Monday, 18 September 2017

Neil Young "Silver and Gold" (2000)




Neil Young “Silver and Gold” (2000)

Good To See You/Silver and Gold/Daddy Went Walkin’/Buffalo Springfield Again/The Great Divide//Horseshoe Man//Red Sun/Distant Camera/Razor Life/Without Rings

‘I’m pickin’ something up – I’m lettin’ something go…’

‘Silver and Gold’ finally turned up four years after ‘Broken Arrow’ had in 1996, putting an end to all sorts of speculation about what Neil had been up to in the interim. Now that might not seem like much of a gap to you Paul Simon or Pink Floyd gaps but for Neil it was an eternity. Four whole years – I mean, that’s four times the gap of normal! It remains, at the time of writing, double the length of the second biggest gap in his discography since he started releasing albums with Buffalo Springfield back in 1966. Surely after the wait this was going to be the best and most exciting album ever? Well, not exactly. There is, to be fair, a lot of gold and silver sprinkled liberally across this album. Unfortunately there’s quite a lot of bronze and wooden spoon songs too that either try hard but don’t quite cut it or fail utterly miserably. And as for excitement, well, ‘Silver and Gold’ is in many ways the most boring album Neil’s made to date. Every non-fan out there who complains that his music all ‘sounds the same’ clearly haven’t been listening to, say, ‘Tonight’s The Night’ or ‘Trans’ but almost certainly have albums like this one in mind: a sappy, soppy acoustic record where not a lot happens, ten times over. It sounds just enough like ‘Harvest’ ‘Harvester Moon’ and ‘Comes A Time’ to repeat new ground without having much new to say. Neil could probably have gotten away with this at another time in his career and there are some truly lovely moments on this set. Unfortunately, by the time of release, the best songs were already one or even two decades old and we were expecting something new and exciting, not a return to yesteryear where even the new songs sound like old ones.

Even so, there’s a case to be made that ‘Silver and Gold’ is a useful palette cleaner. Released just four months into a new millennium, it feels in retrospect – with so many new ideas and concepts to come – as if Neil is building up his strength for a new turbulent decade of changing ideas and breaking new ground. Just as previous album ‘Broken Arrow’ felt in many ways like an identikit of old ideas in the electric style (named after a Buffalo Springfield song and sounding much like every other Crazy Horse album ever made, if not quite as good), so this one feels like an identikit of every past acoustic Neil Young album. There are lyrical references to an ‘old man’, childhood memories of father Scott Young and a whole song about being in the Buffalo Springfield. We’re so used to hearing Neil ploughing on forward, oblivious to what came in his past, that it’s good to have a reminder of old places already visited and though fans of 2000 feared that albums like this were here to stay, actually it’s the oddball in Neil’s canon of this period, more concerned with looking back than forward. The theme is surely unique for a Young record too, that of sweet nostalgia: this is a record full of ‘distant cameras’ taking pictures of the past, of meeting old friends, of seeing the (red) sun setting over a place you know really well and of celebrating longevity in marriage (even if, typically, ‘Silver and Gold’ is an outtake that days back to the earliest days of Neil courting Pegi in 1978 and when it was written was only ‘imagining’ them growing old together). However there’s something slightly ‘off’ about Neil’s nostalgia, which seems oddly chocolate boxy and ‘soft’ compared to how things really were. ‘Daddy Went Walkin’ for instance returns to childhood in tone and words as well as theme and is the closest Neil has come to writing a nursery rhyme, while ‘Good To See You Again’ isn’t some hoped for take on meeting up with an old friend and confronting the past so much as an eight line song about saying ‘hi’. The worst casualty, though, is what Neil does to his first band Buffalo Springfield: what was once such a turbulent and exciting band Neil quit them seven times in three years has now become a chocolate-box legend where Neil is really proud of what they achieved and would like to see them get together again (but not enough to actually, you know, reunite – failing to turn up to an informal reunion rehearsal that was taking place the year before…In Neil’s own house! He, uhh, forgot he was out on tour that week…Against all odds the reunion will happen but not until 2012).

There is, I sense, another couple of reasons why this album sounds so familiar – and why Neil waited so long before making it. Thought the world didn’t see it until 2009, the much-delayed Neil Young box set ‘Archives One’ was worked on most during this period before Neil tweaked it, put it on the back burner and waited for technology to catch up. Neil being Neil he didn’t enter the past as a passive souvenir-hunter interested in releasing a greatest hits set but as an active participant, eager to change our view of what the past looked like from his perspective and with as much unreleased material as released (at least until Neil started releasing standalone ‘concert’ sets in the 21st century). Neil heard pretty much everything he ever wrote or played on between 1963 and 1972 and it was a lot. No wonder, then, that this album suddenly makes Young sound ‘old’ for the first time, really, as he comes to terms with the fact that he does have a past and a legacy and no wonder after hearing so many ‘old’ songs that the past keeps cropping up in this music. What’s a shame is that Neil tries to ignore this rather than confront this head-on. How much better, for instance, would ‘Razor Love’ (itself an old song) have sounded if Neil had painted himself out as the ‘old man’ more with newcomers taking over the role he once played in 1972, as the eager young rockstar waiting to become a custodian of the ‘old ways’. Or how much better might ‘Buffalo Springfield Again’ have been if Neil had looked at his younger troubled self with older, mature eyes and tried to get inside his psyche? How does Neil feel when his ‘daddy’ goes out walkin’ knowing he might not be able to walk much longer? (his author dad Scott died in 2005). We don’t know as Neil won’t tell us – ‘Silver and Gold’ is one of his ‘descriptive’ albums rather than one of his ‘deep’ ones. Instead ‘Silver and Gold’ deals in metaphor, intellectual concept and imagery rather than heartfelt emotional release or self-questioning.

Or maybe Neil’s writing was just going through a bit of a crisis in this period. The one album that had broken the four year quiet spell was the second CSNY reunion ‘Lookin’ Forward’ and it seems to be a project that took Neil off guard. At first he was only a ‘guest’, Nash ringing him out the blue to ask if he’d be interested a distinctive guitar part to his new and rather drippy ballad ‘Heartland’. Neil, in his new mellow stock-taking mood, decided that he still had things to say with ‘his’ old band and hung around, impressed that they were financing this trio project themselves without a record label and inviting the others to take their pick of the songs he had begun stockpiling for this album. For once CSN’s taste let them down: poor as many of the songs on this album may be, most are still better than what they chose: Neil’s soppiest song ‘Lookin’ Forward’, the confusing and obscure ‘Slowpoke’, the out-of-tune ‘Out Of Control’ and the deeply irritating ‘Queen Of Them All’ (which sounds like a mobile phone slowly running out of charge while being swallowed by a whale). How much better that album might have been had CSNY finished their cover of ‘Silver and Gold’ with some beautiful harmonies (as heard on bootleg) and why didn’t they choose the sweetly nostalgic ‘Distant Camera’ which sounds perfect for a reunion album? With CSN on less than stellar form too that album got jumped on, with critics merciless in their comments. Neil doesn’t often talk ‘up’ his songs but did for that project and the reaction seems to have taken him by surprise. Surely ‘Silver and Gold’ – the project from which those songs were intended – was a doomed project now? Oddly, though, Neil didn’t do what he normally does when some tiny thing goes wrong and simply jump ship to the next one. Instead he persevered with this album, but the loss of four songs (However wretched) clearly set him back a lot and ‘Silver and Gold’ took much longer than most rash-dash Neil Young projects to come together.

Was it worth it? Well, ish. ‘Silver and Gold’ is a useful 20th century summary not just because of its themes but because of its quality. Every side of Neil’s writing style is here: good, bad, ugly, indifferent and weird. Though sonically this record often sounds gorgeous (Neil sounds best when his backing band actually get to know songs before they record them, as opposed to playing in one take songs that Neil wrote in his car on the way to the sessions) and feels as if it fits together as a recording, as a series of compositions this album is all over the place. Never has Neil been more irritating or trite than he has on ‘Good To See You’ ‘Daddy Went Walkin’ or the horrid ‘Buffalo Springfield Again’ (where the extent of our understanding of one of the most exciting bands of their generation is the couplet ‘I was in a band – but they broke up’). Rarely have I been as bored with a Neil Young album closer as I have with ‘Without Rings’, a song that more literally should have been titled ‘Without A Tune’. Rarely have I been as confused (and not in a good way) as I have with ‘Horseshoe Man’, which sounds like ideas for a dozen different Neil Young songs that got stapled together and given the first, most simplest melody that came into Neil’s brain. Not for nothing do a lot of fans call this album ‘a really good EP’ because it may well be Neil’s most inconsistent record (other albums are far better than this – and others are far far worse. Who mentioned ‘Greendale’?!)

That’s the ‘silver’ though – the ‘gold’ is a half-album that glitters just as beautifully if more subtly as any other album in the great man’s back catalogue. The title track itself is gorgeous, one of the very loveliest love songs Neil ever wrote and though it would have slotted in even better on Neil’s most hopeful LP ‘Comes A Time’, unlike some other revived oldies on Neil’s albums it works well here too. This is, after all, a song about love being timeless, so it makes sense that Neil re-records it here, on near enough his 22nd wedding anniversary, as a tribute to how love never changes (even if it seems even odder now that we know what was going on behind the scenes with Neil seeing actress Darryl Hannah this whole time). ‘The Great Divide’ is a lovely Dylanesque image-filled piece about a cowboy and a cowgirl riding towards each other, the gulf between them getting smaller each day and updating Neil’s traditional image of himself as a ‘loner’. The cute Celtic throwback ‘Red Sun’ is one of Neil’s rare successes with country-rock as he does the very Neil Young thing of glancing back over his shoulder and looking forward to the future simultaneously. We never learn if this song is about a sunset or a sunrise – chances are its right slap bang in the middle of both. ‘Distant Camera’ is a sweet, thrilling, vibrant song that manages to juggle several balls at the same time: a ‘song of love’, it also touches on Neil looking back on his whole life (listening to a first draft of ‘Archives’ maybe?) and accepting that change is inevitable and that ‘new things and old both disappear’. The metaphor that we take photographs so that we can remember certain times in our live – and to allow us to move on to make new memories, which can be photographed before moving on again – is so very Neil that it’s surprising that he hadn’t come up with it before. And then there’s 1980s outtake ‘Razor Love’, an outside shot for appearing on the 1987 album ‘Life’, which is one of the better Young songs that fell through the cracks, a direct tale of the intensity of a relationship that shaves away the years by sounding as if it belongs at home on this similarly direct and acoustic album.

That contradiction is at play on the album’s cover too. At first I hated this CD’s album cover, which is one of the daftest and most hideous of all the AAA records out there. The shot was taken by Neil’s then seventeen-year-old daughter Amber on her Gameboy handheld device and it’s wretched: that familiar gait of her dad is reduced to a handful of pixels that could be anyone, all tinged a hideous shade of brown. But as the years have gone by I ‘get’ this cover more: that Gameboy wasn’t meant to be a ‘modern’ device but a retro one that harked back to the 1980s when computers were ‘new’ and was a very jokey ‘throwback’ of nostalgia to a generation not quite old enough to be nostalgic yet. Here Neil is, now feeling like an old man, in a photo taken by his teenage daughter on technology that comes from the generation between them: it’s the perfect metaphor for the passing years. And then Neil has tinged it all sepia-brown to make it look like a ‘really’ old photo, even though it isn’t. It’s the perfect cover summary for this album and a very clever idea – even if it still looks pig ugly (Paul McCartney used a digital watch camera, equally low on pixels, to shoot the cover of his ‘Driving Rain’ album in 2001).

The one throwback to this album that works really well is the sound. So many old friends are brought out to play on this album and all sound fabulous. Ben Keith’s pedal steel is all over everything, after sitting out a couple of Crazy Horse albums and one featuring Pearl Jam and Ben’s sound and style, reflective yet biting, is such a part of this album that Neil even gives him the credit on this album of ‘inspiration’. Other musicians include familiar faces from the ‘Harvest’ days including pianist Spooner Oldham and drummer Oscar Butterworth, who both sound much better here than they ever did in the 1970s.The backing singers date back to two different eras too, though in truth they don’t get much to do on this album: Linda Ronstadt was last heard of on ‘Harvest Moon’ in 1992 and Emmylou Harris dates back even further as a collaborator, to ‘American Stars ‘n’ Bars’ in 1977. Neil had never worked with drummer Jim Keltner before – even though pretty much everyone else had. The bassist is an unusual choice: Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn is a new figure in Neil’s life and the pair’s friendship will rope Neil into recording the depressingly ordinary ‘blues’ album follow-up ‘Are You Passionate?’ in 2002 with ‘his’ house band ‘Booker T and the MGs’. This, though, isn’t some young upstart Pearl Jam-style band but Otis Redding’s backing group, survivors who are still rocking over thirty years after the Gentle Giant died in a plane crash who were making music even before Neil was. New and old, that’s the theme of this record and this oddball combination of musicians who for the most part had never worked together before really ‘get’ these songs, their youthful energy and hope, mingled with the tears and regret of old age and worries about the passing of time. This is an album of contradictions that in truth don’t often work: some songs are too simple and others too complex, whilst others hark back to the past as a ‘golden era’ even when it wasn’t and others assume that peace and happiness are due in the future not the present. But the players on this album really nail Neil’s vision: they’re simultaneously happy and sad, hopeful and bitter, at peace and at war.

