This week’s column kicks off with my review of The Who performing “Tommy” live for a British charity. A Ricky Nelson hits CD and a DVD about hit-making, long-touring Chicago finishes things up.
‘Tommy-Live At The Royal Albert Hall,’ The Who (Eagle Rock Entertainment, ☆☆☆☆1/2)
This Oct. 13 release is available in DVD, Blu-Ray, two-CD and three-LP formats. This April 2017 show for Teenage Cancer Trust is “the first ever live performance by The Who of “Tommy” in its entirety.”
The masterful performance by the original four members at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 doesn’t include every song, but told the story. This show features the expanded Who, with vocalist Roger Daltrey and guitarist/vocalist/composer Pete Townshend abetted by drummer Zak Starkey (who learned a lot from “Uncle Keith” in his youth), guitarist/backing singer Simon Townshend, bassist/backing singer Jon Button, musical director/keyboardist/backing singer Frank Simes, keyboardist/backing singer Loren Gold and keyboardist/backing singer John Corey. The original album’s overdubs are taken care of, with keyboards taking the place of Entwhistle’s French horn.
Daltrey’s voice is still strong on “Tommy” and most encore songs, Townshend’s sounds strained at times. However, Who fans and those who want a live version of the rock opera will enjoy these packages.
‘ICON,’ Ricky Nelson (Capitol/Universal Music Enterprises, ☆☆☆☆)
I recently ordered this CD to replace one that somehow disappeared when I traded my Jeep in a few years ago. It has 11 songs, which is a few short of that recording’s amount. Favorites include “Stood Up,” “Hello Mary Lou,” “Travelin’ Man,” “Be Bop Baby” and “Lonesome Town.”
Missing in action are “I’m Walkin’,” “My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It,” “Waiting In School” and a few others.
In other words, this CD is enjoyable, just not as well-rounded as its predecessor.
‘Now More Than Ever-The History Of Chicago,’ Chicago (Filmrise/MVDvisual,☆☆☆☆)
This Oct. 13 DVD was produced by members of the band Chicago. Their career spans from the late 1960s to the present day with over 100 million records sold. They began and recorded their first album as Chicago Transit Authority, and have had many personnel shake-ups (original guitarist/vocalist Terry Kath passed in 1978, recent Coast visitor bassist/vocalist Peter Cetera left in the 1980s, among others). Their period of greatest success was the 1970s, but they have had hits in other time periods and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.
Fans and those curious about the premier American “horn band” will want to snag this one!
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org