Live at Shea Stadium 1982
Back in 1982, out touring stadiums (at least in North America) in support of their just-released It’s Hard album, The Who stormed into New York for a two-night stand, captured on this new album (and DVD released in connection with it), Live at Shea Stadium 1982. Opening with a double wallop of loudly played oldies, “Substitute” and a John Entwistle-heavy “I Can’t Explain,” it is evident that the band is in top form, yet this recording is not so great. Singer Roger Daltrey and Keith Moon-replacement drummer Kenney Jones (this would be his last tour with The Who) are up front in the mix, but Entwistle, Pete Townshend’s guitar and the backing keys come in and out of prominence. Still, there are some neat little gems here. We get “Dangerous,” Kenney Jones’ marching snare-led “Cry If You Want” and a great “Eminence Front” with some brilliant guitar leading from Townshend (freed-up as he is with Daltrey strapping on an electric to provide that plucked main riff.) The rarity “Tattoo” is a true duet between Townshend and Daltrey. Classics like “Baba O’Riley” are huge and as ballsy as ever. “Who Are You,” featuring not the best moment for Daltery vocally, but Townshend’s noodling under the keys is fun. There are Quadrophenia moments, Jones especially loud and strong executing rolls on “The Punk and the Godfather,” Townshend wailing through “Love Reign O’er Me. ” Of course as you’d expect “See Me Feel Me” plods through, slightly lackluster (though again, Jones is on it!) and we get “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Young Man’s Blues” and even “Naked Eye” (another non-hit Who classic). The bonus disc here includes three songs from the first night’s concert (the night I attended… yes, I am that old) with tunes “My Generation,” “A Man Is a Man,” and “5.15.” Even with a flawed recording it is obvious there was a time when rock was not dead.