Is that enough to satisfy the Young faithful? Maybe. ‘Silver and Gold’ is one of those pretty but also pretty boring Neil Young albums that’s too good to dismiss, but not interesting enough to talk about and analyse endlessly the way we do some other albums (I could – and have – spent far too long debating the merits of ‘Tonight’s The Night’ ‘Trans’ and ‘Prairie Wind’ because those albums feel as if they have more to offer somehow). This record is by far the weakest in Neil’s ‘acoustic’ series, oddly lacking in the misery of ‘Harvest’ or the sheer exuberance of ‘Harvest Moon’ and ‘Comes A Time’. Instead it’s oddly neutral, with no real emotions running through it anywhere in comparison to the days of old, just images and metaphor, with the occasional pang of nostalgia and blessing counting. However in many ways this album has a better claim to being another ‘Harvest’ referencing album than even ‘Harvest Moon’. This is very much an album about reaping what you sow, of the passing of the seasons and your changing perspectives as you grow older, only this time Neil is an even older ‘old man’, with a lot more past to look back on and trying to remember it all. The moments when Neil deals with the past that he carries around with him like a weight head-on (as on ‘Distant Camera’ or ‘Red Sun’) are delightful and very fitting for a ‘new millennium’ style album – it’s just a shame that despite going back to the past Neil has forgotten how to add ‘bite’ into his music, losing the energy and insecurity of youth for an album where even one of the most talked about splits in rock and roll is dismissed out of hand and one of the most interesting upbringings of any AAA member (with a sports journalist dad and a quiz show host mum, interrupted by polio) becomes a cutesy time where with the distabnce of time everything seemed perfect. A few more of those imperfections would have made this album better still – but then this is, after all, a record that promises ‘Silver and Gold’ and for now has forgotten how to scramble in the dirt of the ‘ditch’. Better than Silver and Gold? Not a chance. But better than nothing – and in terms of the rushed Neil Young albums to come, rather better than some. 

‘Good To See You’ announced Neil in this breezy opening song. Fans thought the same after the four year gap. For the first thirty seconds or so that feeling was heartfelt: Neil provides a breezy upbeat quirky country-rock melody and a walking pace stomp that instantly recalls the better parts of ‘After The Goldrush’ But ‘Silver and Gold’ is, alas, from after ‘after the goldrush’ and the lack of creativity compared to Neil’s golden years is striking. Just check out the first verse: ‘Good to see you, good to see you again, good to see your face again, good to see you’. Four lines in to this album and we’re already getting repeats. To be fair the rest of the song is better, with a second verse that opens up into Neil embracing his listeners as if he’s travelling with ‘us’ on part of our journey we can pick up or put down as we choose (referring to himself as ‘the suitcase in your hallway’ and ‘the footsteps on your floor’). But this song simply goes back to repeating that not terribly inventive chorus all over again and ends with a puzzling last verse that harks back to ‘Human Highway’ without being even that interesting. Neil ends the song with the promise that he’s going to ‘make up for lost time’, but that’s what’s ‘wrong’ with this song: despite the long time away (by Neil standards) he has nothing new to say and no real new way of saying it. This is the sound of a man on auto-pilot – admittedly a talented creative man whose delayed making clones of his older songs where possible, so even this song’s slight return to a ‘Harvest’ feel with many of that album’s backing musicians catches the ear. The harmonica puffing for the first time in a while is a nice touch too. But this is auto-pilot all the same: did we really wait four years for this? It’s good to see you too Neil, but we wanted to hear all about what you’d been up to when you were away, not a song that’s effectively a postcard saying ‘wish you were here’ and not a lot else.

‘Silver and Gold’ is a beautiful song though and an album highlight, a song that all too clearly dates from perhaps Neil’s only ‘happy’ period circa 1978 and ‘Comes A Time’ (even though, weirdly, the copyright date in the CD’s handwritten notes where Young scrawls like a doctor with a scratchy pen throughout is listed as 1982: was this song revived and copyrighted for use on the aborted ‘Island In The Sun’ album that became ‘Trans’?) What sounds on bootlegs of the time like a bouncy joyous number (not unlike that album’s title track) has by 2000 mutated into a mature, reflective song about longevity and safety. Neil has simplified the arrangement down, paring it down to its bones, so that the simplicity of this song is now a good thing, unlike the stupidity of the last track. This love, for wife Pegi, brings Neil greater things than the most precious of jewels. Everything else in his life is ‘seasonal’ (it was intended for an album named ‘Comes A Time’ after all) but this love just keeps going on and on, never growing old, even after several years of back-breaking work ‘every day’ and a sense that time ‘just slips away’ and takes away all the narrator’s other dreams. A second verse is a cautionary tale in the manner of the ‘doom trilogy’: Neil is offered a ‘treasure chest’ full of every golden bauble he could ever want to have. But trying to take it away with him was impossible, it got too ‘heavy’ and he had to ‘rest’ and in the end he realised that he would take love over gold anyday. Simple as this song may be, it is highly effective and one of only a small handful of Neil Young compositions you could imagine being sung by other artists. Unlike though, say, ‘Lotta Love’, this is a song that also suits Neil Young and this performance is lovely: prematurely aged with a delightfully husky weary take on his usual style, but with enough glee bouncing on Neil’s lips to suit the song’s beauty. Neil complained later that this song took a long time to get ‘right’ – actually the 1978 version and the 1999 CSNY re-recording with some truly gorgeous harmonies would both have been amongst the best things in their respective eras too. But this more ‘timeless’ recording is pretty special too and even though all we have is Neil and a guitar that’s all we really need, for songs like this never seem to get old – they’re better than silver and gold.

A sign of how late in the day this album was put together is demonstrated by the fact that you have to turn the CD booklet over to near the end to get third song ‘Daddy Went Walkin’. Another overtly simple track, this one sounds suspiciously like a re-write of ‘Old King’ from ‘Harvest Moon’ with its bouncy acoustic gamble and another appearance by a dog. However its notable that Neil’s tribute to his old hound-dog in 1992 is sung with much more care and devotion than this album’s tribute to his dad. By 2000 Scott Young has dementia and it must have struck Neil as particularly sad given that his dad was such a huge, overpowering figure in his life and yet still needed care (Neil, of course, was sickly his whole life through and often needed care through his childhood). Instead of exploring his fright at how things are ‘now’, though, Neil dwells on how it used to be in the past. This song is the first of a run of snapshots of Neil’s past that’s run through the 21st century all the way to much of ‘Psychedelic Pill’ and ‘A Letter From Home’ but unlike those albums this song is a visitor, not an inhabitant of past times. All we get is some weird words about Young senior taking a walk: we learn what he wears, what he walks past and what dog he takes with him, but nothing more. Neil offers up this memory without comment, no reason why he’s telling us this and as left here this song is deeply boring. There’s no hint of the real drama in the Young household (would Rassy, Neil’s famously feisty mother, really have greeted her husband with a kiss? A slap in the face seem more likely having read the biographies), no sense of any great discovery in this song and notably no appearance of Neil in this song at all. Is this a wish-fulfilment of how Neil wanted his childhood to be, perhaps? Interestingly, though the song refers to ‘daddy’ in the chorus and the title most of this song uses the phrase ‘old man’. The phrase ‘Old Man’ was one Neil came up with to describe his old ranch-hand Louis Avila on the song of the same name, his ‘substitute’ dad figure now that Scott was only a distance presence as Neil hit his twenties. In many ways ‘Old Man’ is who he wanted his dad to be, but many people (Scott included) assumed that it was a song genuinely written for Neil’s dad. Is this Neil trying to redress the balance and write his dad a ‘real’ song this time, as his time runs short? However the timing is off: Neil’s parents split when he was tiny. If his dad is really an ‘old man’ in this song he wouldn’t be kissing his mother, which suggests that rather than pay tribute to his ‘real’ dad with what ‘really’ happened Neil is again playing games with us, making us think that he’s writing about his ‘daddy’ as he was rather than who his son chooses him to be. With its nursery rhyme gait and endless repetition, however, ‘Daddy Went Walkin’ is a song that’s far more interesting to think about than it is to actually listen to.

I could say the same for ‘Buffalo Springfield Again’, a track named for that band’s middle album, during which Neil left the band three whole times! You wouldn’t guess that from this song though which is the most disappointing moment on the whole album and turns what could have been an excuse to tell the story from Neil’s point of view into an oddly un-Young like account that’s as sanitised as they come. ‘I was in a band’ sings Neil, ‘but they broke up’. There’s no mention of the screaming rows with Stills, Neil’s paranoia of fame and its trappings or his desire to write more songs than Stephen and sing more than Richie rather than Young’s original role as ‘leads guitar player’. On this song all that youthful angst seems a long time ago as Neil sighs that he’d ‘love to play with those guys again’. We’d love you to as well as Neil. So why won’t you? Why did every single attempt to revive the Buffalo Springfield name halter across the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s? We don’t know from this song as Neil’s not telling. I could forgive this song if it tried to remember what the early groovier days were like when the world was at this band’s feet. But we don’t get that either: if Neil is remembering any Springfield tune with this sappy country-rock song then its what Richie Furay and Jim Messina were doing together in the band’s name for ‘Last Time Around’ long after Neil had left (though this song is nowhere close to being as good as ‘Kind Woman’ and only really on a par with fans’ least favourite Springfield song ‘Carefree Country Day’). The only decent parts of the song are Neil’s cutting line that ‘we were young and wild – it ate us up’ which is as good a description of what happened to the band as any and the clever ear-catching acoustic flourish that ends each chorus. However everything else is so un-Springfield as to be making a point: the trio of albums Neil’s first band anybody outside Winnipeg would have heard of are overflowing with creativity and full of multiple part-suites and excess overdubs, gloriously exciting and frequently brave. This song is soft and soppy and Neil’s comment that this track is inspired by ‘hearing an old song playing on the radio’ suggests he wasn’t listening very carefully and by the year 2000 has forgotten everything that once made him tick and the hunger to want to send his songs out to the wider world. What a tragic shame. Neil’s similar CSNY tribute, ‘Walk Like A Giant’, is much more accurate than this sorry mess.

So far the only thing this album’s tracks have in common is the acoustic sound and simplicity, but the CD suddenly changes format with next song ‘The Great Divide’, which ushers in a number of deeper songs. Though the melody is a direct steal from ‘Dreamin’ Man’ from ‘Harvest Moon’ the lyrics to this song are amongst Neil’s deepest  and most thoughtful in a long while. This spooky song has a man and a woman (husband and wife?) wondering their own lonely treks apart. They’re separated by a canyon, a valley, a desert – they don’t ‘belong’ together and everyone around the couple tells them (one of them or both, we don’t know?) ‘you don’t fit in too well’. But that sense of being outsiders is what brings the couple together – at first. A second verse sees the couple uniting, riding alongside each other like horses on a carousel, each one helping the other ‘up’ when they are ‘down’. Neil, sounding as happy as he ever does, tells us that ‘life is going well and anyone can tell we’re in love’. Even though his voice doesn’t change, though, the third and final verse is a sad one: these two riders are going their own ways again, riding apart from one another and the ‘great divide’ that once united them split them up anyway, ‘you and I’ finding themselves ‘lost down there’. Along with some of the more turbulent songs on ‘Broken Arrow’ this is our first hint that the Youngs’ marriage was falling apart, although there’s no hint at a shadowy Darryl Hannah character beckoning on the horizon just yet. Instead this sweet-sounding song sounds designed to hide the inner sting and bite, Neil writing from the heart but praying that his wife and fans won’t notice this just yet. The sting is easy to miss though on what’s one of Neil’s prettier songs that works well as a kind of sequel to David Crosby’s ‘Cowboy Movie’ but this time with the ‘cowgirl in the sand’ a metaphor for a marriage not a band (this could be ‘Young Billy, though, Neil’s character from Croz’ song). An excellent song, one of the album’s best and so very Neil, guarded and revealing all at once.

I’m never quite sure what I think of ‘Horseshoe Man’, a song that melodically recalls the open-heartedness of ‘Philadelphia’ but lyrically sounds more like one of those stream-of-consciousness rambles like ‘Last Trip To Tulsa’. A couple’s marriage is in trouble so they turn to the ‘horseshoe man’ for help, hoping he’ll bring his brand of ‘luck’ to them. The hint is that the ‘Horseshoe Man’ is less cupid and more God, a figure who is ‘everywhere’ and can change fate with a wave of his hand. But the mysterious figure leaves heartache in the world because it’s the best teacher of what love ‘really’ is – that if it was too easy to gain people would take it for granted. Oddly the lyrics describe him by saying ‘he doesn’t care’, but he’s a God that dishes out love – surely, nothing says that someone cares more than passing on the secret of love to humans? Like ‘Natural Beauty’ Neil seems to deliberately play with the contradictions in this song, but rather than ‘persevering a monument to nature’ that was only ever designed to be fleeting, this song asks where the line is drawn between love being natural and artificial. When does love stop being real, even if both couples are looking at an outside force to intervene. This song sounds like a more realistic re-write of ‘Love Potion Number Nine’, arguing that if it has to come out of a bottle or some outside source, then it isn’t really love, just an illusion (Neil will return to this theme on ‘Plastic Flowers’, unsure for years as to his true feelings and keeping them buried when things go wrong in his marriage). This song, oddly irritating with its schmaltzy backing and a vocal that’s high even for Neil sounds as if it’s just going to irritate, but then it all comes good in the middle eight, held back until right near the end. ‘Love don’t care if you’re wrong or right, love don’t care if you’re black or white, love ain’t looking for perfection, love’s the answer – love’s the question’. This is one of Neil’s best couplets, finally answering a nagging question about what love is that’s been bothering him for a long time: love is everything, love is everywhere and love is an emotion that doesn’t have human restrictions of age, creed or nationality. Love has no boundaries – you don’t think it, you feel it. The revelation sounds like a really transformative moment and is a key one in Neil’s canon, perhaps paving the way for him to embrace his growing relationship with Darryl Hannah a full fifteen years after these words were written. However it’s very Neil that this really moving part of the song comes after an artificial story about a ‘horseshoe man’ who creates love artificially, Neil effectively arguing with himself on this song about what love ‘really’ means. An odd song that somehow comes right at the end, just as you’ve given up hope.

