http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/b43d0fafa3d374bf8ba4b8bb9ccd09219fb146f2.jpg Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970

The Who

Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 0 0
December 26, 1996

The Who went on at about 2:30 in the morning, playing in typical English festival weather — cold, dark and wet. As the centerpiece of their show, Tommy was already teetering on its last, played-out legs. And we've recently been blessed with an expanded CD reissue of the group's definitive concert document, Live at Leeds, taped just six months before this show. So ask yourself: How much Who is too much? Is this excavation of their IOW '70 show — Tommy, warts and all — necessary? Yeah, if only for the white-riot theater of "Young Man Blues" (particularly the band's astounding staccato convulsions in the midsection); the rare, live reading of Pete Townshend's wonderful hymn to self-doubt, "I Don't Even Know Myself"; and the raw, glowing power of "Naked Eye." As Townshend tartly remarks early in the set, "Smile, ya buggers. Pretend it's Christmas." And treat yourself.

Listening to The Rock & Roll Circus on CD spares you the pain of watching Mick Jagger prance around in ringmaster's gear and seeing the death-mask pallor of Brian Jones' face. But then you miss out on riveting eyefuls of Taj Mahal — a vision of blackoutlaw cool amid the lily-white parade of British rock royalty — and an early, surprisingly grungy Jethro Tull. There's a reason why the Rolling Stones stuffed this 1968 TV show into the can after filming: The Who blew 'em off the soundstage. Get the video and see for yourself.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Road to Nowhere”

    Talking Heads | 1985

    A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

    More Song Stories entries »