The Who’s Woodstock performance scared the hell out of me as a kid. Part of it was the ominous tone with which announcer Chip Monck intoned “The Who.” Pete’s Clockwork Orange duds didn’t help much, either, even if they predated Kubrick’s film. Hey, I didn’t know that — I was a kid.
But more than anything what scared me was the menace and intensity with which The Who played: John’s overdriven bass; Keith’s tumbling-down-the-stairs drum fills; Pete’s feedback; and in the middle of it all whirled bare-chested Roger, fringed sleeves dancing in the stage lights. The time was 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning when set opener “Heaven and Hell” shook the crowd awake. That’s probably exactly what it felt like.
Woodstock and Tommy are deeply intertwined in the Who’s story. Pete’s rock opera was do-or-die for the band. They were facing a mountain of debt, record sales were good but not great, etc. The notion of touring a two record set played in its entirety — a song cycle about a traumatized, pinball playing kid turned guru — must have seemed like madness.
But The Who’s sunrise set at Woodstock (and more specifically Wadleigh’s Woodstock footage) cemented their legend. Remarkably, an official release of the band’s complete performance has never been released. You can pick up the whole thing on a bootleg named Woodstock 1969, The Who, though.
Here’s their complete set list, along with where you can find official releases (but don’t forget that bootleg – it’s a Who fan must have). Note that “Naked Eye” is really an embryonic version of what eventually became that cut from Who’s Next. You already know part of this performance from the Woodstock documentary as the scene where Pete abuses his guitar then tosses it to the crowd.
1. Heaven And Hell
2. I Can’t Explain
3. It’s A Boy
5. Amazing Journey (Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
6. Sparks (“Underture” portion available on the Thirty Years of Maximum R&B box set (CD)) (Woodstock: The Director’s Cut, Ultimate Collector’s Edition (DVD))
7. Eyesight To The Blind (Woodstock: The Director’s Cut, Ultimate Collector’s Edition (DVD))
9. Tommie Can You Hear Me
10. Acid Queen
11. Pinball Wizard (Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
12. Abbie Hoffmann Incident
13. Fiddle About
14. There’s A Doctor I’ve Found
15. Go To The Mirror Boy
16. Smash The Mirror
17. I’m Free
18. Tommy’s Holiday Camp
19. We’re Not Gonna Take It (Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm (CD))
20. See Me Feel Me (Woodstock: The Director’s Cut, Ultimate Collector’s Edition (DVD))
21. Summertime Blues (Woodstock: The Director’s Cut, Ultimate Collector’s Edition (DVD))
22. Shakin’ All Over
23. My Generation (Woodstock: The Director’s Cut, Ultimate Collector’s Edition (DVD))
24. Naked Eye (Woodstock: The Director’s Cut, Ultimate Collector’s Edition (DVD))
Your official Woodstock soundtrack song count to date: 128
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Update: On August 2, 2019, Rhino Records released Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive and changed the game forever. With exception to two Hendrix tracks and one Sha Na Na cut, the massive box set contains complete sets from every Woodstock artist—even those long believed lost or never recorded.
Here is The Who ‘s set as it appears on the Back to the Garden archive, including announcements, etc.:
1. Abbie Hoffman – “I think we, like, oughtta do something about John Sinclair”
2. HEAVEN AND HELL
3. I CAN’T EXPLAIN
4. IT’S A BOY
6. AMAZING JOURNEY
8. EYESIGHT TO THE BLIND
10. ACID QUEEN
11. PINBALL WIZARD
12. Abbie Hoffman & Pete Townshend – “Fuck off my fucking stage!”
13. DO YOU THINK IT’S ALRIGHT
14. FIDDLE ABOUT
15. THERE’S A DOCTOR I’VE FOUND
16. GO TO THE MIRROR BOY
17. SMASH THE MIRROR
18. I’M FREE
19. TOMMY’S HOLIDAY CAMP
20. WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT
21. SUMMERTIME BLUES
22. SHAKIN’ ALL OVER
23. MY GENERATION
24. Chip Monck – “Welcome this new day”
Categories: Music, record collecting
I’ve always struggled to like The Who, I’m not sure why. I think it might just be Roger Daltrey. I do now like some of their songs like ‘Substitute’ and ‘I can see for miles’.
Those are two amazing songs — hard not to like them.
On some days, The Who can manage to jostle Bruce out of his (almost) tenured first place. There are so many memories packed into their music, it about makes my head explode. Just now sat, nearly catatonic, in that little time capsule for, I don’t know, ten minutes? Where was I? Oh, yeah, I was going to write a comment about The Who.
We’re two weeks away from a Who show. Full coverage to follow!
Really looking forward to it. I am still crushed that we could not swing seeing them here- had to pick Bruce or the Who. It was very Sophie’s choice.