Live At Shea Stadium 1982

The Who

As the Who supposedly wind down with their 50th anniversary tour, it's nice to see missing gems like Live At Shea Stadium 1982 come along to remind everyone of the band's storied history. Unlike The Who Rocks America VHS tape comprising the 1982 tour's final show in Toronto (yet to get a proper DVD and Blu-ray release at press time), this outdoor stadium show from the Who's second night at Shea with the Clash opening offers a more complete picture of a band caught in an identity crisis. Filmed on October 13, 1982, Live At Shea 1982, available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Eagle Rock, is essentially loaded with "firsts" and "farewells."

Even though it was billed as their "farewell" tour (the first of many), it was certainly "farewell" for drummer Kenney Jones, unceremoniously shown the door apparently for not being Keith Moon. OK, so he wasn't a madman with a strange blend of brilliance and finesse, but Jones was more than capable at keeping the songs swinging and on time. This was also the band's "first" U.S. tour behind a new album (1982's It's Hard) since 1976, when they promoted The Who By Numbers with Moon, his unintended "farewell" U.S. tour in the drummer's chair for the Who.

Alongside classic concert staples like "Pinball Wizard," "Won't Get Fooled Again," "My Generation," "Substitute," "Who Are You," "I Can't Explain," "See Me Feel Me" and "Baba O'Riley," there are several tracks from It's Hard. With the possible exception of "Eminence Front," this would be the "first" and last time many of the then-new songs would ever be played live. Two of them — "The Quiet One" and "Dangerous" — were written by bassist John Entwistle, who also takes the lead vocal on "Twist And Shout, " the disc's final song. You'll never see that again.

There are other off-the-grid tracks like "Sister Disco," a rocker from Who Are You? carried over from the "first" tour with Jones, and the enlightening "Tattoo" from The Who Sell Out. A special treat are four from Quadrophenia — "I'm One," "The Punk And The Godfather" (aka "The Punk Meets The Godfather"), "Drowned" and "Love, Reign O'er Me." For most of the show, guitarist Pete Townshend is in full punkish Fonzie mode, scratching out stanzas of comparatively clean and stylish leads. Singer Roger Daltrey, sporting a more dapper retro 50s look, is equally on fire and belting the songs out with gusto, grit and confidence. A couple viewings in and you suddenly realize Live At Shea Stadium 1982 goes a long way in proving the Who were far from finished in 1982.

~ Shawn Perry

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