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Eagle Vision presents
The Who: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 (1970)

"This is my generation, baby."
- Roger Daltrey (singing)

Review By: Dan Heaton  
Published: September 01, 2004

Stars: Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, Keith Moon
Director: Murray Lerner

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable, except for loud guitars)
Run Time: 01h:25m:05s
Release Date: August 10, 2004
UPC: 801213005499
Genre: rock

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- A-B+A- B

DVD Review

Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle, Moon.

If these names mean nothing to you, then you're missing out on one of rock's most accomplished and energetic bands. Keith Moon and John Entwistle have died, and the band has unfortunately released some less-stellar work in more recent times. However, the Who stood as one of rock's most pivotal and unique acts in the '60s and '70s. Their performances showcased the remarkable guitar playing of Pete Townshend and the crazy bluster of singer Roger Daltry, and they just plain rocked.

The Who: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 showcases the foursome at their live peak and ranks as one of their most impressive performances. Playing after the ambitious Tommy tour and before the release of the heralded Who's Next record, the Who deliver the goods during an 85-minute recorded show. An odd aspect of this release is the absence of six songs, Substitute, Naked Eye, 1921, Amazing Journey, Sparks, and Smash the Mirror. The packaging advertises this show as the complete performance, but it lacks more than 20 minutes of footage included in the two-disc CD version. It's possible the video footage from these songs was unusable, but the DVD producers should not try to fool knowledgeable fans. The included setlist provides the following tracks:

Heaven And Hell
I Can't Explain
Young Man Blues
I Don't Even Know Myself
Shakin' All Over
Spoonful/Twist And Shout
Summertime Blues
My Generation
Magic Bus

From Tommy:
It's A Boy
Eyesight To The Blind (The Hawker)
The Acid Queen
Pinball Wizard
Do You Think It's Alright
Fiddle About
Go To The Mirror
Miracle Cure
I'm Free
Tommy's Holiday Camp
We're Not Gonna Take It

Another strange element of this release (and previous ones) is the change to the setlist that moves the Tommy tracks to the end of the concert. The actual order placed them between Water and Shakin' All Over, which split the show nicely into two rocking segments. Shifting the "rock opera" songs to the end does increase their emphasis, but it also removes some of the force from classics like My Generation and Magic Bus that actually closed the concert.

Even considering these minor flaws, The Who: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 still ranks as a pivotal show in the career of one of rock's legendary bands. The set begins with the raucous one-two punch of Heaven and Earth and Can't Explain and rarely provides a dull moment. One of the best moments occurs during the cover Young Man's Blues, where Daltrey's vocals combine perfectly with the big guitars to create a spellbinding combination. Moon and Entwistle deliver plenty as the top-notch rhythm section, and the band pounds through an excellent collection of hits. Music fans of all ages should consider this concert required viewing.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The Who: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 utilizes its original full-frame transfer, which provides an intimate look at the energetic performance. The picture has been remastered significantly and features clearer and more impressive colors, but they're still limited by the age of the source material. The images might seem blurry to modern viewers expecting pristine concert footage, but they offer an enjoyable presentation.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: One of the main drawing points of this release is the chance to hear the Who performing a classic concert in powerful DVD sound, and this disc fails to disappoint. It includes the option to choose between DTS, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Surround transfers that all provide solid listening experiences. The five-channel DTS and 5.1-channel Dolby Digital versions are superior and both provide numerous impressive moments. The only drawback is the limited technology of 1970, which keeps this release from providing a more pristine sound.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Music/Song Access with 23 cues
Packaging: Book Gatefold
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Interview with Pete Townshend
Extras Review: The lone extra feature on this disc is a 38-minute interview with Pete Townshend that is captivating throughout its extensive running time. The guitarist speaks very candidly about his disdain for the rigors of touring and interest in the artistic side of the music. He does come off a bit grumpy and pretentious, but his honesty about everything, including drugs, is refreshing and rarely seen at this level. It's especially interesting to hear him describe the flow of the show, from the hard rockers through the Tommy section and back to the hard rockers. This interview should be interesting even to casual Who fans, as its topics are mostly broad. Director Murray Lerner speaks to Townshend and offers his own memories of the festival and the raucous events surrounding it.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

The Who's Isle of Wight Festival concert was released previously on DVD, but that version lacked the remastered audio and the interview with Pete Townshend. This one may still have some odd changes to the setlist, but it delivers an energetic performance. Skeptics still unwilling to give the Who much credit should watch this concert and see if their opinion remains.


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