AMAZING JOURNEY: THE STORY OF THE WHO (DVD)

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 127 minutes
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Even with all the docs, even with the masterpiece “Tommy” still playing on my DVD player, even with the damn good “Quadrophenia” currently on my collection, and even with the absolutely riveting “The Kids are Alright,” there just isn’t enough material about The Who out there in film.

There’s still a rather fantastic story to tell about possibly one of the best rock bands that ever existed, the foursome behind the Who were not just a rock band, they were a spectacle, they were four men who complimented each other immensely on stage with their opposite performing techniques. Even after so many years, they’re still the loudest, the baddest, and the most nihilistic classic rock band who ever existed.

Though not as incredible as “The Kids are Alright,” Paul Crowder’s “Amazing Journey” is still a rather fantastic and energetic story of The Who and how they were formed into this opposite teaming of talented musicians, from their early days as The Detours, friendship between Townshend and Daltrey, and their inevitable struggles along the way with Keith Moon.

Like “The Kids are Alright,” Crowder basically examines the foursome as a more than human rock band whose music was only half of what made them so incredible on stage. Daltrey wailed and twirled his mic, Moon went frantic on the drums, Pete Townshend bounced around on guitar implementing his windmill, and Entwistle was always the cool operator who went to town with the bass.

But Crowder thankfully sets forth to explain much of the band’s legendary quirks, like the origin of their name, and how they began smashing their instruments on stage after a performance that basically every band subsequent their rise to fame has mimicked with little success.

One of the aspects of “Amazing Journey” that topples “The Kids are Alright,” is that the production crew actually examines each individual member and the inherent genius behind them. We’re given an inside glimpse at Daltrey who wanted to be the next Elvis, and felt frustrated at the direction of the band in the early days, there’s a very extended glimpse into Entwistle and his ability to play straight man on stage and still feel like a natural fit for the band, and my two favorite chapters: Moon and Townshend.

Townshend was very much a brilliant music writer along the lines of Lennon who wanted bigger things for the band that were mostly stuck on pop singles, and mod music, and he envisioned the likes of “Tommy,” and “Quadrophenia” and through that attempt for a wider scope of creative music, he gained a sense of alienation from the group. There’s also the madman Keith Moon who was always too much of a wild child for his skin, the one with the tick, bulgy eyes, and mouth agape who was a pure magician with his drums. The drugs took hold, and his ego did the rest, thus was the tragic story of one of the great drummers who ever lived.

“Amazing Journey” is a tight documentary, but a little too polished to really take with spoon fulls, thus I was never overwhelmed as I was with other glimpses into the life of The Who. But the truly wrenching aspect that Crowder takes note of pointing out is the constant criticisms of Townshend and Daltrey continuing on without the other two late members in tow. But in reality, even without Entwistle and Moon, the show must go on for as long as possible, and you have to admire the showmanship of these two musicians.

In the end, “The Kids are Alright” is still the superior documentary on the madness of The Who, but Crowder’s story of the loudest band in the world is in its own right a fantastic exploration of the four young men who simply wanted to rock, and as the years pass, The Who just gets louder and better.



Posted on January 8, 2008 in Reviews by
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