THE WHO -- Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 (Columbia/Legacy)

Who fans have a lot to be happy about these days. The group's entire catalog on compact disc is being upgraded. The three remaining members of the band are in the midst of a US tour performing Quadrophenia. Now the band's legendary 1970 performance at the Isle of Wight festival is available commercially for the first time on compact disc. Recorded approximately six months after the famous Leeds concert, this is one of the first three titles in a new series from Legacy entitled Live From the Vaults.

Eagerly anticipated by collectors, the new double-CD contains almost two full hours of previously unreleased music--including the only live version of Tommy by the original band. The Who had been performing Tommy for quite some time before this show. This particular performance was the culmination of months of touring for the band. In addition to several Who classics and the majority of Tommy, the Isle of Wight show saw the debut of 'new' songs like "Water" and "Naked Eye."

The 20-page booklet contains photos from the concert, plus liner notes by Michael Heatley and Ted Tuksa. Comparisons will no doubt be made between this and the band's classic Live at Leeds--once called "the greatest live album of all time." In terms of sound quality, it's quite good--just a notch below the new Leeds CD. Performance wise, it's excellent--possibly even better than Leeds. The band was definitely on for this one. This CD is essential for all Who fans.

© 1996 Steve Marshall