Quadrophenia, the classic Who album from 1973 is one of Rock’s most powerful works. It no longer matters how it’s presented as the songs are a living thing that transcend their presentation. In July of 2013, Roger Daltrey, and Pete Townshend, the two remaining parts of The Who, played the entirety of Quadrophenia for a Wembley audience. It was recorded and is now a permanent part of our Who collection. And although Daltrey and Townshend have aged enough to not provide the same quality of performance that the band gave the album back when it was released, they still give the material a good go.
The just released Quadrophenia : Live In London video of the Wembley Arena show is a grand view of the songs. The stage is heavy with musicians who play as accurate a reproduction of the songs as is possible. And even though the stage has many others, the spotlight remains on both Daltrey and Townshend. With streaming video being played that flashback to the band’s early years, as well as video of a time many decades past that helped to encourage the original album’s production, the whole set is a miracle to watch.
Of course, Daltrey and Townshend no longer have the range of voice for their tunes. But none of that matters, nor does it seem to bother them much. You see, it’s Quadrophenia playing up there, folks. It doesn’t matter how Daltrey may not reach a certain pitch, he still nails the songs in a beautiful way. Because of this, Quadrophenia: Live In London becomes an essential for Who fans, or more accurately, Quadrophenia fans.
At the point of “Bell Boy”, the song that required the participation of Keith Moon, a video is shown of him doing his parts. During this song, Daltrey is riveted to the video, back to the audience, and is clearly a man who loved a lost brother. It’s a beautiful thing to see even as Daltrey finishes with a kiss thrown to the video image of Moon.
The sound quality presented via the selectable DTS-HD Master Audio, and Dolby TrueHD for the 5.1 Surround is excellent. But just as excellent is the PCM stereo reproduction, which I preferred. (I’ve never been a true fan of 5.1 Surround but I do not decry its usefulness for the fans that appreciate it.) Just as beautiful is the sharp video that plays back for the viewer.
The Blu-ray contains a bonus set of six tracks outside the Quadrophenia set. Those songs include “Who Are You”, “You Better You Bet”, “Pinball Wizard”, “Baba O’Riley”. “Won;t Get Fooled Again”, and “Tea & Theatre”. Again, the songs test the vocal range of the singers, but even so, those songs are second fiddle to the real star on stage, the performance of the entire classic album of Quadrophenia.
Yes, it’s worth having and enjoying.
And now, for the most important of them all, the remix of Quadrophenia.
Release Date: June 10, 2014