The Who - Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who / Six Quick Ones

Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who / Six Quick Ones

(Universal)

First Appeared in The Music Box, December 2007, Volume 14, #12

Written by Douglas Heselgrave

Thu, December 6, 2007, 06:45 AM CST

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Amazing Journey is the DVD set for which fans of The Who have been waiting. Over the years, many of the groupís performances have been compiled on video, but none of them are nearly as satisfying as Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who and its accompanying film Amazing Journey: Six Quick Ones. Unlike many other documentaries about famous musicians, the two pieces that compose Amazing Journey succeed purely on cinematic terms. Rather than following the traditional formula of interspersing long, interview segments with archival concert footage, Amazing Journey attempts to tell the tale not just of a rock band, but also of the social and economic forces that were at work at the time of the bandís formation.

No Direction Home, Martin Scorseseís 2005 documentary about Bob Dylanís early years, is the film that is closest in spirit and execution to Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who. Through a series of in-depth interviews, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, along with various associates of The Who, provide glimpses into the bandís infancy in a way that is both compelling and informative. Daltrey, in particular, comes off quite well. Despite the fact that he often is considered to be macho and rather boorish, his reflections upon the groupís formative moments are both humorous and insightful. Throughout Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who, Daltrey is relaxed and happy as he shares his memories with a sympathetic interviewer. Townshend, by contrast, appears shy, as if he is struggling with his legacy and the past that forged it. Commentaries from former managers and spouses serve to round out the picture of The Whoís ascension to superstardom.

Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who contains a treasure trove of period footage that focuses upon the various movements that influenced The Whoís development. Fans of the group will find much to enjoy in the vintage British TV stock of mods and rockers facing off in Bristol. Likewise, the Carnaby Street fashion sequences of mid-í60s London are a lot of fun to see. (Did anyone really dress like this in 1965?) When interspersed with interviews and live performances from the band, this material contributes immensely to transforming Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who into a feast that runs across the visual, cultural, and musical spectrums. Exceedingly intelligent and remarkably well-edited, this documentary is one of the few rock films that survives on its own cinematic merit. In other words, one doesnít need to be a rabid fan of The Who to enjoy it.

In the end, however, itís still all about the music, and Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who is full of footage that has been seen by no one, save for the most fervent insider. The shots of early club performances by Detour ó Daltrey and Townshendís first band ó are priceless. As if this isnít enough in itself, the film sequences featuring Keith Moon ó the bandís original drummer, who undeniably also was one of the truly wild men of rock ó help to push Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who into the realm of other classic rock documentaries, such as Stop Making Sense and Woodstock.

Technically, Amazing Journey: Six Quick Ones is a bonus DVD, and therefore, itís not surprising that it is geared toward diehard Who fans. As its title suggests, the piece contains six mini-documentaries ó one for each original group member, plus one about the phenomenon the band became and one by D.A. Pennebaker that focuses upon The Whoís return to the studio in 2003. The sum total is an interesting compilation of material that unfortunately isnít nearly as well-executed as the main feature.

Until now, The Whoís fans have had to make do with repeatedly watching The Kids Are Alright in order to get their fix, but like Led Zeppelinís The Song Remains the Same, the film hasnít aged well at all. Thankfully, the appearance of Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who and Amazing Journey: Six Quick Ones rectifies matters, and it likely will be a long time before anything else comes along to top it. starstarstarstar

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Of Further Interest...

Pearl Jam - Yield

Manic Street Preachers - Holy Bible: 10th Anniversary Edition

The Who - At Kilburn: 1977

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Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who / Six Quick Ones
is available from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!

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Ratings

1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

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Copyright © 2007 The Music Box