Classic Albums

The Who - Who's Next

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

Category Music Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1999 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 60:10 minutes Other Extras Discography
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director Bob Smeaton

Warner Vision Australia
Starring Roger Daltrey
John Entwistle
Keith Moon
Pete Townshend
Case Amaray
RRP $39.95 Music The Who

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None Dolby Digital 2.0
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 384 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Ah, my history with this album is a long and chequered one, in as much as for years I could not for the life of me understand why people raved over it. Way back in the days of LPs, I even resorted to actually buying a local pressing of the album purely with the intent of listening to it until the damn thing wore out, in the hopes that I would "get it". Well I never did, until the day I picked up a master pressing of the album in Hong Kong. All of a sudden, like a blinding flash of light going on in the brain, I understood exactly what Pete Townshend was getting at with this magnificent collection of songs as they tumbled off this magnificent piece of vinyl. Hey, I might have been slow but I eventually got it! Whilst I would not consider this to be one of the greatest albums of the rock and roll era, there is no doubt that it represented pretty much the pinnacle of The Who as a group. Given the influential nature of the band, it therefore deserves status as a Classic Album.

    Of course, it too had a difficult gestation, in this case more to do with the fact that no one seemed to understand what Pete Townshend was trying to say with his project known as Lifehouse. It was supposed to be a film, but after much agonizing over the fact that the band did not understand what was trying to be achieved with the film, the project was canned. However, the songs that Pete Townshend had written for the film were some of the best he ever did, and they formed the basis of the album that emerged as Who's Next. and like so many great albums, it had a very troubled gestation and had serious problems even getting released. With the brilliant song writing of Pete Townshend, the driving vocals of Roger Daltrey, the superb bass playing of John Entwistle and the genius of Keith Moon, the album epitomized and immortalized the band at its very best.

    This DVD release from the Classic Albums series two brings together recently recorded interviews with the remaining members of the band and various people associated with the band. These interviews are interspersed with extracts from the music videos of various songs from the band, dating back to two gems from 1965 - I Can't Explain and My Generation. Aside from various video recordings of songs off the album, their is also a wonderful acoustic version of Won't Get Fooled Again done by Pete Townshend.

Transfer Quality


    And this second release from the second series of Classic Albums through my player is remarkably similar to the previous effort - Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    This is so similar to the previous disc that I may as well repeat it verbatim: the more recent, interview portions of the transfer come up extremely well indeed, very sharp and very detailed. The only real difference is that obviously the archival video footage is of even older vintage than the previous effort, and therefore is somewhat more lacking in definition and contrast. But given the essence of the band in performance - they were always a live band rather than a studio band - a lot of allowances can be granted in the quality of the archival footage. The transfer appears to be a little less clear than the previous disc reviewed, but still by no means bad. There did again seem to be problems with low level noise.

    The colours come up very well indeed, nicely vibrant and nicely saturated. This is a very nice looking transfer indeed from the colour point of view and I again have no real complaints whatsoever with it. Naturally, the archival video footage suffers somewhat in colour, to the extent that Behind Blue Eyes is very, very blue and quite oversaturated. It would appear that the source material suffers from some chroma noise. Apart from that clip however, there was no problem with oversaturation at all.

    There did not appear to be any MPEG artefacts in the transfer, nor were film-to-video artefacts a problem. It has to be noted that some of the archival video footage has some pretty bad film artefacts inherent in it, but the DVD transfer itself is remarkably clean of film artefacts present.

    Once again we see the disc being well chaptered, but even better is that the glitch noted on Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell with respect of the ending of the disc is not present here. The credits end and you are taken straight back to the menu. Makes it even more surprising then that the problem exists on the Meat Loaf DVD.


    Not only has the MPEG sound format been jettisoned, but this Dolby Digital soundtrack almost sounds as if it is surround encoded.

    There is only the one audio track on this DVD, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

    The music and vocals came up very clear and understandable in the soundtrack.

    Audio sync did not appear to be a problem with the soundtrack.

    The soundtrack does make some sporadic usage of the rear surround channels, hence the question as to whether it may be surround encoded. The usage is only sporadic, but enough to suggest that my ears are not deceiving me. Whilst I would have again much preferred a 5.1 soundtrack, the resultant sound is very listenable and most enjoyable. The overall soundscape is natural and enough, and once again there is little to complain about here.


    Clearly the improvement in the extras department in series two is a consistent one.


    Exactly the same as for the Meat Loaf DVD, the disc starts up with the licence spiel, accompanied by music, then goes to the menu. Actually not the best looking effort as it appears to suffer from some shimmer that I found noticeable but too distracting.


    A reasonably comprehensive list of the band's major releases, it is quite detailed.

Other titles

    A few pages of advertisements for DVDs that mostly are not available in Region 4, but at least it is something else to look at.

R4 vs R1

    Whilst this has not yet been released in Region 1, the eventual Region 1 release should be identical to this, therefore Region 4 would have to be the marginally better choice, owing to the inherently superior PAL system.


    An informative look at the gestation of the album and the band itself. The quality on offer here is very good in general, and maintains the standards set by Phil Collins - Face Value and Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell.

    A very good video transfer.

    A pretty good audio transfer.

    A decent enough extras package.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris
5th February 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