The Who

The Kids Are Alright

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Like the film itself, the soundtrack to the Who's Kids Are Alright documentary is frustrating even as it pleases, since it falls short of being definitive. If the film was supposed to explain the excitement and history of the Who, tracing their evolution from mod superstars to arena rock gods, it somehow failed by just not quite gelling. Similarly, the soundtrack attempts to gather a bunch of live rarities, thereby capturing the band at the peak of their powers, but it falls a little bit short of the mark by hopping all over the place chronologically, adding a couple of studio cuts (including live-in-the-studio tracks), along the way. So, you can view this as a missed opportunity or treasure what's here -- and, really, the latter is the preferred method of listening to this album, since there is a lot to treasure here. There's the epochal performance of "My Generation" from the 1967 Smothers Brothers show, three performances from Woodstock, terrific television performances of "Magic Bus" and "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere," a blistering "Young Man Blues," and the definitive performance of "A Quick One, While He's Away," the version they played at the Rolling Stones' Rock & Roll Circus -- a performance so good that, according to legend, it's the reason why the Stones shelved the show for 20 years, since the Who just left them in the dust (even if it's not true, it sure sounds plausible, based on this performance). Then, there are some really fine latter-day versions of "My Wife," "Baba O'Riley," and "Won't Get Fooled Again," along with a medley of "Join Together/Roadrunner/My Generation Blues" from 1975, that may not be era-defining, like those mentioned above, but they're pretty damn great all the same (as is "Long Live Rock," Townshend's best Chuck Berry homage and one of the few songs to capture what rock was all about in the '70s and beyond). So, it's a bit too haphazard to really be definitive, but the Who were always a bit haphazard, and if you love them, that's something you love about them. And, in turn, it's hard not to love this album, if you love them. (At the very least, you have to love the cover, which is not just the best portrait of the Who, it's one of the iconic images of rock history.)

blue highlight denotes track pick