Pete Townshend - guitar, vocals; Roger Daltrey - vocals; John Entwistle - bass; Keith Moon - drums
This recording captures much of the third night of a weeklong engagement of The Who performing their rock opera Tommy at the Fillmore East, with Bay Area band AUM opening, followed by fellow Brits King Crimson.
Following the band intro, they kick the show off with John Entwistle's "Heaven and Hell," their standard opener at the time. "I Can't Explain" and "Fortune Teller" hark back to older times, as does "Young Man Blues," but all three are played with a renewed ferocity, not apparent on the studio recordings.
Thundering bass and drumming that's on the verge of being out of control combine with Townshend's power chords to create a sound that is unmistakably The Who. It's remarkable that only three musicians can create such a powerful sound, particularly on the latter song. Following a monologue by Townshend, preparing the audience for the long haul of their new rock opera, Tommy, they launch into a condensed version of the "Overture." Although shorter than usual, the anchoring musical themes of the piece are introduced before the storyline begins with "It's A Boy."
The highlight of what exists here from the opera is probably "Sparks," where the band really cuts loose into a pulverizing jam. Townshend's guitar howls through the unique powerhouse rhythms created by Entwistle and Moon. The opera continues with the bluesy "Eyesight To The Blind" which segues into "Christmas" as the first tape runs out. Unfortunately, the recording misses most of the rest of Tommy, resuming as they are reaching the end of "See Me Feel Me" coda's finale sequence.
The band ends the show with the double whammy of "Summertime Blues" followed by an unusually slow-paced "Shakin' All Over" that features themes from several other songs drifting in and out, including "Smokestack Lightning."