The Who

The Who Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 Special Edition
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This upgraded version of director Murray Lerner’s film is a dramatic improvement over the previous DVD release, adding two bonus songs, a recent 38-minute Pete Townshend interview by Lerner, and audio remixed from the 8-track masters under Townshend’s supervision, with 24-bit Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 surround-sound options in addition to Dolby stereo. The film is surprisingly clean considering its age, capturing Roger Daltry’s flying fringes and microphone twirls, John Entwhistle’s skeleton-emblazoned jumpsuit, and Townshend’s jump-kicks and windmills in sparkling detail. But it’s the sound that really pulls you in, revealing every nuance without sacrificing visceral impact. Possibly because the audio and visual elements were recorded on separate machines, however, they are not always perfectly synchronized. Most of the time this is only mildly disconcerting, but in a few sections they are as much as several seconds apart.

Musically, you get nearly the complete show, including a killer version of opener “Heaven and Hell,” a clever “Shakin’ All Over”/“Spoonful”/“Twist and Shout” medley, and almost all of Tommy. And, the bonus tracks are a welcome addition, as Townshend takes one of his best solos of the set on “Naked Eye.” Additionally, the interview provides numerous insights into the period, though at times it can be difficult to discern the proximity of Townshend’s tongue to his cheek. This DVD captures the Who at the height of the band’s power, and is a must-have for serious fans. (Eagle Vision.)
—Barry Cleveland