‘Red Sun’ is another song that feels like a step backwards, reuniting Neil with both Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris on a track that sounds like the woozy boozy first side of ‘American Stars ‘n’ Bars’ (sadly his key collaborator on that album, Nicolette Larsson, had died in 1997 at the tragically young age of forty-five – this song sounds like a ‘tribute’ in many ways). Though the song is perhaps a bit too country, with the country pedal steel, Gaelic marching band and organ part perhaps one too many, it is one of Neil’s best stabs at the idiom, turning the usual convention on its head. Almost all country songs are ‘breakup’ songs, sad bitter melancholy tracks about lost opportunities, broken hearts and dead dogs that often use imagery of sunsets – Neil even wrote a few of those himself on his all-country album ‘Old Ways’ in 1983 (Notably ‘California Sunset’). But Neil being Neil change is as much a force for good as it is for evil and despite the very country trappings he’s straining at the leash to embrace the new. He promises to always be ‘by your side’ even though his feelings have changed (is this another message to Pegi?) and that whatever changes life has in store for him (‘the one who is coming arrived here at last’) he’ll always have something to write about. Needing comfort, Neil again reaches to the past, dreaming of his mum and dad ‘being there’ and remembering ‘the wind blowin’ through your hair’ of his lover, which sounds like the first stirrings of ‘Like A Hurricane’ when he first met Pegi. Neil, though, isn’t bound to the feelings he once had for someone but to those feelings and ends the song merrily wandering down the road, wondering where fate will take him next and where he can discover those feelings he once had all over again. That’s understandably a blow for his wife, but its good for Neil’s songwriting and though the song opens with a ‘sunset’ it’s also a sunrise, the good things outweighing the bad as Neil embraces the carnage in his life and waits for change. Typically, though, Neil writes his love-song to change in the most traditional, conservative and unchanging format he ever used. Oddly this song’s bounce really suits this song’s ragged melancholy though, sounding like a song that’s playing in slow motion, both happy and trapped all at the same time.

‘Distant Camera’ is one of the album’s best songs too, a gorgeous paean top growing older and looking backwards that recalls both The Kinks’ many songs about photography and David Crosby’s CSN song ‘Camera’. Instead of one snapshot in time, though, this song embraces everything, Neil’s narrator looking backwards at all aspects of his life, a heap of images randomly flicking past his eyes like a hurricane rustling through a photo-album. Neil’s trying to make sense of it all and what his past has taught him and the closest he can come to an answer is that ‘life is changing’ and you ought to embrace every twist that life throws at you. A poetic second verse has him slumped on the floor of his ranch, surrounded by photographs, the light ‘dancing’ from a passing window as he stares at his collection of photographs surrounding him. Neil is confused by what he sees and what he feels in these images of long ago. He may be talking about his marriage again as he sings about ‘sweet surrender’ and a ‘dream’ that ‘should have ended there’. And yet he also vows to be there long-term, claiming that both sides are onto something so special that ‘they can’t let it go’ and that despite the confusion he feels all he wants is ‘a song of love to sing to you’. A very Neil metaphor then rounds off the song, Neil seeing life as nothing special, a ‘fleck of dust floating in the mirror’, as his real motives and feelings don’t actually matter that much in the grand context of space and time. A very clever, complex song about the passing of time and the difference felt between young and middle age, this is Young embracing becoming Old in the best way possible, with a lovely haunting tune that covers more notes than most songs. The song keeps leaping high or growling low but always keeps coming back to where it’s ‘safe’ and cosy, right in the middle, Neil ending his wandering for a quite beautiful chorus where time stands still for his reflection over a ‘song of love’, the one thing in this hazy, crazy song that seems to make sense. Beautiful.

‘Razor Love’ is a reminder of one of those ‘songs of love’, written somewhere around Neil’s tenth wedding anniversary back in 1987. Too thoughtful for ‘Life’ and too ‘normal’ for ‘This Note’s For You’, this song is perhaps Neil’s last true 100% love song for Pegi and as such makes sense on this album about overlapping relationships. Goodness knows why Neil never returned to this lovely song before as it’s a sweet one about commitment and honesty. Whatever else goes wrong in his love-life, whatever arguments and disagreements he has, the overpowering feeling of love ‘cuts clean through’ his feelings. The song starts with another reference to an ‘old man’ which refers to Neil this time (odd as he was all of forty-two when he wrote it) and his ‘faith’ for his love which sees him not only live with the love of his life but even put up with his mother-in-law! (I’ve assumed given the era that this song is for Pegi but this line recalls first wife Susan whose mother all but lived in Neil’s first house with them!) For the most part this song is full of the rosy glow of romance, with a delightful shuffle beat that sounds like the rain playing against the windows as the lovers wrap each other up in their cozy love. However there’s an urgent second section that lurches unexpectedly to a minor key and injects some doubt into the song. Neil is troubled by something he doesn’t quite understand, spying a ‘silhouette’ from his window (Darryl Hannah?) and ‘tryin’ to find something I can’t find yet’. He’s torn between losing what feels so good in the present for something alluring he hasn’t found in the future that might be better still, but for now warns himself to watch out ‘for the greedy hand, greedy hand’. It’s only a fleeting moment of doubt, quickly set right when the song reverts back to a major key where it feels safe and comfortable and Neil is back to embracing an ‘honest’ love that feels so warm. But somehow that one fleeting moment unbalances the track: is this really as honest a love as it seems at first? Is it actually dishonest as Neil stays with someone he feels comfortable with but doesn’t love in the same way as the silhouette that haunts him? Another clever, complex and often beautiful track that marks a real upswing in this album’s second half.

Alas hopes for an equally worthy closer are dispelled by ‘Without Rings’, one of Neil’s husky low-key album closers. Though nowhere near as bad as the ‘what the?’ moment of the grotty bootleg rendition of ‘Baby What You Want Me To Do?’ on ‘Broken Arrow’, this track seems equally designed to put listeners off actually listening to the record again. A re-write of another track from that album. ‘Music Arcade’, by now Neil has lost his shock factor and this song says even less. Neil feels an outsider, ‘like a visitor from space looking for a place’ and equally feels out of touch with his ‘job’, joking with his contemporary peers that ‘my software’s not compatible with you!’ Neil is putting down any idea we might have that he holds any answers: he doesn’t and is as confused and helpless as the rest of us, ‘an angel without wings’ whose brain is ‘at war’ over what he’s feeling. Neil almost growls this song, sounding deeper than ever and it sounds very much like a ‘morning after’ kind of a piece, the guilty hangover that follows having too much fun. Only Neil isn’t ready to tell us what makes him feeling this way yet and instead simply sings about the confusion he feels, letting something go and picking something up without telling us what they are. Like ‘Distant Camera’ we get sudden flashes of images from his past, but we fans have even less keys to unlock these images – what do these poppy fields, electrical energy and ‘fighting drugs with pain’ amount to? A strange, spooky, obscure song it’s hard to work out what this track means or indeed if it means anything at all and it makes for a very low-key end to the album.

Overall, then, ‘Silver and Gold’ is a mixture of the inspired, the tired and undesired. You never quite know what you’re getting next with this album, which varies between good times, bad times and confusion as to which of those is which. At the time we hoped that ‘Silver and Gold’ was a stepping stone to greater things, that maybe Neil would get a bit quicker and more consistent as the 21st century beckoned and this album brought him further down from his mid-1990s return to form. But be careful what you with for: the similar ‘Prairie Wind’ aside, would that any of his modern albums contained any of the thought or beauty of the best of this quirky little album. Half a great record, half a travesty, ‘Silver and Gold’ is an odd experiment in alchemy, one where half the jewels glitter with true beauty that only Neil can provide and one where the other half takes what Neil can usually do so well and turn it back into ugly base metals. If, as this album says, life is a photograph fading in the mirror then in truth ‘Silver and Gold’ isn’t one of the more memorable images in Neil’s career. However no Young album, even ‘Greendale’, is completely disposable and there is much to like on ‘Silver and Gold’ – but only, perhaps, if you’re prepared to ‘dig’ for it.
Other Neil Young related articles from this website you might be interested in reading:

'Neil Young' (1968) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/neil-young-1968-album-review.html

'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere' (1969) http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/neil-young-and-crazy-horse-everybody.html

‘After The Goldrush’ (1970) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/neil-young-after-goldrush-1970.html?utm_source=BP_recent


'Harvest' (1972) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/neil-young-harvest-1972.html

'Time Fades Away' (1973)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/neil-young-time-fades-away-1973.html

'On The Beach' (1974) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/neil-young-on-beach-1974.html

'Zuma' (1975) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/neil-young-and-crazy-horse-zuma-1975.html

'American Stars 'n' Bars' (1977)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/news-views-and-music-issue-70-neil.html

'Comes A Time' (1978)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/04/news-views-and-music-issue-29-neil.html

'Rust Never Sleeps' (1979) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/neil-young-rust-never-sleeps-1979-album.html

'Hawks and Doves' (1980)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/news-views-and-music-issue-26-neil.html

'RelAclTor' (1981) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/neil-young-and-crazy-horse-re-ac-tor.html

'Trans' (1982)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-84-neil-young-trans-1982.html

'Everybody's Rockin' (1983) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2017/01/neil-young-everybodys-rockin-1983.html

'Old Ways' (1985) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2016/10/neil-young-old-ways-1985.html

‘Landing On Water’ (1986) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/neil-young-landing-on-water-1986.html


'Ragged Glory' (1990) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/neil-young-and-crazy-horse-ragged-glory.html

'Weld' (1991)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-95-neil-young-weld-1991.html

'Harvest Moon' (1992) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/neil-young-harvest-moon-1992.html

'Sleeps With Angels' (1993)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/news-views-and-music-issue-121-neil.html

'Mirror Ball' (1995)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/news-views-and-music-issue-103-neil.html


‘Are You Passionate?’ (2002) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/neil-young-and-mgs-are-you-passionate.html

'Greendale' (2003) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2016/05/neil-young-and-crazy-horse-greendale.html

‘Prairie Wind’(2005)  
http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/neil-young-prairie-wind-2005.html

‘Chrome Dreams II’ (2007) https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/neil-young-chrome-dreams-two-2007.html

'Fork In The Road' (2009) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/neil-young-fork-in-road-2009.html

'Le Noise' (2011)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/news-views-and-music-issue-94-neil.html

'A Treasure' (1986/2012)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/news-views-and-music-issue-147-neil.html


'Storytone' (2014) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/neil-young-storytone-2014.html

'The Monsanto Years' (2015) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/neil-young-and-promise-of-real-monsanto.html

'Peace Trail' (2016) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2017/02/neil-young-peace-trail-2016.html

The Best Unreleased Neil Young recordings http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/neil-young-best-unreleased-recordings.html

The Who: Surviving TV and Film Clips 1965-2015









The Who are one of the most visual of the AAA bands. Whether it's Roger twirling his microphone, Keith pounding the drums, Pete wind-milling away and jumping onto his knees or John in a skeleton outfit, The Who had a knack for getting every last ounce of drama out of their performances. Most of the time someone was thankfully there to catch it on film, with The Who making more TV appearances than most, despite their reputation as a rebellious and unpredictable outfit, more likely to fill a drum-kit with explosives (as they do on perhaps their most infamous clip for The Smothers Brothers in 1967) than to mime to their latest hit. An impressive amount of the appearances on this list are concerts - many of them first broadcast on television so they've made it past our usual AAA TV article rules of excluding material first released on video or TV (in fact for once we've included everything professionally shot even if it was only intended for The Who's archives and released years later), with comparatively few music videos or chat show appearances compared to most of our articles (with the honourable exception of Russell Harty trying to interview a drummer whose far more interested in taking his clothes off than answer questions!) The Who also seem to have survived the purge of so much of the 1960s TV archives relatively unscathed, although it is sad to note that out of the double-figures' worth of Who appearances on 'Ready Steady Go' across 1965 and 1966 all but one of them have been wiped (including a Who special to celebrate the release of their 'Ready Steady Who' EP worse luck!) and there are probably more than a few Top Of The Pops performances lost to the ravages of time as well. Other than that though The Who have escaped better than, say, The Kinks, Small Faces and Rolling Stones.

