The Who - Listening To You

Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970

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Details At A Glance

Category Music Theatrical Trailer(s) No
Rating Other Trailer(s) No
Year Released 1996 Commentary Tracks No
Running Time 85:10 minutes Other Extras Menu Audio
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,3,4,5,6 Director Murray Lerner
Warner Vision
Warner Vision
Starring Roger Daltrey
John Entwistle
Keith Moon
Pete Townshend
Case Super Jewel
RPI $39.95 Music The Who

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None Dolby Digital None
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Linear PCM 48/16 2.0, 1536 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio Full Frame
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, after credits

Plot Synopsis

    How about this for a bill: Chicago, Melanie, Procol Harum, The Doors, Ten Years After, Joni Mitchell, Sly and The Family Stone, Free, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jethro Tull, Joan Baez, The Moody Blues and some band by the name of The Who. How much do you reckon that little gig cost? How about $2.50 for the first three, $6 for the next six and The Who and $6 for the rest, or a total of $9 for a ticket to the whole three day weekend! Who says the seventies did not rock? It is very understandable why 600,000 ended up attending this little gathering on the Isle of Wight on the weekend of 28th August, 1970. Out of that gathering was spawned an almost legend about the performance of The Who, who took to the stage at 2 a.m. on 29th August and proceeded to produce arguably the greatest live performance of their career. This is a condensed version of that performance.

    The selection of songs from that little morning gig almost dead on thirty years ago is:

    and a significant chunk from the rock opera Tommy:     One more does one need to say? One of the greatest bands of the rock and roll era, performing some of their greatest work at one of the greatest rock festivals ever held. If this does not make an impression on you, then nothing will.

Transfer Quality


    Okay, it is thirty years old and it was shot in the wee hours of the second day of a three day rock and roll festival. You were not really expecting anything superb in the way of a transfer, were you?

    The transfer is presented in Full Frame format and is of course not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer displays just about every flaw that a concert video can display. Lack of detail, lack of clarity, plenty of grain, lack of decent shadow detail (you really cannot ignore the fact that at times nearly all of Pete Townshend's head is lost in the night), loss of focus, extreme concert lighting washing out the colours, undersaturation of colours, oversaturation of colours - is there anything I might have forgotten here? Oh, low level noise was not much of an issue here. Despite all that, this has probably never looked as good as it does here, and nothing can be done about sub-standard thirty year old source material. It is transferred as well as we could expect short of inventing time travel.

    You may have gathered that there is a degree of inconsistency in the video transfer as far as colours are concerned. At times they are very good, at times they are very rich in tone and at others they are sadly lacking in any sort of tone. Did it really bother me? Not in the slightest.

    There are no apparent MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There are no apparent film-to-video artefacts in the transfer. There are plenty of film artefacts in the transfer, but what would you expect from a thirty year old film?

    From a purely technical point of view, this is a less than decent video transfer but that is really all due to problems inherent in the source material. Beyond that, does it really make that much difference here? After all, you can at least see the show and at the end of the day the music is the important thing - and what music it is!


    There is just a sole audio track on the DVD, an English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 soundtrack. Fortunately it is a good one - or at least as good as we can expect from a thirty year old recording.

    The vocals were generally clear and easy to understand throughout the soundtrack.

    There did not appear to be any problems with audio sync in the transfer.

    There really is not much wrong with the soundtrack, and it really presents well when you screw the volume control up somewhat and just blast the neighbours out with a real rock and roll blast. You can forget the surround channels and the bass channel here. What we get is very much CD-style sound that gloriously captures The Who in full flight. I guess the only complaint here is why we did not get a Dolby Digital 5.1 remaster, or even better a DTS 5.1 soundtrack. Now that would be worth hearing!


    Pretty much nada is the go here.


    Some audio enhancement is your lot here.


    A very brief insert in the super jewel case that is completely inadequate for the stature of the event and the performance.

R4 vs R1

    As far as can be ascertained this is identical in content to the Region 1 version and therefore this Region 4 PAL version would be the version of choice.


    The Who-Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970 is a fabulous concert from one of the great bands of the rock and roll era. Fans should need no encouragement to get this, and anyone with an interest in great rock and roll should add this one to their collection. Do not expect great video: this is a definite case where you forget the inherent video faults and just enjoy the show.

    A good video transfer of some inadequate source material.

    A good audio transfer.

    A disappointingly missing-in-action extras package.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
29th July 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL