Latest reviews

Live Review

The Who Turn 50 With Star-Studded Birthday Tribute

November 12, 2014

The Who kick-started their 50th anniversary celebrations with a star-studded tribute concert in London last night, with Eddie Vedder, Liam Gallagher and Geddy Lee among those paying homage. The concert – held at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire...

Album Review

Tommy: Super Deluxe Box Set

November 12, 2013

As the first popular "rock opera," Tommy has plenty to answer for. But measured against pale 21st-century Broadway offspring, the Who's magnum opus still rules. Besides an impressive book, the news on this box is a virtually complete set of Pete Townshend...

Album Review

Quadrophenia: The Director's Cut (Reissue)

November 24, 2011

Tommy was first. The Who's 1969 opera legitimized the improbable union of rock abandon and extended narrative, and marked guitarist Pete Townshend's great leap forward as a composer and as his band's conceptual general. But Quadrophenia, released in 1973,...

Album Review

Endless Wire

November 16, 2006

The Who now playing that song every night are only half the legend that recorded it forty-one years ago: Daltrey and guitarist-songwriter Pete Townshend, plus a strong, attuned crew of juniors. But the Two are more of a Who in fight and rapport than anything...

Album Review

Tommy (Deluxe Edition)

January 22, 2004

Rock opera may seem like a laughable concept these days, but when the Who brought it to the world via Tommy in 1969, it was an unmatched thrill. Almost thirty-five years later, this classic-rock touchstone still has the power to enthrall. Sure, the story...

Album Review

My Generation: Deluxe Edition

September 4, 2002

In their youth, before the operas and the arenas, the Who were an electric-soul band. Maximum R&B: That's what they called the music on that famous Marquee Club poster, and they meant it literally. On the original 1965 U.K. and '66 U.S. versions of...

Album Review

Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970

December 26, 1996
Not Rated

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...

Album Review

Thirty Years of Maximum R&B

September 8, 1994

Classic rock radio has distorted the histories of most of the bands it features by reducing their output to a handful of tracks played ad nauseam. The Who's catalog is rich enough to support scores of successful anthologies, official and bootleg, laced...

Album Review

Who's Last

February 28, 1985

With Keith Moon on drums, the Who was one of the most exciting live acts in rock history. With ex-Small Faces drummer Kenney Jones slotted into the band after Moon's death in 1978, it became a professional touring unit — still capable of considerable...

Album Review

Face Dances

May 14, 1981

The cover looks sort of like the Rolling Stones' Emotional Rescue and even the title feels slightly off. Not that the Who hasn't used masks as themes or images before – a good half of their work can be summed up by Kurt Vonnegut's line that we are...

Album Review

Who Are You

October 19, 1978
Not Rated

This is by no means a great record, but despite the doubt, guilt, worry and self-laceration in almost every song, it's a strangely confident one. Again and again, the persona is that of the cripple, the victim of disaster, but Who Are You is not the work...

Album Review

Live at Hull 1970

February 13, 2013

Live at Leeds, arguably the best live rock LP ever made, could have been called Live at Hull. The night after the Leeds show, the Who recorded virtually the same songs with matching fury at Hull City Hall. Audio glitches meant the tapes were not used....

Album Review

The Who Sell Out (Deluxe Edition)

June 1, 2009

Designed to replicate England's teen-targeted pirate radio stations, this 1967 masterpiece is the rock equivalent of Andy Warhol's soup cans. Kitschy jingles and the Who's fake commercials for real products mix with pop tunes about the anxieties of youth...

Album Review

Then And Now: 1964-2004

April 19, 2004

Pete Townshend wrote his most famous lyric – "Hope I die before I get old" – in 1965, allegedly on the very day he turned twenty: May 19th. Thirty-nine years later, "My Generation" remains rock's greatest fuck you song, and Townshend is not...

Album Review

Live at the Royal Albert Hall

July 15, 2003

A few years back, The Who — guitarist Pete Townshend, singer Roger Daltrey and bassist John Entwistle — hit the road accompanied only by drummer Zak Starkey and keyboardist Rabbit Bundrick. The results were some of the most propulsive shows...

Album Review

BBC Sessions

March 16, 2000

This compilation culls eight years of live in-studio performances for the BBC, broken up with introductions by the smooth and hearty Beeb announcers. The early Who romp through covers with breathtaking confidence — there's nothing sedulous about...

Album Review

A Quick One (Happy Jack)

October 5, 1995

The Who weren't always a nostalgia act or merely makers of pleasant Broadway fodder. Their tough, early tracks are a key punk resource, so it hardly matters that they were forever doomed to third place behind the Beatles and the Stones in the British-pop...

Album Review

Join Together

May 17, 1990

Join Together is the inevitable live-album curtain call designed to squeeze the last dollar out of the Who's twenty-fifth-anniversary tour. The package, which includes a handy order form for T-shirts and posters, could have been called The Who Sell Out,...

Album Review

It's Hard

September 30, 1982

It figures. Just when the Who had ceased to matter much — the band members having channeled a lot of their power and volatility and commitment into solo careers, employing the Who chiefly as a vehicle to take a greatest-hits revue on the road —...

Album Review

The Kids Are Alright

August 23, 1979
Not Rated

How could the Who have released an album called The Kids Are Alright without including the original version of the song of the same name? Long unavailable, appearing only on the British pressings of the Who's first album, it featured a broken, disorienting...