Even so, this is still quite an impressively long list and unlike some bands we've written about in the past, the clips are pretty evenly spread between all eras. What's more, fans can actually own a majority of these clips for themselves on an impressive array of Who videos and DVDs (especially the compilation films 'The Kids Are Alright' from 1979 and 'Thirty Years Of Maximum R and B' from 1994)even if some concerts are so far only out incomplete. As usual we'll be telling you when and where you can find those. Otherwise why not check out our handy patent-pending Alan's Album Archive Who Youtube video playlist in which we've gathered together all the clips we can find in as close to the right order as we can manage. You can see this either by looking at the top of this article if you're reading this on our website or by searching for 'Alan's Album Archives Playlist #29: The Who' in Youtube or going direct to the link at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7197487D89C93501 Anything missing from our list either doesn't exist anymore (we can't review it if we can't see it now can we?), features one of the band solo (we've restricted this lost to full band performances or this article would take up another twenty odd pages!) or is so obscure that even we haven't seen it yet (feel free to write in and tell us if you've spotted something we've missed, preferably with a link to where all our readers can see it!) Keith Moon set the Who diaries on fire and probably threw them in a swimming pool so please bear in mind too that the actual datings and chronology here is hopeful at best - do write in if you notice an obvious mistake, although dates for The Who are a lot easier to track down than some of our bands it has to be said, thanks to some particularly excellent DVD sleevenotes. Oh and as there are multiple full concerts here, often with the same track listing, we haven't bothered to list them all here every time (have pity!) so where you do see songs listed for a gig it means that the show itself is incomplete and this is what we know for a fact does exist (though maybe there's more out there? Who knows - indeed only The Who probably know).

Right, there's a lot of clips to get through so that's enough writing for now - these guitars won't smash themselves, even if they only have seconds to live! So if you're sick of dud TV stick on these Who clips featuring Roger Daltrey (oh what a thrill for you!) 
1.    Les Mods ('Shout and Shimmy' 'Roadrunner' 'I Just Want To Make Love To You' French TV March 1965)
Fittingly for a band who loved looking back to their past, The Who's earliest surviving footage (as far as we know at least) seems like a documentary about the end of an era, even in truth it was just beginning. A pompous and rather prejudiced French narrator intones that this programme is a 'search for British youth' and intones that 'This is how Frenchmen think of English children: round cheeked schoolboys in soccer uniform...such well behaved children do exist amongst the upper classes, but not here. Hammersmith is a small town rather like the poorer districts of Paris, only foggier, whose chances of making 'it' are even slimmer...Mod stands for 'Modern' and represents a sort of neo-dandyism found all across the country but most popularly in the bigger cities...rejecting the prisons of pubs, telly and cars' (did they not know about Ready Steady Go?!) Anyway when The Who finally appear they rip through all this intellectualising and pontificating with a terrific set that sadly is only seen in brief. The Who still seem quite quiet and almost shy compared to what's to come later (Pete won't look away from his guitar and Keith's busy counting time, while John is barely glimpsed at all for some reason) and the programme seems more interested in their music as a business venture, with coy interviews with managers Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert. 'Shout and Shimmy' sounds much like the studio 'My Generation' outtake, though Bo Diddley's 'Roadrunner' sounds entirely different to the version later heard in concert (usually a slow blues paired with 'My Generation') and Muddy Waters'  'I Just Want To Make Love To You' is a bit of a mess, all noise and bluster compared to the sultry period Stones cover. The part that sounds most like the future Who is the untitled jam near the end of the programme which sounds as if it's evolved out of the end of 'Shout and Shimmy' and is heading into 'The Ox'. A terrific glimpse of the band in their natural early habitat, even if their performance is more great historically than musically. The highlights though are all chat: a nervy Townshend says that 'people used to fall back on the church because they were weak mentally, because if you can't face life head-on then God is essential' before saying that things are different now. This makes interesting listening in the wake of his interest in Meher Baba years later! Asked about where he thinks mod will go a cool, French-speaking Kit Lambert replies that 'because this is a youth movement it's far too early to say!' This clip is one of the few in this list officially unavailable, though the Youtube clip is amazingly good quality considering it's vintage and even comes with helpful English subtitles.

2.    Ready Steady Go ('Shout and Shimmy' 'Anyway Anyhow Anywhere' 'My Generation' UK TV July 1965)
Of the many appearances The Who made on Ready Steady Go (eleven or twelve or maybe more, depending which source you consult), there really does seem to be the only one that's survived. The Who are far more comfortable here, with a much tighter 'Shout and Shimmy' with some classic 'interrupting' backing vocals from Pete up high and John  way down deep, Roger really going for it and Keith in a 'target logo' T-shirt really growing into his own style. This version of the song is a lot better than the studio outtake of it! 'Anyway' is gloriously messy and unhinged and sounding more like an old blues song than a recently-released single. With John's bass mixed down low, this song is basically a duet for vocal and drums until one of the most daring and electrifying Townshend guitar solos in the band's canon, a brilliantly unhinged collection of aggression and slashed chords that yet still sounds menacing and in control, emphasised by the show's director zooming in and out (this clip is on the 'Kids Are Alright' film but is regrettably cut short - see the full length version if you can!)  'My Generation' may possibly be from later (the single wasn't out till October) but we know the band were performing it on TV from August and this version sounds even earlier so it's not unfeasible that this is the same show (and the band changed their clothes between songs a lot in this period, being mods!) It's certainly a very different arrangement of the song (which sadly puts to bed the myth Pete wrote it on the way to the recording studio in the back of a taxi!) and more like the original demo (sadly still not released yet): The backing vocals consist of 'Talking...' without the 'bout my generation' bit until far later in the song, while the song is closer to a slow blues groove, with a distinctly lackadaisical bass solo from John and little of the finished version's anger and brute force. There's even a misguided key change towards the end of the song, which ends not with a bang but a whimper, but this still sounds like a killer song even this early on in its history.

3.    I Can't Explain (Music Video August 1965)
Oddly The Who didn't film a music video for their first video until after they'd released the second. My guess is they were shooting this for the American market as it's very much a 'gee, what are those little ol' Englanders up to now?' kind of a video. The band mime self-consciously, Roger trying to look cool in James Dean sunglasses and Pete sending up the whole stupidity of the shoot with a very OTT performance on the solo! However this promo is a crucial development in one sense - the band don't just play to the crowd, they play with the crowd and their 'half' of a London pub is invaded by dancing 'fans/extras' in much the same way the band will copy on the 'Join Together' video. Listening to you, indeed...The promo was included on the compilation video 'Who's Better Who's Best' in 1988.

4.    Shindig ('I Can't Explain' 'My Generation' 'Daddy Rollin' Stone' US TV August 1965)
Meanwhile, over in America, The Who are part of an all-star English Invasion bill whose co-stars The Kinks' appearance has already been covered (helpfully the 'Kids Are Alright' use of this clip even includes the full introduction so you can understand the context of what The Who played in). The Who's performance is arguably the better, even if the band are a little nervy and more than a little raw. Daltrey is growing into his hooligan look and stares menacingly into the camera (the spots really help!), while Keith is again in his favourite logo T-shirt and Pete wears his 'union jacket' for the first time, though he and John seem a little over-awed to be honest. 'I can't Explain' has never sounded messier and 'My generation' is still in an uncomfortable halfway house between the bluesy demo and the snarling note-perfect record, but the rare performance of 'Daddy Rollin' Stone' is the saving grace. The Who recorded this one for their debut LP (released four months after this performance) but never used it and the song makes much more sense live, with Pete's choppy surfing style guitar stabs forming a double-act with Keith's noisy drumming. John gets a much bigger role than on the record, singing all the backing vocals himself as Pete sticks to guitar.

5.    5th Annual Jazz and Blues Festival ('Anyway Anyhow Anywhere' 'Shout and Shimmy' August 1965)
Both of these clips are officially available - 'Anyway' as the opening chapter of '30 Years Of Maximum R and B' and 'Shimmy' on 'The Kids Are Alright'. Perhaps because the band are performing before an unfriendly audience of blues and jazz freaks rather than mods (though there is a lot of screaming!), they seem a little under-par on both performances. Only on the drum solo on 'Shimmy' do the band really get moving and a grooving, with Pete doing some natty dance-steps too. 'Anyhow', meanwhile, looks like a great performance but Roger spends so much time wiggling his posterior to all the girls that their screams all but drown out the music! This performance was shot for Shindig as well just three days after the band's 'official' performance and broadcast as a 'follow-up' on the show a week later. Oddly, this was to be the band's last link to the show where so many AAA bands played over and over.

6.    Substitute (Music Video 1966)
The band's second music video is another straightforward mimed affair shot in London's Covent Garden. The band seem nervous and shy, as if they've just been yelled at by the director for messing about, with Keith the calmest you ever see him and Roger all but shell-shocked! Maybe the director told them not to send things up the way they had on 'Explain'?! Included complete on the 'Who's Better Who's Best' compilation and about thirty seconds' worth are featured on 'The Kids Are Alright'.

7.    The Kids Are Alright (Music Video 1966)
Tiring of uncomfortable drafty studios, The Who go outside for 'The Kids re Alright' video, one made under duress after Shel Talmy released the song as a single to go head to head with 'Substitute' without the band's knowledge - figuring it might be a hit they grudgingly agreed to promote it. The band are in London's Hyde Park for another mimed special on what looks like a particularly cold, grotty and windy day. The footage starts with a close-up of Keith in his 'union jacket' about to whallop the first beat, emphasising the band's pop-art credentials in this period. Roger, meanwhile, is wearing an early form of flares! Goodness knows what the passing rowers made of all this...Another 'Who's Better Who's Best' selection.

8.    A Whole Scene Goin' On ('Out In The Street' 'Heatwave' 'A Legal Matter' UK TV January 1966)
Figuring that pop music was a real happening thing, man, The BBC commissioned this short-lived show to run alongside 'Top Of The Pops' and 'Ready Steady Go'. However this sole surviving episode (actually the pilot) begs the question: was this really what the youth really wanted? Fashion tips, dating advice from Lulu of all people (she's only sixteen at this point remember and still hasn't dated anyone seriously - not even a Bee Gee!) and Pete Townshend at his cynical best? Well, luckily, even though the programme bombed it's a fascinating time capsule and of great interest to Who fans in particular. The Who are busy plugging their debut album, released a few weeks before, and these are the only 'performances' the band ever gave on film of these three comparatively rare tracks (two from the album and mimed, while a live drum-heavy 'Heatwave' sounds much like it will on 'A Quick One' at the end of the year). The best part though is Pete's interview - this bit, though none of the performances, is featured quite heavily in 'The Kids Are Alright' (mostly the bit about audiences asking pete to smash his guitar, though he's already at the point in his life where he feels he's moved on and is talking about all this as if it was in the dim and distant past and a 'career'). The Who, meanwhile, are 'a very simple form of pop art' and the movement itself 'is not confined to normal channels of appreciation as other art is'. Pete also talks about the 'freedom' of his musical tastes, which probably came as a shock to parents at home who didn't know about his brass-band running dad. The best lines though are saved to last and still follow The Who around to this day even if they are clearly a little tongue-in-cheek even if Pete was probably airing some genuine grievances too. Interestingly they split the band into 'four faces' rather than emphasising their solidarity, with the character assasinations here more or less fitting the four descriptions of the different Jimmys in 'Quadrophenia': 'We get on as a group very badly. The singer is a Shepherd's Bush geezer who wants everything to be a big laugh and when it isn't he thinks something's gone terribly wrong. The drummer is sort of a completely different person to anyone else I've ever met. The bass player, he just doesn't seem to be very interested in anything which makes it very difficult. We gave him a Union Jack jacket to wear once and, you know, he just didn't do anything whereas when they told me to put it on I felt quite embarrassed!' The bit that perhaps should haunt him though and everyone reading this book: 'You have to accept that a certain part of your audience is thick and don't appreciate quality however much you give it to them'. The 'A Quick One' LP, after all, is only a few months away...

9.    Unknown ('Bald Headed Woman' Swedish TV 1966)
Pete talks about this song as the 'next' one, so presumably there were more tracks broadcast on an unknown Swedish show but if there are they've either been lost in time or haven't made it out of a private collection yet (as far as I know anyway). The choice of song we get is bizarre (the unloved Shel Talmy-royalty giving B-side of the band's first single, now a year old) even if as Pete says 'it was a big hit here in Sweden - though not for us!' (he probably means The Hep-Stars, a local band who scored big with this in 1963 and were, in the days before Abba, the most famous international Swedish rock band). The Who mime uncomfortably on a bizarre set which consists of the biggest set of stairs seen outside the Morecambe and Wise Show,  shot from weird 'above' and 'below' angles. Roger sits at the bottom, with Pete legs astride wind-milling halfway up and John nearly hiding behind Keith.

10. Vient De Pariente ('I Can't Explain' French TV 1966)
Or 'It comes From The Pariente Theatre' as the title translates into English. The Who are well into their European TV jaunt by now which all AAA bands seemed to suffer a year into their career and from the footage seem to be hating every moment of it (except for Keith, who reckons if he's going to be forced to mime, he may as well do it with some weird-looking drums! This one's a big box with a tartan motif on it).

11. Sur Scene A Juvesy ('Substitute' 'Man With Money' 'Dancing In The Streets' French TV 1966)
No prizes for guessing this is 'The Scene At Juvesy'. This one is more interesting simply because it's a live performance, though it's not one of the band's best and their harmonies have never been flatter. A flat-footed 'Substitute' is raised considerably by a brillliantly messy guitar solo which seems to go down with the traditionally-reserved French crowd (they clearly didn't take the stereotype of 'Les Mods' to heart too much!) The only known performance of Everly Brothers cover 'Man With Money' (aside from the studio left unreleased till 1999) is messy too, but has some great fierce Moon drumming. 'Dancing In The Streets' is the best, played not with the soft sweet harmonies of the studio version but with an anger and nihilism closer to 'My Generation', with John adding some lovely harmonies alongside Roger's lead. An unusual concert this one, still officially unavailable.

