribute to their late original bandmates drummer Keith Moon (who died in 1968) and bassist John Entwistle (who died in 2002) throughout their almost two-hour set showing their images on the big screen. During the song "Bargain" Daltrey faces the video screens and poignantly reaches his hand up towards images of Moon and Entwistle as Townshend sings "I'm looking for you" in one of the shows most affecting moments.

Although Moon and Entwistle are missed their contributions are clearly not forgotten.

The film tastefully intersperses interviews with Townshend and Daltrey with testimonials by admirers like The Smiths' former guitarist Johnny Marr and The Jam's former frontman Paul Weller, who were opening acts for the concert. The interviews add context to The Who's long and storied history and never interfere with the music. The Who's backing band includes drummer Zak Starkey (The Beatles' drummer Ringo Starr's son), guitarist/backup singer Simon Townshend (Pete's brother), bassist Pino Pallidino (Nine Inch Nails, John Mayer Trio, Paul Young), and Loren Gold, Frank Simes, and John Corey, who fill out The Who's sound with keyboards, piano, percussion, and backing vocals which help bring the band's studio recordings to full life live.

Although Daltrey has toned down some of his microphone twirling theatrics his voice is still in top form. Daltrey nails the voice shredding climactic "Yeaaaaaahhhh!" scream near the end of in the band's final song "Won't Get Fooled Again" which was originally recorded in 1971. Townshend is a powerhouse on guitar — playing rhythm and lead guitar with attitude, showmanship, and his trademark arm windmilling.

Townshend intersperses his backing vocals with lead vocals on "I'm One" and The Who's last 1982 hit "Eminence Front" and bridge sections on many classics. The Who have persevered though the death of band members, changing musical styles, and yet their songs remain vital classics.

The Who's 50th Anniversary tour has been billed as their final major tour. Even though Townshend and Daltrey are now ages 70 and 71 respectively you gets the feeling that The Who will carry on for as long as they are willing and able to play their classic songs. Near the encore section of the film Townshend says in an interview, "I don't think anybody's calling it the last tour — I mean I've stopped touring with The Who many times. I intend to stop touring next year — it doesn't mean that I won't come back to it."

The Who 'Live In Hyde Park' DVD captures the band in great form. If this turns out to be The Who's last tour then the band have left an enduring mark with classic albums, powerful concerts, and a legacy of great songs that will live on for decades if not centuries. The potent combination of Townshend's potent songwriting and Daltrey's powerhouse voice has entertained millions for over 50 years. The Who's "Live In Hyde Park" DVD captures a thrilling concert by one of the greatest rock n' roll bands of all time. 

The Who 'Live In Hyde Park' was released November 20th, 2015 via Eagle Rock Entertainment and can be purchased in multiple formats including a 2 CD/DVD set here.

TRACKLISTING

1) I Can’t Explain 

2) The Seeker*  

3) Who Are You 

4) The Kids Are Alright  

5) Pictures Of Lily  

6) I Can See For Miles  

7) My Generation  

8) Behind Blue Eyes  

9) Bargain  

10) Join Together  

11) You Better You Bet  

12) I’m One  

13) Love Reign O’er Me  

14) Eminence Front  

15) Amazing Journey / Sparks  

16) Pinball Wizard  

17) See Me, Feel Me / Listening To You  

18) Baba O’Riley  

19) Won’t Get Fooled Again

* included as bonus on DVD / Blu-ray

Format
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Your Citation
Schallau, Bob. "Review: The Who 'Live In Hyde Park' 50th Anniversary DVD." ThoughtCo, Dec. 16, 2015, thoughtco.com/review-the-who-live-in-hyde-park-50th-anniversary-dvd-2898091. Schallau, Bob. (2015, December 16). Review: The Who 'Live In Hyde Park' 50th Anniversary DVD. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/review-the-who-live-in-hyde-park-50th-anniversary-dvd-2898091 Schallau, Bob. "Review: The Who 'Live In Hyde Park' 50th Anniversary DVD." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/review-the-who-live-in-hyde-park-50th-anniversary-dvd-2898091 (accessed September 19, 2017).