While the story of The Who was chronicled quite well by Jeff Stein in his classic film The Kids Are Alright, the movie ended in 1978. Although the film was released in 1979, Stein decided not to touch on the death of Keith Moon and instead ended with a blistering live take of the band performing “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, which was shot just for the film in 1978 and was the last time Moon sat at the drums for a Who performance. We are left with the powerful image of The Who as a live band and, at that time, they were the most enduring band from the British Invasion to still have the original line-up intact.
This image was a strong one but, in reality, the story of The Who was not even half over. Moon had died in 1978 (many months before The Kids Are Alright debuted in June of 1979) and, when the film opened, the band was struggling with his loss and where to take the band next weighed heavily on the band members, especially Pete Townshend.
So, 28 years after The Kids Are Alright premiered, another film, Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who (which comes out on DVD November 6), delves into the entire career of the band and is more in-depth than The Kids Are Alright. (This is not a knock of the latter, as it is one of the best rock films ever. The story just continued.)
Amazing Journey paints an honest picture of The Who and how the band evolved from the earliest days - when Roger Daltrey led the band - of doing raw and powerful covers of R&B and Motown tracks to becoming - through the emergence of Townshend from guitarist to becoming one of the most introspective and complex songwriters and composers ever - the best live band in rock.
The complex relationship between band members is looked back on as Daltrey remembers that his role as leader in the early days of the band was taken away due to an after show punch-fest with Moon, which saw Daltrey temporarily sacked from the band, only to be let back in on a probational basis. Daltrey felt this demotion for a few years, until the band recorded Tommy and he found himself again a main focus (something that he and Townshend were always competing for on stage) and indispensable to the band.