12. Happy Jack (Unused Music Video December 1966)
Not seen anywhere officially until Top Of The Pops starting broadcasting it in the 2000s, this bonkers video was shot in New Action Limited (the official name for The Who's London office) on a budget of a few shillings and was perhaps a little too 'weird' for public consumption in 1966 (it's very 1967 actually!) Though the song is about a bullying victim in the Isle of Mann who refuses to let it get him down, the video is a comedy crime drama featuring Roger as a spiv look-out tossing a coin over and over, Pete and Keith trying to blow open a safe and a tattooed Entwistle deciding to give up on crime and eat cake instead! Inevitably everybody gets covered in the stuff by the end (with Keith especially playing up to the camera) before a spoil-sport policeman rushes in to end the mayhem. Something tells me The Who had been watching a lot of Laurel and Hardy films while on the road in 1966. was the Isle of Mann too far for location filming?! Included on 'Who's Better Who's Best' too.

13. Beat Club #1 ('I'm A Boy' 'Heatwave' 'Happy Jack' German TV January 1967)
The Who seem much happier over in Germany on our old friend Beat Club and I';m not surprised - if I was forced to live on a 1960s music programme forevermore a) I'd go mad and b) I'd end up strangling Cliff Richard but c) it would be Beatclub. They just seem to care more about the music and let the performers have more 'fun'. Hence the opening to a mimed 'I'm A Boy' in which Roger has his back to the cameras until his big 'reveal' in the second verse (which he gets a fraction late!)  That track and 'Heatwave' sound much like the record, but 'Happy Jack' sounds as if the band are playing and singing along to me. Note German presenter Uschi Nurke giving the eye to someone on stage after her introduction, probably Roger!

14. Beat Club #2: Marquee Club Special ('Happy Jack' 'So Sad About Us' 'My Generation German TV March 1967)
You see, Germany even sent cameras over to where The Who started it all - the UK camera teams couldn't even be bothered to go a few miles down the motorway to do the same! With 'Ready Steady Go' now gone Beat Club' is clearly after The Who's services and they do them proud here with a thrilling performance by, as presenter Dave Lee Travis puts it, 'the most controversial group in England!' A rather leaden 'Happy Jack' has seen better days, but 'So Sad About Us' has never been better, with Entwistle dominating with both bass and vocals and Moon all but destroying his drum-kit as the most happy-ho-lucky song about misery ever sounds like it gets a shot of amphetamines. A gloriously ragged 'My Generation' is basically one long burst of bass feedback with a few vocals in there somewhere as the engineer again makes John the loudest thing in the band, while Pete ever so nearly thinks about smashing his guitar - and then, perhaps with the band's accountant's words ringing in his ears, decides not to right at the very end. Exhilarating. 'So Sad' later turned up on the '30 Years Of Maximum R and B' DVD.

15. Beat Club #3 ('Pictures Of Lily' German TV May 1967)
The Who have now been dropped down the bill as their star falls slightly, performing only their latest single for their third Beat Club performance.
Another straightforward mimed performance, this one is most notable for Keith's frilly shirt which makes him look like Jon Pertwee's incarnation of Dr Who and Roger trying to stay as still as possible while all hell breaks loose around him. John gets to mime his french horn parts for the first time. Included complete on 'Who's Better Who's Best' with about thirty seconds used as part of a 'hits medley' on 'The Kids Are Alright'.

16. Monterey Pop Festival ('Substitute' 'Summertime Blues' 'Pictures Of Lily' 'A Quick One While He's Away' 'Happy Jack' 'My Generation' US Concert 1967)
'This is where it all....ends!' The Who had never fully broken America until they played Monterey, their violent and angry set really standing out amongst the other hippie acts on stage. Due to perform on the final night of the weekend, legend has it that the band had it out with Jimi Hendrix over who was going to close the show and who stole whose act. In the end Hendrix lost a coin toss about who would go on last, but won all the plaudits in the media coverage (the band admitting to manager and Animal Chas Chandler that they'd seen him in London and didn't want to go out after him) though at the time the audience looked just as shocked to see The Who. That goes double for the set's most thrilling moment - a 'My Generation' in which the band break everything on stage, very nearly including the poor roadie who runs on to grab Roger's microphone stand just as Pete is getting up to full guitar-smashing mode. This is the only Who extract seen in the original 1968 D A Pennebaker movie of the festival (a film which ought to be as famous as 'Woodstock' but has always been much harder to get hold of for some reason), though you can see the whole bang lot on the pricey 'Criterion Collection: Monterey Pop' DVD released in 2004 (and more than deserving of a re-issue). None of the rest of the set quite lives up to the most famous moment and The Who perform a  ragged but rather lethargic show lacking in their usual energy. However there are some great moments here even so, including a brave stab at the complex 'A Quick One' mini-opera and an early prototype of future 'Live At Leeds' standout 'Summertime Blues'. 'A Quick One' also appears on the '30 Years Of Maximum R and B' DVD. Nice costumes too - The Who almost pass as hippies!

17. Twice A Fortnight ('I Can See For Miles' UK TV 1967)
Meanwhile, back in Britain, the BBC have just found the 'psychedelic' button despite still working in monochrome. This very weird but groovy clip is one of the most famous and most-repeated Who clips of them all thanks to its inclusion in the 'Sounds Of The Sixties' compilation. It features a camera on permanent 'zoom' mode, so that the pictures 'vibrate' as much as the TV speakers (is this where the blind and deaf Tommy came from, thanks to this assault on most of the senses?) and the camera keeps switching back between close-ups of all four band members and a picture of a random old man. Watch out for John's cheeky grin when he realises the camera is on him! The Who were one of several 'musical interludes' in this early version of Monty Python's Flying Circus which starred Michael Palin  and Terry Jones alongside a pore-Goodie Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden. Sadly this seems to be the only episode of the show that exists - The Who faring far luckier with their one and only appearance on the show than their many on 'Ready Steady Go!' Oddly, not officially available to own as yet, though it always seems to be on telly, at least in the UK.

18. Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour ('I Can See For Miles' 'My Generation' September 1967)
'That's not playing the guitar - that was bowling!' Another very famous clip, one which opens the 'Kids Are Alright' film thanks to the Brothers' opening patter about who the group are which gets sent up pricelessly ('my friends call me Keith but you can call me John!') The Smothers Brothers were a quite irritating pair of comedians who were about as hip as, well, a square man. Their variety show always needed livening up with something and The Who proceed to do just that, with Keith Moon emptying half a tonne of explosives into his drum-kit during rehearsals. The unexpected boom is enough to make an off-stage Bette Davis faint into the arms of fellow guest Mickey Rooney (who probably couldn't believe his luck) and set Pete's hair alight (he also blames the incident for ruining his hearing in later life, though to be fair all those gigs probably played a part in that too). Moon's manic glee a few moments before as he prepares to leg it for the wings (John moves away slowly and calmly, Roger looks shocked) before lying face down on the stage floor grinning is an integral part of The Who's history and one of the band's most popular clips. However there are other great moments here that always gets overlooked too. 'I really dig these guys' says Tommy Smothers insincerely. 'Hah!' laughs Keith rather pointedly. Pete's guitar smashing is caught at its earliest and most aggressive here and his re-action to the carnage and his sizzling hair is to take the presenter's guitar and smash that too. Meanwhile Keith's drum-stick flying is really coming along nicely by this stage and the camera can barely keep its eyes off him even before he blows half the studio up to kingdom come. Glorious carnage that must have scared the hell out of everyone watching in America in 1967. A rather less eventful 'I Can See For Miles', recorded on location across America and more of a collage than a performance, was also screened earlier on the same show and features on the 'Who's Better Who's Best' DVD.

19. Die Jungen Nachtwandler ('Glittering Girl' German TV 1967)
Germany got a really unusual and exclusive clip as they try to film a documentary around the Track Records office. As well as shots of Kit and Chris in conversation with their secretary, Pete busks a new song for the rest of the band he's just written named 'Glittering Girl', which will be recorded for 'Who Sell Out' but won't make the final record. Though Pete insists this will be a big production with clattering drums (much like the final band version), this solo version is very different and pure folk-rock. Kit seems thrilled so it's a surprise it didn't make the record, though he agrees with the writer that the middle eight is pitched 'very high'. The Who try it out on stage, with Roger singing the song (it's Pete on the record) and Pete arguing with Kit over which bit is the middle eight! For perhaps the only time in Who history Pete, Roger and John all share the same microphone! A terrific, rare and revealing clip still sadly unavailable anywhere at present.

20. Call Me Lightning (Music Video 1968)
You'll know the footage if not the song - it was chosen as the 'Keith Moon tribute' in the 'Kids Are Alright' film (released after Keith had died but he had seen an early cut) but with 'Cobwebs and Strange' overdubbed over the top. Originally this video was meant to plug The Who's forgotten 1968 single and is kinda The Who's low budget version of 'Magical Mystery Tour'. It's a silent film (well, apart from the music - there are captions!) and features a bored Peter, Roger and John having a tea party before they find a mysterious box with an inert Keith sitting inside. Soon he wakes up - and how! - and starts madly running round the studio lot while dressed up as a robot as the others try to catch him with brooms. A recovering Keith thanks the others for getting a 'hypnotic helmet' off him and they walk away arm in arm, till the camera cuts back to a hypnotised Pete...

21. Beat Club #4 ('Magic Bus' German TV October 1968)
Returning to Beat Club, The Who puff away on a mimed version of another 1968 single underneath a large 'Beat Club' sign. Though the song is one of their weirdest and most popular, they turn in a rather boring performance of the song by Who standards (even Keith doesn't get up to too much mischief banging two sticks of wood together), which might be why this is one of the few TV appearances of the 1960s not officially released on something complete though you can see thirty seconds' worth on 'The Kids Are Alright' (The Who's Better Who's Best set replaces it with footage of the band on tour and playing on a tram!)

22. Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus ('A Quick One' Unscreened December 1968)
'Now ladies and gentlemen, dig The Who!' The Rolling Stones didn't release their circus TV show for all sorts of plausible reasons: their own performance (technical delays meant the band had been up 36 hours by the time they hit the stage), Brian Jones' ill health and the fear that they would just be seen as copying 'Magical Mystery Tour' among them. However a rumour has always gone round that The Stones (then billing themselves as 'the greatest live rock and roll band in the world') were blown off-stage by The Who (the world's genuine best live rock and roll band of the period). Though The Stones' show is one of their best (especially Mick Jagger making love to the camera with his eyes for twenty whole minutes), the rumours have a point. The Who play out of their skins on their performance, pulling out all the stops and turning in perhaps their single best performance of the 1960s. 'A Quick One' is a devilishly hard song to play live with its multiple sections and the band struggled with it all through 1967 (as you can hear on Monterey) but here they're so well drilled they know the song backwards and turn in a performance that's impressively tight as well as being theatrical. Highlights include Keith Moon pouring water on his drum-kit as the same time as he smashes the cymbals, Pete and Roger wind-milling into the final section in unison, Pete getting his words the wrong way round ('I can't believe it, do my eyes deceive me, am I back in your arms away from all harm?') and a stunning 'you are forgiven' closing section that runs for hours complete with multiple 'forgivens' and the memorable chant of 'cello cello cello' where originally the string overdubs were meant to go (before the band found out they couldn't afford it!) Who needs cellos when an arrangement is as strong as this? Though The Who only get one song on The Stones' special (to the main band's six) they make it count. Stunning stuff. Included, obviously, in the 'Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus' (finally released in 1997 - you can also see The Who in the audience wearing funny hats for closer 'Salt Of The Earth') and also 'The Kids Are Alright'.

23. Beat Club #5: Tommy Special ('Overture' 'Pinball Wizard' 'Tommy Can You Hear Me?' 'Go To The Mirror' 'Smash The Mirror' 'Sally Simpson' 'I'm Free' 'Tommy's Holiday Camp' 'We're Not Gonna Take It/See Me Feel Me' German TV August 1969)
'Tommy' went largely un-noticed on first release, with most of The Who's promotion being on the round rather than on telly. The exception was back in Germany where in an unprecedented move a hip and with-it Beat Club dedicated a whole episode of the show over to just one album.
Though clearly something gets in lost in translation, with the 70 minute album cut to half an hour of TV viewing and the band miming throughout, you get a lovely sense of just how visual a work 'Tommy' was even before it was a film. The opening shots of 'Overture' feature the band playing in an actual pinball machine (well, presumably it's an effect unless The Who are smaller than I'd already imagined, but it's quite an impressive effect for 1969), the album cover comes to life and whizzes across the screen and on 'I'm Free' the band play as a giant white silhouette which is so effective and still-recognisable it's a surprise the band didn't use that idea more often. So far only 'Tommy Can You Hear Me?' has been given an official release (on 'The Kids Are Alright') and it's the most unusual performance here, with the band standing in line and Keith treating the song as if it's a joyful singalong (while Roger's spoken word 'Tommy'...runs for much longer on the fade), although part of the speech is on 'The Kids Are Alright' (The German interviewer asks a very long and high-falluting question and Pete replies 'uhhhhh' and grins, leaving it unanswered). Pete gets to discuss why he wrote the work as if it's 'art', talking about Meher Baba ideas (though the guru isn't mentioned by name) and that when the mirror is smashed Tommy treats himself as a 'messianic figure' along with everyone else, even though he knows he's only human. He also argues with the presenter's interpretation of 'Sally Simpson' ('Basically it's the first affection and communication he gets...so he follows it through and becomes a star in his own right, even though he doesn't really know where he's at. I know I'm in a rock and group and what we're selling, but Tommy doesn't'). The show is also notable as the first time Roger's let his hair grow out to its natural curly length and his open shirt, clearly in full rock God mode now. All that said and as good as it is, the story must have been impossible to follow for anyone watching this who hadn't bought the LP yet.

