Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment
In 2014, the legendary rock band The Who marked a major milestone as it reached its fiftieth anniversary. In honor of the anniversary, the veteran British band has been making its way around the world, sharing its decades of music with generations of fans. While it is currently in the midst of that tour, not every city has been or will be lucky enough to see the band as it shares its timeless tunes with the masses. Thankfully for the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment, the leader in live recordings, audiences have been treated with one of The Who’s most classic concerts in the form of Live at Shea Stadium 1982. Live at Shea Stadium 1982 is a pivotal point in The Who’s career as it would be the last time that the band would be joined by Kenney Jones on drums. It would also mark the last time that the band would perform live until 1989. That is a span of some seven years. In the music world, seven years is an eternity. Until now, this concert had never been released in its entirety on one platform. Being the first time ever that the concert–the second of The Who’s shows from its 2-night stand at Shea Stadium in October, 1982–it is a wonderful debut. It proves itself so impressive primarily through its set list. The main set list featured in this concert runs twenty-five songs and just over two hours. The songs included in that list solidly represent the band’s career up to that point. The quartet’s performance of said songs is just as enjoyable as the songs themselves. Considering that it would be the last time that the band would perform live for a span of seven years, the band definitely went out on a high note albeit temporarily. Last but not least to note is the concert’s collective production values. Being that the concert contained in Live at Shea Stadium was originally recorded nearly thirty-three years ago, the footage has stood the test of time quite well. Even more impressive is the work of those that resurrected its footage and re-mastered it for its presentation here. Thanks to the work of those individuals, the concert maintains the look that it boasted in its original recording yet boasts a sound that is just as clear as any show recorded today. The combination of all three noted elements shows clearly why Live at Shea Stadium 1982 is a great replacement for those that won’t get to see The Who on its current tour. It shows just as clearly why this recording is one more of the year’s best new live DVD and Blu-ray recordings.
Live at Shea Stadium 1982 is a defining moment for The Who. It marked the last time that audiences would get to see the band live for another seven years after its completion. It would also be the last time that the band’s then drummer Kenney Jones would perform with the band. And until now, it has never been released in its entirety on one platform. Considering this and the fact that the band’s current tour may be the last for the band, it becomes an even more important recording for fans of The Who to own. It shows itself to be such a lasting concert for audiences first and foremost through its extensive set list. The set list presented here runs twenty-five songs deep and just over two hours long. That is not even counting the five performances included as bonuses. Added to the main set list, they push the overall run time of the recording to a little more than two hours and twenty-five minutes. That’s a lot of music to say the least. And that’s a lot of live for fans that won’t get to see the band on its current tour. On a related note, the songs that make up the show’s set list represent a relatively healthy cross-section of the band’s section up to that point. It reaches all the way back to the band’s third studio release, 1967’s The Who Sell Out and even includes hits such as ‘Pinball Wizard,’ from the band’s hugely popular 1969 album Tommy, ‘Baba O’Reily’ and ‘Behind Blue Eyes,’ both from 1971’s Who’s Next as well as ‘I’m One,’ ‘The Punk and the Godfather,’ ‘5:15,’ and ‘Drowned’ all from another of the band’s biggest releases of all time, 1973’s Quadrophenia among so many other major hits. For all of the importance of the noted hits, their sequencing is just as important to the enjoyment of the show. The first five songs offer up a solid, driving energy that is soon followed up by a slightly more reserved vibe in ‘It’s Hard.’ That is followed up by the ‘Sledgehammer’-esque vibe of ‘Eminence Front’ before the band really pulls back on ‘Behind Blue Eyes,’ another of its biggest hits. That is just the first six of the show’s twenty-five song set. The remainder of the show’s songs exhibit just as much balance right up to the show’s finale. That balance of energy and drive from one song to the next coupled with the show’s overall set list shows clearly why as with any live show, the set list in whole is central to its enjoyment and overall success.
Live at Shea Stadium 1982’s set list and its overall arrangement give audiences plenty to like about the recording. The balance of energy and drive from one song to the mix coupled with an equally solid mix of the band’s hits up to that point will keep audiences’ attention from beginning to end. Much the same can be said of the band’s stage performance throughout the course of the two-hour plus concert. Front man Roger Daltry shows time and again why he is one of the greatest front men in rock’s modern history with his balance of charisma and energy from one song to the next and even in-between as audiences will see for themselves. When the crowd gets too close to the stage, Daltry very calmly and politely asks the audience to back up and make room. Even having to do this more than once he never loses his cool. As minor as it seems, it goes a long way toward showing the type of person that he is. It is truly impressive to see such demeanor. That demeanor coupled with his minimal yet still energetic performance is a clear example of why the band’s performance in this show is so impotrant to its enjoyment and success. Daltry’s band mates John Entwhistle, Pete Townshend, and Kelley Jones each provide their own entertainment throughout the show. Guitarist Pete Townshend’s classic airplane playing is there. Jones’ drumming generates its own energy throughout each song. Even Entwhistle’s own unassuming demeanor as he provides the songs’ low end is entertaining in its own right. Whether in the concert’s biggest moments or its more reserved moments, none of the band members really seem to exert that much energy, rather letting the music exert most of the energy for them. That energy translates perfectly to the audience and will translate just as well to home viewers. In turn, it will lead audiences to appreciate the band members’ talents both as musicians and song writers. That appreciation reveals in one more way why Live at Shea Stadium 1982 is such an enjoyable and successful new recording from one of rock’s greatest acts.
The set list that makes up the body of Live at Shea Stadium 1982 and the band’s performance of said songs do plenty to show why this concert is so enjoyable. They are only two parts of the presentation that makes it whole. The concert’s collective production values round out the ways in which it proves itself so enjoyable. Considering the fact that the concert was originally recorded some thirty-two years ago, it can be said that the footage has stood the test of time rather well. Of course the work of those charged with re-mastering the concert’s audio and video is just as much to credit for how well it looks and sounds. It maintains the look that it boasted in its original standard def recording. Even with that look it is clear that it has been cleaned up and brought back to life. Through it all the fact that it still maintains that look is deserving of praise. It shows the high quality results of the painstaking efforts of those individuals charged with handling the footage. The same can be said in regards to the concert’s audio mix. It is obvious that just as much work was put into remastering the concert’s audio. That is because it sounds clearer than most concerts recorded so long ago. Thanks to the work done on both ends, the band’s performance and the show’s set list both become that much more enjoyable. In conjunction with the work of those that resurrected and re-worked the footage, all three elements show together just why Live at Shea Stadium 1982 is another entirely enjoyable and successful from one of rock’s biggest bands and why it is also one of this year’s best new live DVD and Blu-ray recordings.
Live at Shea Stadium 1982 shows in plenty of ways to be another entirely enjoyable and successful recordings from a group that is one of rock’s biggest and most respected acts. It shows just as much why it is one of the year’s best new live DVDs and Blu-rays. It is available now in a variety of formats both in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:
More information on The Who’s current tour is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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