TRACKLISTING 1. Heaven and Hell 2. I Can't Explain 3. Young Man Blues 4. I Don't Even Know Myself 5. Water 6. Medley: Shakin' All Over / Spoonful / Twist and Shout 7. Summertime Blues 8. My Generation 9. Magic Bus From "Tommy": 10. Overture 11. It's a Boy 12. Eyesight to the Blind (The Hawker) 13. Christmas 14. The Acid Queen 15. Pinball Wizard 16. Do You Think It's Alright 17. Fiddle About 18. Go to the Mirror 19. Miracle Cure 20. I'm Free 21. We're Not Gonna Take It 22. See Me Feel Me / Listening to You 23. Tommy Can You Hear Me?
BONUS FEATURES Bonus tracks omitted from the original film: 1. Substitute 2. Naked Eye New 40 minute interview with Pete Townshend.
The bulk of the set is inevitably devoted to a 13-song suite that captures the high points of Tommy itself. For the band's fans and students of live rock, the emerging portrait is engaging, capturing the dynamism of the core instrumental trio: boiler-suited Townshend paces the stage, jumps midchord, and teases the crowd with his signature "windmill" strumming (yawning playfully, in fact, during "My Generation"); the late Keith Moon whirls across the top of his drum kit, crouches tensely as he reins in his formidable power for quiet accents, and mugs shamelessly, perpetually moving; and John Entwistle is the apotheosis of the inward bassist, standing otherwise motionless as he studiously plucks intricate, melodic lines that anchor the melee. Stage center, of course, is Roger Daltrey, whose matador poses, lassoed microphone flourishes, and tossing curls have since become the lingua franca of two succeeding generations of arena rockers.
The camera work hews tightly to the band, succumbing to the fast zooms and sudden cuts of its day and capturing a few telling moments of irritation or fatigue among the members, but there are few establishing shots that take in the full scale of the performing site. Limited stage lighting often bleaches the color from performers and crowd alike, while the audio recording, coupled with doubtless limitations to the sound system, exacerbates ragged vocal pitches. In a post-MTV era when even concert footage is usually subjected to sonic surgery, extra takes and insertions, Live at the Isle of Wight may look and sound crude, but as a document of one of rock's most powerful, passionate bands, it's definitely worth a look, as well as comparative viewing with both Woodstock and Monterey Pop. --Sam Sutherland