24. Woodstock ('Sparks' 'Pinball Wizard' 'We're Not Gonna Take It-See Me Feel Me' 'Summertime Blues' 'My Generation' 'Naked Eye' US Concert August 1969)
The Who took to the Woodstock stage at 5am on the Sunday morning, in between Sly and The Family Stone and Jefferson Airplane. Playing to their biggest ever crowd, The Who pull out all the stops and rise to the big occasion far more than they did at Monterey, with one of the most famous moments of the whole festival coming at around 7.45am as the band come to the conclusion of 'Tommy' and the sun begins to rise spot on cue for the finale of 'See Me, Feel Me'. Though unplanned it feels like an entirely natural re-action by the universe to a tale of the band's song of hope and love for their audience and Tommy's discovery of himself as a part of the outer world. It's an exhilarating moment, rightly appearing in both the original version of the 'Woodstock' film and 'The Kids Are Alright' film. To be honest the rest of the set doesn't come close (and it doesn't help that the band are in darkness for much of their set), although quite a lot of it (nearly half an hour's worth) has been released to date on various DVD sets: 'Pinball Wizard' and extracts from 'Sparks' and 'My Generation' are on 'The Kids Are Alright', while 'Summertime Blues' was added to the 1994 Director's Cut of 'Woodstock', the full edits of 'My Generation' and the 'We're Not Gonna Take It' section before 'See Me, Feel Me' ended up on the 40th anniversary set. 'My generation' also turned up on 'Woodstock Diaries' in 1994. Sadly the memorable moment when Abbie Hoffman tried to interrupt the show to talk about politics and got kicked off by a boiler-suited Pete doesn't seem to have been recorded or released, though audio can be heard on the '30 Years Of Maximum R and B' box set.

25. London Coliseum ('Heaven and Hell' 'Summertime Blues' 'Happy Jack''A Quick One' 'I Can't Explain' 'Young Man Blues' 'Tommy'  December 1969)
With Tommy one of the year's biggest success stories the original plan was to hire a national opera house and perform 'Tommy' there as if it was a 'real' opera. The plan backfired, oddly, not because anyone said no (the Coliseum was chosen as it was English National Opera's home at the time and was  thought to have the best acoustics for rock music) but because the production company filming it had a nightmare. The Who appear in near pitch-darkness throughout, while the sound is relatively flimsy compared to period Who recordings. A shame because The Who are on good form by themselves, with a rock and rolling 'Young Man Blues' was a worthy inclusion on the 'Kids Are Alright' film (sadly faded early). The highlight, an impressively together and bouncy version of 'Happy Jack', turned up on the '30 Years Of Maximum R and B' DVD too). So far that's everything that has been officially released from this show to date, but the whole gig exists and is a Yo8tube favourite for many fans - especially a fiery 'Heaven and Hell', another tight natty performance of 'A Quick One' at one of its last performances and a, well, amazing 'Amazing Journey'.

26. Tanglewood Music Shed ('Heaven and Hell' 'I Can't Explain' 'Water' July 1970)
A candidate for the Who show most fans want to see released complete on DVD, sadly licensing problems mean we've only ever seen extracts of this one to date. Perhaps the second-best Who gig after 'Live At Leeds', the band are on top form all night and play with an added bite and anger even by their own standards of destruction. Pete's guitar has never been recorded better too, with a stunning 'Heaven and Hell' where he seems to be playing three solos simultaneously! This song, plus a stunning ten minute version of 'Water' and a comparatively perfunctory version of 'I Can't Explain' were all released on '30 Years Of Maximum R and B' but another half hour of footage at least exists, all equally good. This includes such memorable and unexpected moments as a rare Keith Moon monologue ('I'd like to introduce you to our guest speaker for this evening!' *holds up a speaker* 'For God's sake sit down!' is Pete's answering cry), an intriguing lighter-than-usual version of 'I Don't Know Myself' with John heavy on the backing vocals, a fast version of 'Young Man Blues' and the first half of 'Tommy' (up to 'Christmas') sounding particularly gorgeous. The Who at the absolute top of their game, this show is a real gem. Please sort the licensing problems out now and get this show out on the shelves!

27. Isle Of Wight Festival (UK September* 1970)
The band's 'other' famous gig from their most infamous year for live performances, already covered several times in this book so we won't go through it again. All you need to know: Roger looks good in his bare-chested phase, John looks great as a glow-in0the-dark skeleton, the band are on form if not perhaps up to 'Leeds' or 'Tanglewood' kind of form and the audience are for once even more nihilistic and angry than The Who, tearing down burger vans and challenging ticket prices with the demand that music 'should be free'. The full show is available on DVD, though unlike the CD the performance has been re-arranged so 'Tommy' comes last not in the middle and followed by encores, while 'Young Man Blues' and 'I Don't Even Know Myself' additionally appear on '30 Years Of maximum R and B'.

28. Top Of The Pops #1 ('Won't Get Fooled Again' 1971)
Meet The Who band - same as the old band! The most common of The Who's three surviving TOTP clips (there were many more, most of them in the 1960s and all sadly wiped), this mimed version of the four-minute single edit (to be honest it sounds like Roger singing along with the record) cuts out most of the drama but keeps in most of the mayhem, with a by-now bearded band (well, Pete and John) going all-out as they entertain the BBC crowds after a lengthy gap away making 'Who's Next' and struggling with 'Lifehouse'. Though often repeated, this clip has never been released on anything official as yet.

29. Join Together (Music Video 1972)
The Who's first music video in six years is a surprise. The original intention for the song, in context as part of the plot of 'Lifehouse', was the power of music to unite people separated from each other in their own homes. So what better way to celebrate the single's release than with a video where the audience invade the stage and sing along with the band? A good idea on paper, it all seems a bit un-Who-like when seen in actuality, although at least you do get to see Roger puffing on a giant mouthorgan and some lucky crowd members got to see Keith playing the drums close-up! Included on 'Who's Better Who's Best'.

30. Russell Harty Plus (UK TV January 1973)
The Myers-Briggs Theory says that we are all one of sixteen personality types (and there I was thinking I was bleeding quadrophonic). Keith Moon is surely an ENFP type, loud proud and mischevous. Pete Townshend is clearly an INFJ, worried arty and usually quiet. Of all the types that get together in pairs, though, this one is notorious as being the most destructive double-act of all time and so it proves here, with Pete and Keith egging each other on something rotten and preventing the hapless (and admittedly rather hopeless) presenter from saying a word. Pete knocks over an amplifier and apologies, Russell tries to make sensible chat with Roger ('a former sheet-metal worker') and John before wishing he hadn't asked Pete, with Keith interrupting (work? him? Arty farty he was, at art college!) Things go downhill from there, with Keith determined to show off his naked torso on television and ripping Pete's shirt to show off his pal's arm muscles from all the wind-milling he does. Russell looks on astonished, unable to say anything and wishing the ground would swallow him up while Pete giggles and Roger and John have the look of people who've witnessed this sort of thing a million times already - that day probably. A classic clip rarely seen in full though bits of it are scattered through 'The Kids Are Alright'.

31. Top Of The Pops #2 ('5:15' 1973)
Presenter Noel Edmonds is wrong when he says 'The Who haven't had a single out in two years' (it's not quite been one, but it has admittedly been a couple since last big hit 'Won't Get Fooled Again'). This is the period when TOTP went back to being a live rather than mimed show and you can tell that the band are a little rusty, with Pete flat on the opening verse, Roger doing a gonzo impersonation of a train and the band resorting to singing along with the record from the moment Roger starts singing. An angry Who didn't enjoy this performance (did they know something about other presenter Jimmy Saville?) and Pete recalls in his book 'Who I Am' his anger at being told 'how to play' by the TOTP producer. So he smashed his guitar at the end for the first time in years (he regretted it instantly - it was one of his favourites, a present from Joe Walsh and he and his roadie couldn't stick it back together again) and - thankfully off-camera - he mooned the unreceptive audience before walking off. The current poor reception to 'Quadrophenia' probably didn't help his mood much either. A rarely seen clip as a result of all this mayhem and The Who were banned from the show for five years for their scandalous behaviour! (They'll be back after six).

32. Old Grey Whistle Test ('Long Live Rock' 'Relay' 1973)
As whispering Bob says 'for my money no other band have given so much for as long as The Who' and the band prove why with a much happier appearance on BBC2's more 'grown-up' music show where they get to play some rarities rather than just the hits. And what a choice: 'Relay' was a flop single from the year before and this is the only known Who live recording of this 'Lifehouse' song (the soundtrack was also lifted for the 'BBC Sessions' CD), which is a shame because it sounds quite powerful live. 'Long Live Rock', meanwhile, as at the time unreleased and was a 1972 outtake written for Billy Fury to sing on the 'That'll Be The Day' film before inspiring the 'Quadrophenia' story. The Who play it more tentatively than the studio take but there's a lot of gusto energy and enthusiasm here too. Both songs are included on volume two of the 'Old Grey Whistle Test - The Definitive Collection' set.

33. The Hague ('Summertime Blues' 'Won't Get Fooled Again' 'My Generation' 'See Me Feel Me' Holland March 1973)
Even by Who standards, this is an exceptionally aggressive show. We don't know whether than band had a big blow-up on stage or whether they were re-acting to the poor crowd response to the introduction of 'Quadrophenia' on this tour (None of which have appeared officially to date) or whether the band just got out of the wrong side of the bed that morning, but 'My Generation' especially has never sounded more muscly or frustrated. That's the highlight here, but a weird 'Summertime Blues', with John sticking rigidly to the bottom notes of his bass while Keith hammers away at his drums as if he's putting up a particularly heavy shelf, is of note too. The world-weary aggression should be well-suited to 'Won't Get Fooled Again' too, but somehow without that lightness of touch the song feels like a lead weight rather than dancing the way the record and most live performances do, while a closing 'See Me Feel Me' feels more like hell than a hymn as usual. Still, this is a mighty impressive gig, which sadly only seems to exist as a half-hour extract, possibly filmed by a fan near the end of the show when he could risk being caught and thrown out! Even so, The Who commandeered the use of 'My generation' for the '30 Years Of maximum R and B' DVD.
34. Who Put The Boot In - Charlton Athletic Club (1974)
The Who mainly took a year off in 1974 but the few gigs they did play were all big ones, with this one filling out a football stadium. It's hard to say whether The Who really 'score' on this set, which is clearly more ragged than their previous sets but not quite as ropey as their later ones (so it's a draw?) Keith is on particularly hot form though, being the member of the band who most hated having time off: his entrance onto the stage after nearly a year away is an impressive forward roll and as well as some sizzling drumming he also gets to sing simultaneously on a moving version of 'Bell Boy' which is the highlight here, even if The Who are obviously playing to a click-track to keep them all in time. So far just four songs have been released from this show, all on '30 Years Of Maximum R and B': a messy 'Substitute', a raucous 'Drowned' (with some impressive bluesy harmonica and howls from Daltrey) and a clunky 'My Generation Blues' which never really worked at a slow tempo even if that's how the band originally intended to sing it. Overall, though, this looks like a great show - so where's the rest of it?!

35. Live At The Summit, Houston, Texas (US November 1975)
This show from a year later is out, however and is the latest official DVD from The Who camp at the time of writing. In many ways it's a strange show to release - the band seem tired and introduce relatively little to the setlist from the just-out 'Who By Numbers' LP meaning that of all their tours this is probably the least interesting since the early days. As the album puts it, they're too old to give up and too young to rest. Which is a shame because it's the new songs that work best: 'However Much I Booze' is far more aggressive and defensive than the album version and is verging on punk, while a noisy thrash through 'Dreaming From The Waist' is about as close as the band ever came to the day they couldn't control themselves. Elsewhere it's business as usual, with lots of old friends sounding a little worse for wear with the only real difference being a spiky introduction to 'Behind Blue Eyes' from Keith ('This features, Pete, John and Roger but not necessarily in that order. I don't sing on this one and only appear at the end which is when it takes off!') The revival of 'Tommy' is particularly under-par and not a patch on the 1969-1970 versions, with Pete messing around with the echo pedal on his guitar and several of the best songs missing to keep the song list down (it even starts with a particularly underwhelming  'Amazing Journey', thus cutting out most of the first quarter hour!) Which is not to say that this set is bad - The Who were occasionally rusty but never truly bad - just that there are better full shows deserving release than this slightly sorry for itself return from a lengthy hibernation.

36. Cleveland ('Dreaming From The Waist' US December 1975)
The band are, for instance, flying on the only known clip from this gig known to exist - a much stronger and lighter-on-it's-feet version of 'Waist'. Presumably the rest of the show has been kept out of sight because it was filmed in monochrome from a distance and Roger's vocal is a few beats behind everyone else, but in musical terms this one's a cracker: Pete's wild desperate guitar stabs work so well against Roger's solid presence and John and Keith are the ultimate support act here, nailing the song's tricky time changes with aplomb. Though the band are only a month on from the last gig, they sound like an entirely different band, with Pete jumping three times in the noisy conclusion alone and Roger in prime microphone-twirling mode. Included on '30 Years Of Maximum R and B' where it's one of the best things on the DVD.

