Originally filmed in December 1968, "The Rock and Roll Circus" was originally intended to be released as a television special. The special was filmed over two nights and featured not only ... See full summary »
Through concert performances and interviews, this film offers us an "inside look" at this famous rock group, "The Who". It captures their zany craziness and outrageous antics from the initial formation of the group to its major hit "Who Are You", and features the last performance of drummer keith Moon just prior to his death.Written by
Concorde - New Horizons (with permission).
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. See more »
Rick Danko of The Band is listed in the end credits as appearing in the film, even though his segment was deleted from the final print. See more »
At the end of the opening "Smothers Brothers" clip where The Who demolish their equipment, Keith Moon's bass drum with the Who logo on it explodes, and the very same logo spirals forward to the middle of the screen. Then the words of the title of the film pop up from the bottom of the screen while Pete Townshend smashes Tommy Smothers' acoustic guitar. See more »
The DVD release also features alternate angle footage of the Shepperton Studios performances. See more »
This is THE must see rock film. I can't think of any others that compare. The Stones' `Gimme Shelter' is great for reasons quite different than the music contained therein (of which the live material isn't very good). `Monterey Pop,' which features the Who, is certainly my favorite concert film from the era because of the culture it captured on its frames, as well as the eclecticism. The Hendrix performance alone makes that event historic. But the `Monterey' film is very passive & observational. In one sense, that is why I adore it so much, in another, more intellectual sense, it is lacking a philosophy about the material it depicts. I suppose the philosophy is really to document & be intentionally unobtrusive (to the viewers & actual subjects), which in my opinion is really a type of non-philosophy. The Kids Are Alright, however, epitomizes a certain condensed, irreverent and bombastic type of rock and roll that Pete Townshend has always been the ideal spokesman for. This is perhaps the only rock and roll film that is solely about the raw power and visceral effects of this music. Its primary goal is to capture that essence and to show you - not tell you - that the Who were the greatest rock & roll band ever. Of course, this is an age old debate between Stones, Who & Beatles fans. What's the answer?? I don't know as I love them all, and I really don't care either. The ability of this film to make you forget about those other bands, however, is undeniable. Watch this film in the proper setting & you'll be convinced, at least for the moment, that the Who were the best.
`The Kids Are Alright' is not an entirely professional job. Scenes sometimes present themselves through hatchet editing & sloppy placement. It is non-chronological and choppy. Interviews range from nonsensical to pretentious. In the case of Keith Moon, we believe that he never took anything seriously and appears to be caught consistently interchanging the personalities of entirely different people. Roger Daltry has surprisingly very, very little to say. John Entwistle - not as surprisingly - has even less to say & remains in the shadows throughout. But what would otherwise be considered technical movie shortcomings are exactly what the Who excel in; the texture of this film is much like the Who's music itself and therefore highly appropriate. This is why we're only treated to flashes of seriousness before the façades are dropped and the kinetic circus begins anew. While bits & pieces of the Who dynamic can perhaps be articulated, the band's aura existed first & foremost in their music and physical energy (there is a great clip of Townshend patiently listening to the intricate analysis of his music by a German television rock critic. After the critic finishes his exhaustive treatise, Townshend mulls over his possible answer for a moment & finally responds, `yeah.'). The intellectualism, rebellion, trendiness, wildness and downright punk-ishness of the Who is all captured here in its full Moon Era glory.
I would definitely encourage younger music lovers & musicians to watch this, draw comparisons & ponder the direction rock and roll has taken. Is the Dave Matthews Band our generation's answer to the Who? If it is, please wake me when the funeral for rock has ended so we can start over again, thank you very much.
Until just recently, I didn't realize that the `Baba O'Reilly' and `Won't Get Fooled Again' performances were Moon's last with the band. The director actually had the Who perform these especially for this film as he was unable to find `definitive' versions of the songs in the Who film archive. They are indeed amazing.downright sizzling, actually. Quintessential Who.
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