Warner Music Vision 034970500-2
Concert versions of definitive rock operas
From Record Collector, January 2006
During the visual commentary for Tommy, Pete Townshend admits that the Who reformed in 1989 for money: very big money. He had hearing difficulties; Keith Moon had died, and he and Roger Daltrey were not the best of mates, but a $75m payoff spurred them on. The Who had never reached such heights before, which came from the huge stadium tours available to major rock bands together with the profits from sponsorship and merchandising.
The Who performed their 20-year-old album, Tommy, in concert at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles with Elton John recreating his film role for Pinball Wizard, Phil Collins as the paedophiliac Uncle Ernie, Billy Idol as the brutal Cousin Kevin, Steve Winwood as the Preacher (from Blind Faith to blind faith, as it happens) and, in a performance as outlandish as Tina Turner’s, Patti LaBelle as the Acid Queen. (Elton doesn’t perform in those enormous platform shoes which somehow ended up in the possession of Grimms as I remember Zoot Money and Neil Innes sitting on them to perform a song in Liverpool!)