37. Pontiac Silverdome ('Pinball Wizard' 'I'm Free' 'Tommy's Holiday Camp' 'We're Not Gonna Take It' 'Summertime Blues' 'My Generation' 'Join Together' 'Roadrunner' 'My Generation Blues' 'Won't Get Fooled Again' Live US December 1975)
Easily the weakest inclusion in the 'Kids Are Alright' film and soundtrack album is the plodding ten minute medley of Bo Diddley's 'Roadrunner' and a turgid 'My Generation Blues' slowed beyond all comprehension. The song starts off well enough, with a noisy slide down the strings of Townshend's guitar before he does a Chuck Berry duckwalk across the stage which has to be seen to be believed, but the band are a little leaden and the sound of the show isn't great either. The rest of the gig, still officially unseen, isn't a lot better with The Who still ploughing through Tommy night after night without any of the enthusiasm of old and 'Pinball Wizard' especially has lost his magic coat of many colours by this point. The encores of an unexpected 'Join Together' and a fiery 'Won't Get Fooled Again' are a little better though. The set list quoted above is the one that appears on Youtube - presumably more exist out there somewhere.

38. Live At Kilburn (UK 1977)
This show is available in full and it's seen by fans as Keith Moon's farewell show - though he'll be back for specially filmed 'The Kids Are Alright' features for the next two entries and played a few extra gigs towards the end of 1977, this is our last chance to see him across a full show. Given how poorly Keith was, how many drink and drug battles he was fighting and how rusty and overweight he was after another lengthy period away, this is actually a rather good set. The Who pretty much play a 'greatest hits' show with a few 'Who Are You' previews thrown in, but perhaps because of the rest they've just had play with a lot more enthusiasm than they did in 1975. They do, however, play slower (mostly to accomodate Keith's ill health) and though their bark is as strong as ever they don't always have the bite to back it up, so these shows do tend to get mixed receptions from fans. The band clearly aren't playing as well as they were in 1970 but to these ears they've covered up the cracks in the band well, with songs that may be slow but are very much sturdy, with new chances for sizzling slow-motion guitar leads and a much stronger presence from John's bass, which is always a good thing. 'Baba O'Riley' sounds especially good in this new setting, sounding old and tired six years on from the 'teenage wasteland' and with John's bass rumbling like a warning siren throughout the whole song, while a messier but still fun 'Dreaming From The Waist' with Pete po-going like a punk Tigger probably takes the silver. A much better show than reputation and time period would suggest.

39. Shepperton Studios Clips For 'The Kids Are Alright' Film ('Who Are You' 'Barbara Ann' July 1977)
Re-assembling for the shooting of 'The Kids re Alright' film following yet more time off, Keith was clearly unwell. Director Jeff Stein was asked if he could provide footage of the band 'working' on their latest single 'Who Are You' and obliged, even if the version seen in the resulting music video isn't strictly the same version of the song. Much of the 'rehearsal' footage which tops and tales it on the 'Kids Are Alright' version is also a little disappointing, mostly consisting of 'who-wah-ooh' overdubs and handclaps (although it's always fun to see Keith getting competitive with Pete and John raising his eyebrows in mock horror as he's the only person doing things properly!) Though like the rest of the 'Who Are You' album the finished version is overdub city (to cover up an ailing Keith), The Who could still play with power and magic at times as the bulk of the rehearsal footage proves, with the band really nailing the song's slinky groove. His work done, Stein then had the enviable position of being able to request songs from the band. Jim wasn't expecting this and when asked to come up with something on the spot surprised everyone in the room by requesting EP cover 'Barbara Ann'. Though Keith is clearly thrilled to be singing lead one last time, he struggles to drum at the same time and the result is chaos, with Roger struggling to keep the band going through a set of 'bah bah bahs' and clearly getting frustrated when his bandmates won't play. A more organised Stein will hire the band again to shoot versions of two key tracks he was lacking 'definitive' versions of.

40. Rampart Studios Clips For 'The Kids Are Alright' Film ('Baba O'Riley' 'Won't Get Fooled Again' May 1978)
As production neared an end, Stein made a request to the band to reconvene after yet another lengthy break to provide him releasable live versions of 'Baba O'Riley' and 'Won't Get Fooled Again' and hired an audience of 500 Who fans for the day. Out of practice and increasingly frustrated at their inability to nail the old magic, Townshend especially grew grumpy and un-cooperative as The Who kept edging towards a finish only to collapse in the middle of both songs. Urged to keep going, a full passable take was rejected because Stein still wanted something bigger and grander as the conclusion to his film. A snarling Townshend decleared that they would give the two songs one last chance and would pull out all the stops because they weren't doing it again - and they do. The footage of both songs is sizzling, with Stein choosing to pretty much bookend the film with them, placing them third and last respectively in the song list. Though Keith struggles just to keep upright on the chair, everyone else is magnificent: Roger, his long curly locks about to shorn, is at the end of his time as rock giant here and roars out all his soul here on both tracks, John keeps the band together with some truly jaw-dropping bass playing (you can actually listen to John's isolated bass tracks on the disc of extras that comes with the DVD of 'Kids' and it's super-human), while Pete parodies himself, mugging all his vocal lines, entering while banging a tambourine like an oversized dwarf from 'Snow White', jumping like a hyperactive toddler on acid and sliding across the stage floor on his knees during the 'scream' on 'Fooled Again' (the DVD extras also include six different camera angles from this shoot: all are tremendous, even Keith's as he cuts from intense concentration to sudden giggles at what his bandmates are up to). 'That good enough?' snarled Pete as he walked off stage after one of the best performances The Who ever gave. 'Yeah, that'll probably do' replied a still shaken director. Stein got his wish and how, with the performance of 'Fooled' especially as good as anything on the rest of the set from ten-fifteen years earlier, complete with a laser show back when lasers were still the height of technology. He also gave The Who, the band which along with The Kinks spent their whole career looking backwards, their ultimate parting present: a glorious last performance by the original line-up that's so true to their original values and talent. Many fans think they should have ended here, with Keith's relieved face and the emotional hug from Pete at the end (Roger tries to as well before a groupie nearly knocks him over!) the perfect way for this film to finish (except for an equally perfect credits sequence of lots of farewells and smashed guitars anyway!)

41. Shepperton Studios ('Sister Disco' 'Who Are You' 1979)
After taking another year off following Keith's death in September, the band reconvened back in their now new-favourite home of Shepperton Studios with new drummer Kenney Jones. The rehearsals for the band's new tour were captured for posterity as a 'new exciting chapter for The Who' but in actuality most fans see this period more as an encore nobody was asking for. The band do sound pretty good though, with Roger especially seeming more at home now that the band are back flying at full tempo again. The Moon-era Who found 'Sister Disco' too hard to play, but the band are enjoying it here and nail a pretty much perfect rehearsal take, despite the tricky changes and time signatures with 'Rabbit' Brundrick filling out the sound for the first time. A 'Who Are You' is more ragged and much more incomplete, but still sounds more than passable. The footage was left unused for another fifteen years before being included on the '30 Years Of maximum R and B' DVD.
42. Concert For The People Of Kampuchea ('Baba O'Riley' 'Sister Disco' 'Behind Blue Eyes 'See Me, Feel Me' US December 1979)
After The Concert For Bangladesh but before Live Aid there was a benefit for the refugees of Kampuchea, organised by an all-star cast including Paul McCartney, who tapped into the goodwill of a bunch of friends who'd helped on a recent recording (his 'Rockestra' theme from Wings' 'Back To The Egg' album on which Pete was one of half a dozen guitarists) and got his pals to perform too. The resulting live show was big news at the time and was a fascinating mix of the old and new (being the first high profile gig for many bands including Elvis Costello and the Attractions. The Pretenders and The B-52s), but licensing rights mean the intending film was delayed for two years (though a special was shown that Christmas) and the soundtrack album has never been re-issued. The Who are one of the best parts of the show, with their original two-hour-plus set one of their best, although officially only four songs were featured in the film and album. Though 'Baba' sounds a little flat, the other songs are all in good shape with 'Sister Disco' sounding even tighter and adrenalin-fuelled than the rehearsal take, 'Behind Blue Eyes' being gentle and sweet and unbearably poignant with a screen showing images of the disaster and a closing 'See Me Feel Me' has an added hope and optimism coming at the end of a long day of so many rockstar musicians trying to do good.  Pete also turns up on the all-star 'Rockestra' ending (also playing on an all-star jam of 'Lucille') and stands to Paul's right, laughing at him and his gold lame suit (Pete was the one member of the band who refused to wear one!) This show deserves to be more widely known, The Who's set in particular.

43. International Ampitheatre Chicago ('5.15' 'My Wife' 'Music Must Change' 'Pinball Wizard' 'Drowned'  'Punk and The Godfather' US December 1979)
A few days later though The Who sound ill, a pale sweaty and out-of-it necker-chiefed Townshend especially. However, out of adversity comes some great music, with a runaway train rendition of '5.15' sounding strangely suitable, a gruff 'My Wife' sounding more horror than comedy, 'Pinball Wizard' gets tilted, 'Drowned' drowns but in a good way, 'Punk and The Godfather' grows old disgracefully and best of all a seemingly never-ending version of 'Music Must Change' that's eerily intense (Pete introduces the song, horrifically slowly, as 'being about...' loses his train of thought and ad libs '...cheese sandwiches'). Roger sings the song with a low growl while a horn section - new for this tour - attempt to keep up with Pete's gymnastics on a lengthy instrumental. Pete reaches desperately for the chords but they're not there, feeling his way back into the song after one painful wrong note after another (check out John's grimaces!) - and yet somehow even that works on this day, with the 'wrongness' only emphasising Roger's pleas that 'music must change'. Pete also insists on taking all the introductions of this TV broadcast gig, saying hello not only to his mum but his aunt, his granny and about half of his old home town of Acton! '5.15' 'Pinball' and 'Music' were all three brave inclusions on the '30 Years Of Maximum R and B' DVD.

44. Rockapalast (Germany March 1981)
With 'Beat Club' now sadly a thing of the past The Who return to Germany's latest innovation: a weekly two hour concert slot. The Who struggle here and not just in the way they had in Chicago - there's nothing wrong with Pete here and yet all the band sound a little worse for wear, with the wonkiest 'I Can't Explain' of all seventeen years' worth of performances rather setting the tone for everything that follows. The 'Face Dances' material really doesn't work well in concert either, with 'Don't Let Go The Coat' sounding particularly, well, naked and 'You Better You Bet' is at its worst. There are some good moments though: a new wave makeover for 'Drowned' which has Pete singing and Roger harmonica puffing over a jazz groove that's closer to something from a Style Council record, while Roger has now taken up jogging during 'Who Are You'. Even so, with so many great gigs out there, I'd give this so-so show a miss.

45. You Better You Bet (Music Video 1981)
The Who's biggest single in six years was surely at least in part because of how much effort the band put into promoting it. Hence this music video shot again in Shepperton Studios, perhaps the only one The Who ever did that doesn't feature one or other of them (usually Keith) messing around or getting the giggles. This one is shot in moody black-and-white and is obviously meant to show a new, maturer side to The Who, with Roger showing off his shorter locks. It's all a little bland for most fan tastes though. Included on 'Who's Better Who's Best'.

46. Top Of The Pops #3 ('You Better You Bet' 1981)
The Who's ban from TOTP now over just in time for a hit single, the band seem perkier on this mimed-with-Roger-singing version of 'You Better' even if they are dressed in brightly coloured 1980s suits. Pete has shaved his beard off in between the filming of the promo and this video.

47. Don't Let Go The Coat (Music Video 1981)
Presumably shot the same day as 'You Better', an even moodier black-and-white Who mime to this impenetrable song about fashion and spiritualism. Included on the DVD version of 'Who's Better Who's Best' as a special feature.

48. Another Tricky Day (Music Video 1981)
The last of the black-and-white Shepperton promos, this was filmed 'just in case' the album was successful enough for a third single - which was wishful thinking to be honest, with this song never released except on the album. Also included as a bonus feature on 'Who's Better Who's Best'.

49. Eminence Front (Music Video 1982)
The Who burst back into colour for the only promo shot for final album (for twenty-four years anyway) 'It's Hard'. Shot on The Who's farewell tour, the lengthy opening is set to footage of the band rehearsing, until they finally get round to playing the song from the first verse. Despite the bank of keyboards that dominate the backing track, Rabbit Brundrick is barely glimpsed in this video.

50. Shea Stadium (US October 1982)
Shot for posterity on The Who's farewell tour (well, their first farewell tour at least), the soundtrack from much of this gig ended up on the 'Who's Last' live album released in 1984. The Who are by now a shell of themselves, sounding safe and middle-aged even on the songs that once inspired them to greatness or the news songs added to the set - traditionally the ones the band had most performing. Even joyful songs like 'Athena' and 'Eminence Front' fall flat, while Roger sounds as if he's getting a cold. A sorry penultimate gig.

