The Who perform the scores with additional musicians and two guest vocalists – Billy Idol returns for the Ace Face and P.J. Proby plays an ageing rocker. Considering the immensity of the project, I would love to know how the mercurial Proby was selected and of the contingency plans if he had walked out before a performance. Everything worked out fine but I do wonder about his casting as his diction is wayward. On the other hand, no matter how raucous Roger Daltrey becomes, you can always make out the words.
Pete Townshend plays an acoustic guitar during Quadrophenia and he retains it for the encore which includes a stripped-down Won’t Get Fooled Again. It is great to see the 50-somethings Daltrey and Townshend sharing a mike for this song of youthful rebellion. Daltrey tempts Townshend to smash his guitar and when he refuses, Daltrey says, “We can’t afford to do it now.”
I am well used to commentaries by critics and participants but the 3 DVD set includes something that I haven’t seen before. When you activate the commentary, Daltrey and Townshend pop up on the screen over the action and start talking. I found it rather irritating and would have preferred an audio commentary with no additional visuals, or separate interviews as DVD extras. Even better would be buttons that would enable you to have the commentary in any form you wished.
All in all, I found the total playing time to be around ten hours, plus a selection of still photographs from Tommy. The package includes an ad for the next project a DVD history, Who’s Still Who, in autumn 2006. The circus never ends.