Live In Texas '75

The Who

Seasoned Who fanatics who seek out the unreleased stuff may be familiar with video from the 1975 Summit show in Houston that's circulated amongst trading circles for years. Now that Eagle Rock has cleaned it up and punched up the sound for DVD, fans can rejoice in seeing Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Keith Moon and John Entwistle, together, on stage, totally in their element and at the peak of their powers as a live band. It's only a two-camera shoot, with a heavy emphasis on a stage-right mid-level angle, but the performance on Live In Texas '75 cuts through any and all technical limitations and glitches, providing a glimpse into how a truly legendary rock and roll band operates.

Filmed in Houston, Texas on November 20, 1975, the show on this DVD is an early date on The Who By Numbers tour (I happened to catch them four months later at the Anaheim Stadium). By this time, of course, the Who had albums like Tommy, Who's Next and Quadrophenia in their wake, while The Who By Numbers is more of a straight ahead set of tunes that mostly deals with Townshend's frustrations with alcohol, success and life. As it was, this would be the only tour where songs from that album, aside from the single "Squeeze Box," would be played with any regularity.

"However Much I Booze" is introduced by Townshend as a "special treat" before he goes on to say, "This is where I make my little speech: This is a song I wrote the night I gave up drinking and that's the end of the speech." And off they go, first the guitarist strumming a few chords before Moon the Loon and Thunderfingers Entwistle kick the whole thing in the balls, and you suddenly realize (if you didn't already know) that that's where the real power and dynamics of the Who lies. They follow with an inauspicious "Dreaming From The Waist" before diving head-first into "Behind Blues Eyes" and a healthy slice of Tommy, both featuring colorful introductions from Keith Moon.

The floodgates open for a raw medley of "My Generation," "Join Together" and "Naked Eye" before 'Won't Get Fooled Again" comes crashing through the gate. A rare encore of "Magic Bus" and "My Generation Blues" pretty much seals the deal. Yeah, this is the genuine article, not taking anything away from the more recent expanded version with Townsend and Daltrey. But even they haven't been able to shrug off the ghosts of Moon and Entwistle. Live In Texas '75 not only validates their role in the Who's unique sound; it also shows how much the band as a whole and the music they played was made for the concert stage.

~ Shawn Perry

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