51. Toronto (Canada November 1982)
Though still underwhelming by their high standards, the very final show in Canada - broadcast on pay-per-view TV - is at least an improvement with the band pulling out more of the stops, if not quite all of them. Soe moments really fly on this set, the best of them live versions of the 'It's Hard' songs also released as bonus tracks on the CD re-issue (particularly a leery 'Dangerous', a melancholy 'Cry If You Want' which ends in howls of feedback and a weary 'It's Hard' prefaced by Pete's memorable introduction 'It's not hard at all really - what's hard is making it stay hard. You don't understand what I'm saying do you?!', mixing Meher Baba with sexual innuendo like the glory days of old). Also released on DVD, this show is a worthy one for fans to collect but you don't need to go out of your way to see it unless you're a real 'Ooligan.

52. Live Aid ('Love Reign O'er Me' 'Won't Get Fooled Again' July 1985)
The Who didn't have that long to wait before coming out of hibernation, reforming three years later at Bob Geldof's request for 'Live Aid'. The band, still with Kenney Jones on drums, are clearly rusty and a little slow, but they still pack an emotional punch and especially with their apt choice of song. 'Love Reign O'er Me' is a little busy, but this song calling for love and peace is a good fit for the cause, while a usually cynical 'Won't Get Fooled Again' is played with much more joy and hope than usual. The band are visibly older, Roger comes in early on the 'move myself and my family aside' verse and the sound is closer to 1982 than 1972, but The Who still put on a great show.

53. Tommy Live - Los Angeles 1989
The Who's reunion tour four years later confused many though. Too soon to be missed and not yet ready for the re-appraisal most 1960s bands got in the 1990s, The Who quickly grew bored with this lengthy tour and admitted after John's death that they'd done it purely for the money - specifically to save the bass player from bankruptcy. The Who now have multiple extras on stage - Paul's younger brother Simon on guitar, a sea of backing singers including Track Records co-star Billy Nicholls, a full horn section and Pete Townshend's new ponytail. Plus guest stars who to be honest keep getting in the way: Phil Collins is embarrassing as Uncle Ernie (played without Keith's twinkling friendly eyes), Billy Idol is miscast as Cousin Kevin, Patti LaBelle is too squawky as The Acid Queen and even Elton John can't fill the over-sixed shoes he used to on 'Pinball Wizard'. The 'Greatest Hits' segment is better, thanks to such rarities as 'Face The Face' (from Pete's 1985 solo album 'White City' - though the title track or 'Give Blood' would have been a better fit), 'Dig' from the 'Roger Daltrey Sings Pete Townshend' album and a fun twist on 'Rough Boys' from Pete's 'Empty Glass' album. Other than that, though, is a band going through the motions and trying to become millionaires playing big stadia - The Who magic always worked better in confined spaces. Released in full on the 'Tommy/Quadrophenia/Live Hits' DVD. Tip: watch the pop-up documentary with Pete and Roger while the show runs in that background as that's truly fascinating and much more enjoyable!

54. Giants Stadium - New Jersey 1989 ('The Acid Queen' 'Pinball Wizard' 'A Little Is Enough' 'Boris The Spider' 'I Can See For Miles' 'See Me Feel Me')
THis show from the same tour seems a little bit better, even though it's only been seen in part so far, with the first three songs - not played at LA - ending up as extras on the 'Tommy/Quad/Live Hits' DVD set and the last three turning up as the big finale to '30 Years Of Maximum R and B'. A wonky 'Boris' is easily the best thing here, with John having fun doing his bass vocals and Pete having even more fun at the end when he pretends to see Boris running across the stage floor and tried to smash him with his guitar (don't worry, he's fine!) It's interesting to hear a band tale on 'A Little Is Enough' too, though as Pete still sings lead and the bass is inaudible it really isn't all that different.  Otherwise this is more modern Who, heavy on the frills and low on the thrills.

55. Quadrophenia Tour (1996-1997)
The second reunion tour was better, with Alex Langdon making for a good Jimmy on-screen. These interruptions between the songs are the perfect solution to The Who's original tour dilemma (Roger felt the songs needed a storyline and an explanation - Pete just wanted to get on with them) and Roger felt more creative input, having written most of the script and directed the visuals. Zak Starkey, Keith's Godson and Ringo junior, is also as good a replacement for Moon as the band have ever found or could hope to find, with the music much tighter too. The special guests are also far better choices: with 1960s nearly kid PJ Proby as an ok Godfather and Billy Idol stealing the show by alternating between strutting ace face and persecuted Bell Boy, complete with baggage as he walks off stage! I wouldn't say 'Quadrophenia' had never sounded better - this live tour still isn't a patch on the original record and even the original troubled tour of 1972 is better - but it's easily the best of The Who's reunion tours so far. So why was a soundtrack CD never issued, complete with dialogue? The visuals, however, can be seen on the 'Quadrophenia/Tommy/Live Hits' set, complete with a five-song encore of the usual suspects included on the 'Hits' disc.

56. 'The Vegas Job' (US 1999)
In case you hadn't guessed, John needed money again so The Who went back out on tour with their simplest and most fan-friendly set yet. Released on DVD as quickly as possible, this seemed a pointless release back at a time when so many past gigs weren't officially available. The Who do play with a little more life than in 1989, but not too much and few songs really catch the ear. Even the surprises, like a revived 'Anyway Anyhow Anywhere', sounds awful with a gruff Pete attempting to sing back-up vocals and a chugging ten-minute 'Magic Bus' sounding more like a rail replacement service than the days of old. This is a miserable DVD from a band that got old before they could die.

57. Royal Albert Hall (UK 2000)
This gig from a year later and back home in London is better, thanks mainly to being braver. Pete shines on a four-song acoustic spot in the middle (with excellent versions of 'I'm One' and an unexpected 'Heart To Hang Onto' from his 'Rough Mix' collaboration with Ronnie Lane. The guests are a bad idea though: Noel Gallgher is inaudible on 'Won't Get Fooled Again', Paul Weller over-sings 'So Sad About Us' and Bryan Adams sounds confused on 'Behind Blue Eyes', while poor Roger Daltrey is left on stage twiddling his thumbs and watching some strangers all but ruin 'his' songs. The gig does feel like a big special occasion though which in many ways it is, being the last gig on home-soil with John Entwistle in the group.

58. Live In Boston (US September 2002)
This is the very last with John though, an American show filmed for posterity because it happened to be the last in the tour and The Who thought they might not play for a while -actually Pete and Roger were back within weeks as a way of coping with their grief. Released in tribute to the bass player a couple of years later, it's not exactly the way most fans would choose to remember him, with The Ox's usually nimble fingers showing signs of slowing and his 'My Wife' cameo gruffer than ever. To be fair it's just a one-off bad gig, which every musician has, but John would no doubt cringe if he knew this ended up being his last musical will and testament and would hate having this show on sale. Even the modern Who have played better gigs than this - give it a miss, especially at the current price!

59. Real Good Looking Boy (Music Video 2004)
A rarely seen video for a rarely heard song, this Entwistle tribute was released on the end of the 'Then and Now' compilation and is a tribute for three separate people: John, Keith and Elvis, whose pictures dominate the opening of the video. The whole video is a collage of old footage, most of which are old friends that have already appeared on this list umpteen times, but there's still much here a hardened fan might not now, including some moving shots of Keith in silhouette waving to the camera. The video ends with *that* hug from the end of 'The Kids Are Alright'.

60. Live 8 ('Who Are You' 'Won't Get Fooled Again' July 2005)
Twenty years after 'Live Aid' the world still had problems and Bob Geldof was still just about a national treasure rather than a nutter banned from most chat-shows, so The Who came a-running when he needed another favour. The G8 world leaders were meeting to decide climate change - yeah, right, let's get the richest people from the richest countries to care about what happens to the poor, right? - and Geldof wanted to make an ecological message heard. The Who perform near the end of the event, just before Pink Floyd and Paul McCartney and come close to stealing the stage from both, even with just two songs. 'Fooled Again' is back to the old cynical sound, very different to the 'Live Aid' version nearly twenty years to the day earlier, while 'Who Are You' is played with a real fire and aggression again. Many reviewers commented that The Who sounded like a much younger band than most of the genuinely young acts taking the stage that night. Oh and you have to love Peter Kay's introduction where he gets everyone excited by talking about a terrific band from the past that everyone has come to see...and he jokes that it's The Spice Girls instead (such a tease!)Perhaps the best of the post-1981 Who performances, so it's a shame they couldn't play a longer set.

61. T In The Park ('See Me Feel Me' UK 2006)
More of the same but not quite as good, with a moving 'See Me Feel Me' broadcast as part of a festival highlights set with the band playing on full power even if they can't quite match the power of their Live 8 show.

62. Glastonbury #1 ('I Can't Explain' 'The Seeker' 'Anyway Anyhow Anywhere' 'Fragments' 'Who Are You?' 'Behind Blue Eyes' 'Baba O'Riley' 'Relay' 'You Better You Bet' 'My Generation' 'Won't Get Fooled Again' 'The Kids Are Alright' 'Pinball Wizard' 'Amazing Journey > Sparks' 'See Me Feel Me' 'Tea and Theatre' June 2007)
Why did it take so long for The Who to play Glastonbury, Britain's biggest outdoor festival? The shows had been running most years since 1969 (with very English breaks every fourth year so the field could recover and crops could grow on it!) and organiser Michael Eavis said before the band took the stage that he'd wanted the band for years - equally The Who had always wanted to play. A more intimate experience than most festivals, it's the perfect breeding ground for their 'listening to you' audience re-action although despite that this show still isn't quite as together and well-disciplined as the Live 8 one, with a tendency to ramble during the solos. half of the full show was broadcast on BBC TV and was particularly moving for the final encore of 'Tea and Theatre' with Pete and Roger performing alone, the rest of the band having left the stage as they drink a toast to friends past. Of the oldies a surprise revival of 'Relay' works best, with The Who representing the 'old' guard of musicians on a day when they themselves have watched many of the 'new'.  

63. Superbowl ('Pinball Wizard' 'Baba O'Riley' 'Who Are You?' 'Won't Get Fooled Again' February 2010)
I'm told the Superbowl is a big thing in America, with American Football games played out to easily the biggest crowds The Who had faced since Woodstock. Playing their half-time shows is a big deal publicity-wise them, so it was quite something for a 'umble 'Oo from London, England to get the gig in the first place. I doubt many new fans came from this show though as Roger's voice is hoarse, Pete seems unhappy and the four song set of standard favourites never really catches fire. It's still a lot more entertaining than watching grown men throw themselves on top of each other to gain custody of a leather ball though.
64. London Olympics Closing Ceremony ('Baba O'Riley' 'See Me Feel Me' 2012)
Appearing at the end of the Olympics, after Ray Davies turned up in a London  taxi, Oasis sang 'Wonderwall' minus the song's composer Noel Gallagher and a reunion of - dear God it happened for real - The Spice Girls, The Who played another standard two-song set pitched somewhere between their recent brilliance and hopelessness. The Who must have been used to playing to big crowds by this time but still sounded nervous on the night, with 'See Me Feel Me' never quite taking off despite the globalness of the event.

65. Sandy Relief Concert ('Pinball Wizard' 'Baba O'Riley' 'Bell Boy' US 2012)
By now The Who were all but honorary Americans and played their part in raising money for the victims of a hurricane that had swept across the country. The band play some unusual tracks at this show, three of which were screened as part of an all-star night, with 'Bell Boy' the most moving. Instead of replacing Keith, the band play right along with him as thanks to the wonders of technology the performance from Charlton in 1974 appears on the screen, while the band turn round to face their old drummer and offer salute. Even though other bands did it first, this is still a very moving moment.

66. Glastonbury #2 ('Who Are You?' 'The Seeker' 'The Kids Are Alright' 'I Can See For Miles' 'My Generation' 'Pictures Of Lily' 'Behind Blue Eyes' 'Bargain' 'Join Together' 'You Better You Bet' 'Love Reign O'er Me' 'Eminence Front' 'Amazing Journey > Sparks' 'Pinball Wizard' 'See Me Feel Me' 'Baba O'Riley' 'We Won't Get Fooled Again-Cook's County' UK June 2015)
The Who's second Glastonbury set was even better than their first and was touted at the time as a possible 'farewell gig' (yeah right, we've been saying that for the past fifteen entries!) It's a moving one that takes the band full circle in many ways, with the band back to their angry and nihilistic best, with several digs at the recent UK election (The Conservatives got back in again despite the mega harm they'd done to the poor and disabled - and despite some serious cheating that should have resulted in a whole new election!) The highlight is a stunning finale of 'We Won't Get Fooled Again' that's sung with real venom and anger, the song deviating unexpectedly into the 'people are suffering - say it again and again and again!' refrain from 'Cook's County', a song from 'It's Hard' never before played on stage. Though nobody quite smashes anything at this gig, the band come close with this the most dangerous performance they'd played in many a decade and with so many unexpected songs in the setlist you never quite knew what was coming next. A sweet 'The Kids Are Alright', an urgent 'The Seeker' (recently featured on the 'Rock Band' music game) and a wild-eyed 'Eminence Front' being three of the best. Not quite up to 'Live 8' still, but arguably the best of the full-length 'modern' Who gigs out there.

67. Hyde Park (UK 2015)
This return to London, however, isn't quite in the same league with the band a bit calmer and, well, older in the performance and with less surprises and more crowd-pleasers in the mix. It's still a strong place to end though, with an even better, funkier 'Seeker' wrapping up our list quite nicely.


Well, that's it for another week. Join us for the best of the unreleased Who recordings next week, just as soon as your eyes and ears have recovered!