Review of The Who: Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who DVD
Universal Pictures
The Who: Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who

Reviewed by Una Persson



et’s face it: there’s very little here that the true Who fan will find new, surprising or illuminating. Also, the bar on Who documentaries had already been set pretty damn high with “The Kids Are Alright,” which will always be the authoritative, the original, and still the best.

That said, however, “Amazing Journey” is, well, an amazing journey. Paul Crowder, best known for his editing work on Stacy Peralta's skateboarding documentary, “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” co-directed with legendary rock archivist Murray Lerner (of “Festival” fame and, more recently, the Dylan at Newport doc “The Other Side of the Mirror”). Spanning four decades, this authorized and authoritative anthology of the Who relives their journey from humble beginnings to their meteoric rise to the status of rock legends. Filled with all-new – and surprisingly candid – interviews with band members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend and other music icons Sting, the Edge of U2, Eddie Vedder and more, there’s also plenty of rare and unreleased concert footage (in 5.1 surround sound).

This is a two-film DVD set, though. “Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who” is the standard, very well done rock band documentary with all the features mentioned above.

"Six Quick Ones" is this set’s special sauce. It features four individual mini-films on each band member and what they brought to the mix. “Who Art You?” is a look at the band’s visual and stylistic impact. “Who’s Back” is legendary filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker’s (“Monterey Pop,” “Don’t Look Back”) 2003 filming of the Who in the studio recording “Real Good Looking Boy.” And there’s more: “The Scrapbook” looks at and tells the story of the 1979 Cincinnati concert and the ensuing aftermath, a legal controversy surrounding the band's first record deal, Pete Townshend on writing “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” among other things. And, perhaps the best thing about this entire two-film set, there’s “The High Numbers at the Railway Hotel,” a long-lost film shot in 1964 by managers Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert of one of the earliest versions of the band that would become the Who.

Overall, though, it feels very much like a made-for-VH1 movie (fitting that it premiered on that channel even before the DVD set was available for purchase). It’s getting three and a half stars for the “Six Quick Ones” disc, the High Numbers material and because, hey, it’s the Who. The recently discovered “Live at Leeds” film footage from 1970 is another story…I’m already counting the days for that one!

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