A December 1977 concert from Kilburn, London, considered a holy grail by Who fans, was a somewhat ambivalent experience for the band, according to frontman Roger Daltrey.
“I just remember it was kind of a weird day,” Daltrey tells Billboard.com about the Gaumont State Theatre show, which was filmed for Jeff Stein’s documentary “The Kids Are Alright” and is being released in its entirety tomorrow (Nov. 18) on the DVD “The Who at Kilburn 1977. “We did the show in the afternoon, which is not the best time of day to be on form, especially for (drummer) Keith Moon.”
Though Who biographer Johnny Black has called the concert “disastrous,” Daltrey says the he “always thought it was quite a good show, but I remember that Pete (Townshend) at the time wasn’t very happy with it, and I never quite figured why. I’ll have to buy the DVD and find out, I guess.” During the concert a clearly upset Townshend tells the somewhat unruly crowd that, “There’s a guitar up here if any big mouth f*cking little git wants to take it from me.”
The Kilburn show was the second to last the Who played with Moon before his death on Sept. 7, 1978. The group played another London show, on May 25 of that year, at Shepperton Studios, also for the “The Kids are Alright.” Daltrey has said that Moon was not in good shape for either taping and that seeing the footage while the documentary was being assembled had a profound effect on the drummer.
In addition the Kilburn show, the new DVD also includes a never-before-seen Dec. 14, 1969, concert from the London Coliseum, which purports to be the first-ever officially recorded live performance of the rock opera “Tommy.”
Daltrey and Townshend, meanwhile, are gearing up to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 Kennedy Center Honors, which will take place Dec. 7 in Washington, D.C. “It really is an honor indeed,” Daltrey says. “Coming from where we come from, being totally inspired by American music at such a young age and now being honored by the country that inspired me, it’s unbelievable.”