The Who - Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970

The Who
Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970

First Appeared in The Music Box, December 1997, Volume 4, #13

Written by John Metzger


Over the past two years, The Who's entire catalog has been remastered and reissued, and each set has been graced with a slew of bonus tracks and alternate takes. Live at Leeds the band's epic live album recorded on February 14, 1970 was expanded from its original six tunes to include fourteen selections, though the entire performance of Tommy was reduced to Amazing Journey/Sparks. Much as its title suggests, Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 was recorded six months later at the UK's Isle of Wight Festival, and it corrects the only weak point on Live at Leeds.

Taking the stage at 3:00 a.m., The Who unleashed a fury with Heaven and Hell. Powered by Keith Moon's rapid-fire drumming, Pete Townshend's power-chord progressions, Roger Daltrey's raging vocals, and John Entwistle's blistering bass patterns, the group sent a wake-up call to its audience. Young Man Blues, like its counterpart on Live at Leeds, shines a light into the earliest recesses of the punk movement.

I Don't Even Know Myself, Water, and Naked Eye were the newest songs in The Who's repertoire. Intended for a five song EP that was never released, they characterized the direction in which The Who would move with its classic 1971 album Who's Next. There's even a medley of Shakin' All Over, Spoonful, and Twist and Shout that drips with electricity.

Of course the inclusion of The Who's performance of Tommy makes this set even more interesting. Where Amazing Journey/Sparks on Live at Leeds feels a little out of place, the inclusion here of all of the preceding music from Townsend's opera puts things into perspective. The opera builds to a fiery peak that is unleashed in a stinging rage during Amazing Journey/Sparks. It is a remarkable performance, especially given that by this point it was nearly 4:00 a.m.! Live at Leeds is a must for any music lover, but Who fans and others looking for more of the same should check out this two-disc set. starstarstarstar


Of Further Interest...

Leonard Cohen - Live at the Isle of Wight 1970

Jimi Hendrix - Valleys of Neptune

The Rolling Stones - Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! The Rolling Stones in Concert


Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!



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


Copyright 1997 The Music Box