The band's performance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967) ends with "My Generation" and their trademark wrecking of their equipment - the climax being the explosion of the drum kit. During rehearsal, Keith Moon ("Patent British Exploding Drummer") had persuaded stage hands to load more flash powder into the kit than usual (possibly by bribery) so that when the explosion occurred at the very end of the performance, it was so big that it temporarily blinded the TV cameras and injured the rest of the band. Singer Roger Daltrey was deaf for a long period after the show, Moon was cut on the arm by a cymbal, and guitarist Pete Townshend's hair was singed - he can be seen in the film with smoke coming from his head. Townshend later attributed his partial hearing loss to the incident, though years of extreme on-stage sound levels are probably more to blame. Backstage, other guests of the show were also affected: Bette Davis fainted into Mickey Rooney's arms.
In addition to compiling rare clips, Jeff Stein arranged for The Who to film a concert for invited fans. The show, performed at Shepperton Film Studios in London on 25 May 1978, turned out to be Keith Moon's last concert with The Who before his death on 7 September at the age of 32.
Director Jeff Stein had to talk The Who into performing live again for the new footage shot for the film in 1977 and '78 (The '77 footage ended up not being used except for very brief excerpts). The band conceded, but after turning in an unsatisfactory performance of their show closer "Won't Get Fooled Again" at the second filming, Stein had to coax a very reluctant Pete Townshend into going back out to perform a more "definitive" version of the song so they'd have a better end to the film.