The contemporary version of the Who could easily be dismissed as silly dino-rock, with the curse of hoping to “die before they get old” hanging over as a pathetically ironic boast. Yet as this film shows, Msrs. Daltrey and Townshend remain as fiery and determined as ever, opening up in this film (and on their last record) in a way that they’ve not done in decades.
The historical footage shown is absolutely top notch, many of it culled from bootleg sources. In a remarkable turn of events, the band granted an amnesty to fans to provide much of the (surreptitiously collected) material, allowing for a tremendous diversity of never before seen footage. What shines through is the sheer brilliance of this band as a live act, straight through to this millennium with their show-stopping performance at the 9/11 tribute.
Interviews with a number of contemporaries do a nice job of providing additional context, and the caustic comments from the likes of Noel Gallagher do much to liven up the talking head interviews. Still, it’s hearing from Daltrey (the gruff leader) and the always erudite and compelling Townshend that gives a warts-and-all look at this band. This is no hagiography, and the film is adept at showing the many bumps in the road. Still, this journey that the band has undertaking has proven to be quite an Amazing one, and this documentary does justice to this remarkable run.