During their prime years from roughly 1967 to 1978, The Who were the greatest live rock and roll band in the world. Even now, when measured strictly on the merits of their performances during this singularly amazing run – and with all due respect to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, or the Stones (at least on a good night) – a legitimate case can be made that The Who were in fact the best ever.
The blistering performance captured on Eagle Rock's newly restored, digitally cleaned up concert DVD The Who Live In Texas '75 backs this claim up too.
The cleanup job (by longtime Who collaborator Jon Astley) isn't perfect by any means. The 35-year-old concert film is still pretty dark and a bit grainy in places. There are also a few spots where the slow-motion stop and start effects distract from the actual performance to such a point that they eventually become pretty irritating. This is most painfully true during "Magic Bus," where a silly dance-jig from Pete Townshend is relentlessly played backwards and forwards long after its initial novelty has worn out its welcome.
But the sound is better than it has any right to be, and represents a vast improvement over previous versions of this concert available over the years on bootlegs. The separation here is in fact pretty remarkable when you take into account that this is The Who, a band most famous for creating unhinged chaos onstage.
John Entwistle's amazing bass runs are heard just as clearly in the mix here as Pete Townshend's slash-and-burn power chords. Roger Daltrey's vocals are front and center where they belong, and Keith Moon's drums are captured in all of their wildest over-the-top excess.
The Who's formidable reputation as a live concert act precedes this DVD of course, and as a definitive concert film document, Live In Texas '75 shouldn't be mistaken for something as essential as Live At The Isle Of Wight '70. Together with what many regard as the greatest live album ever made, The Who Live At Leeds, that DVD remains the final exclamation point in any argument as to just "who" really is rock's greatest live band ever.