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DVD review: The Who's 'Quadrophenia: Live in London'

The Who have released a 2 cd set and dvd of their 2013 "Quadrophenia" tour.
Universal Music Group/Used with Permission

When The Who took to the road in 2012 for a tour featuring a full run through of their landmark 1973 double rock opera Quadrophenia, fans rejoiced. While only a pair of the album's songs, "The Real Me" and "Reign O'er Me", became hits, the album has gone on to be regarded by fans and critics as one of The Who's finest efforts, popping up on numerous "Greatest Albums of All-Time" lists. Now fans who want to relive the 2012 "Quadrophenia and More" tour or who missed out on seeing The Who in their city get their chance with the release of Quadrophenia: Live in London as a two-disc audio set and also as a concert dvd.

Filmed July 8, 2013 at London's iconic Wembley Arena, Quadrophenia: Live in London features original band members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, along with Simon Townshend on rhythm guitar, Scott Devours, who replaced Zak Starkey for the final leg of the tour, on drums, and long-time collaborator Pino Palladino on bass. Musically, the band is as tight as it has been in years, with Townshend and Daltrey both seeming invigorated by performing the rock opera as a solid block.

They even managed to get original band members Keith Moon and Jon Entwistle involved by way of the show's video screens. Entwistle pops onto the screen for an electric bass solo during "5:15", while Moon appears on screen to provide his signature vocals for "Bell Boy".

The picture quality on the video is stunning. Our review copy was of the DVD version and, considering how well our blu-ray player converted it, we can only imagine how much the blu-ray edition itself must pop. The lighting and camera work are stunning and the choice to intersperse the video playing behind the band full-screen at intervals was welcome.

The only issue we had with the DVD version was the decision to include the band's encore, a six song greatest hits collection consisting of "Who Are You", "You Better You Bet", "Pinball Wizard", "Baba O'Reilly", "Won't Get Fooled Again", and "Tea & Theatre", to the bonus features section. While there's an argument to be made for the purists who just want Quadrophenia to have that option, it would be nice to be able to get the full concert in as immersive an experience as possible without being booted back to a menu to get the encore.

But that's a minor complaint on what is by every other account a nearly flawless product. The video and audio quality are top notch, the camera work is as good as any concert DVD you'll see and, most importantly, the band seemed invigorated and on top of their game.

If you'd like to pick up Quadrophenia: Live in London, you have multiple ways to do it. In addition to the DVD, the show is also available on Blu-Ray, as a 2-CD set for those who just want audio, and in a Super Deluxe Box Set that includes a collector's tin, both the DVD and Blu-Ray editions of the video, A Blu-Ray audio mix of the original Quadrophenia album, and a book with photos and liner notes.