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DVD Review: ‘Sensation: The Story of Tommy’

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The Who is about to release a documentary called Sensation: The Story of Tommy. A fascinating documentary on the making of the rock opera Tommy with in-depth interviews with Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, it adds extra material to a BBC documentary of the same name. It is not for the faint of hear,t and one could say it goes on just a tad too long.The Who: Sensation

Who-philes will eat this up, however, and the insight into the mind of Townshend is both fascinating and slightly creepy. It is clear he was not really of a right mind when writing the rock opera, and he was addled with guilt, heavy drugs, and his past. The fact that the band went along with his vision shows what visionaries they all were. Their transition from pop stalwarts to a proper rock band was painful and not at all assured.

The fact that Tommy has endured as a classic piece of rock history demonstrates how all the work that went into it paid off. The rock opera is a timeless classic that does not age with the decades.

The documentary includes too-brief interviews with The Who’s late bassist Entwhistle, as well as some interesting insight into the art of the album. Townshend worked closely with his cover artist and even talked to him about the music before his band-mates. The explanation of the process of making a “concept album” from the band lends a bit of insight into what a complicated process it ended up being in the end. And it cannot be stressed what a risk it was for the band.

Bonus material includes eight songs from the rock opera as well as an interview from German TV from the back in the day.

While this documentary might not be for everyone it is a fascinating insight into one of the biggest bands of the 60s and how they evolved as a group.

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