The Who's "Other" Rock Opera Survives in Fine Form

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Roger Daltrey and Pete Towshend on the "Quadrophenia and More" tour.

The Who: Quadrophenia Live in London
Universal CD/DVD, various formats and prices

While it is not their most famous rock opera -- that would be the one with a certain deaf, dumb and blind boy, Pinball Wizard, Acid Queen and good ol' Uncle Ernie -- the Who's Quadrophenia is in many ways the superior work.

In an nutshell, the 1973 double LP told the story of Jimmy, a teen living in mid-'60s London, as he deals with his peers, parents, girlfriend, Mod lifestyle, the cusp of manhood, disillusionment, possible suicide and his future all while suffering from a form of schizophrenia. Composer Pete Townshend imbues Jimmy's condition with personality traits from all four members of the Who, thus the "quadrophenia" of the title.


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Lost '93 Show Reveals "Dio of the Future"

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Photo by Diego Torres Silvestre via Flickr
Note: the above Dio show is not the one depicted in the review.
Dio
Live in London -- Hammersmith Apollo 1993
Eagle Rock Entertainment, 114 min., $14.98 DVD/$19.98 Blu-Ray


This concert film will be something of a lost treasure to Dio fans. Not only has it never actually been released, but it showcases the group's lesser-celebrated mid-to-late-'90s lineup as well as a lot of material from the Strange Highways record, which was something of a departure in Dio's sound.

Ronnie James Dio and drummer Vinny Appice had just finished their second stint with Black Sabbath, recording and touring 1982's Dehumanizer, when Dio decided to put his self-named group back together. The pair added guitarist Tracy G, bassist Jeff Pilson (ex-Dokken, currently of Foreigner) and keyboardist Scott Warren for their 1993 European tour, of which this show at London's famous Hammersmith Apollo was the last stop.

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A Timely Reminder What a Great Band Little Feat Was

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Photo courtesy of Havin' a Ball Productions
Little Feat's Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett play Houston's Last Concert Cafe Thursday night.
Little Feat: Live in Holland 1976
Eagle Vision (CD/DVD), 54 min., $17.98.

Is there any other band in classic rock who maintained a larger gulf between their studio and live work than Little Feat?

Don't get me wrong, albums like Sailin' Shoes, Dixie Chicken, Feats Don't Fail Me Now and Time Loves a Hero have a lot of quality material from the critically-popular act. But it's no fluke that their most commercially successful record, and the one to have if you only have one, is 1977's double live disc Waiting for Columbus.

Onstage, the sextet's potent gumbo of rock, blues, country and jazz was at its peak simply incendiary and ass-shaking. A tribute to both the skill of the individual players -- singer/guitarists Lowell George and Paul Barrere, keyboardist Billy Payne, bassist Kenny Gradney, and drummer/percussionists Richie Hayward and Sam Clayton -- as well as their cohesiveness as a unit.

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Happy 90th Birthday, George Bush Sr.: A Rousing R&B Salute

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Video Still courtesy of Shout! Factory
Stevie Ray Vaughan rips it up a year before his death.
A Celebration of Blues and Soul: The 1989 Presidential Inaugural Concert
Directed by David Deutsch
Shout! Factory, 120 min., $19.98

"Tonight is not a night for politics," says a well-coiffed man at the microphone with an unmistakable Southern drawl at the beginning of this concert. "Tonight is the night for music and blues!"

At first, the statement might seem fantastical, because of the man who uttered it: one Lee Atwater, an advisor to President Ronald Reagan, then campaign director for the Bush-Quayle ticket in 1988 and later chairman of the Republican National Committee. To him, everything was about politics.


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The 10 Best Reasons Rick Ross Won't Play Houston

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Photo by Marco Torres
Rick Ross at his last known Houston appearance in October 2010
Good ol' Rick Ross didn't bother to show up for a Houston concert -- yet again. This time it was at Houston Beer Fest. Last time? Bayou Music Center. The time before? Hell, does it even matter?

The bottom line is Ross must have some sort of reason he keeps canceling tour dates here, right? After all, who wouldn't love our city? Well, other than him.

In order to explain the unfortunate circumstances in which Ross keeps canceling his Houston tour dates, we've wracked our brains to come up with a few explanations as to why the notorious rapper would skip out on us over and over and over again. Here are the Top 10.


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New Set Revisits Billy Joel's Rocket to Russia

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Photos by Neal Preston/Courtesy of Columbia Legacy
Billy Joel and band onstage in Russia.
Billy Joel: A Matter of Trust -- The Bridge to Russia
Columbia Legacy

When Billy Joel made the trek to Russia to play a series of concerts in the summer of 1987, he had probable cause to believe that, instead of metaphorically killing the audience, they might literally kill him.

After all, the Long Island-bred Baby Boomer, like millions of his peers, had been conditioned for decades to believe that Russia was the Evil Empire ready to launch a nuclear war at any minute. And that all of its citizens were mindless, freedom-hating, order-following Pinko Commies.

But what Joel and his family, bandmates, roadies and personnel found instead was a country eager -- no, slavering -- for the freedoms promised by American culture and Western rock and roll.

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Gregg Allman Invites All-Star "Friends" for Epic Jam in Atlanta

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Rounder Records
Gregg Allman behind his beloved Hammond B-3 organ at the party in his honor.

All My Friends - Celebrating the Songs & Voice of Gregg Allman
2CD/1DVD
Rounder Records

What sometimes gets lost in consideration of Gregg Allman's career - both with the Allman Brothers band and as a solo artist - is the actual quality of his songwriting. The melodies, the lyrics - though it's all right up there, it's easy to lose that amidst the man and the band's story and image of hirsute epic jammers.

So despite the incredible lineup of performers - which include the honoree himself - it's a new respect for Gregg Allman's songwriting that is the real star of this set, which features 26 audio and video performances from the January 2014 tribute show at Atlanta's Fox Theatre.

Performers from a gamut of musical genres are here including classic rock (Jackson Browne, Taj Mahal), blues (Keb' Mo), soul (Sam Moore), country (Vince Gill, Martina McBride, Trace Adkins, Zac Brown, Eric Church), rock (Pat Monahan), jam bands (Warren Haynes, Widespread Panic, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi) and the irrepressible Dr. John.


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New Doc Explores the Clash's Dismal End Times

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The Clash's last lineup: Vince White, Paul Simonon, Joe Strummer, Nick Sheppard and Pete Howard.
The Rise and Fall of the Clash
Directed by Danny Garcia
Shout! Factory, 90 mins., $13.98

In the interest of truth in titling, the "Rise" in this DVD could have been eliminated, as this rock doc details the ramshackle demise of "the only band that mattered." And to that end, makes for a more interesting dissection on the least-looked at period of the Clash story, the wayward final years.

Director Garcia assumes viewers already know about the band, so (thankfully) eschews regurgitating their origins and development and starts with the Clash at their commercial peak. It was the heady days of 1982 and Combat Rock, the "Rock the Casbah" video, headlining the US Festival and opening stadium shows for the Who. But it was the beginning of the end.

Fearing that the band had gone complacent, and with the sacking of drug-addled drummer Topper Headon -- no trips to rehab or time off for healing in those days -- singer/guitarist Joe Strummer instigated two events that would kill the band.


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Acid Queens & Screaming Teens: Behind The Who's Epic Tommy

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Eagle Rock Entertainment
In the studio creating "Tommy: - The Who's John Entwistle, Roger Daltrey, and Pete Townshend with manager/producer Kit Lambert.

The Who -- Sensation: The Story of Tommy
Eagle Rock Entertainment, 113 mins, $19.98 Blu-ray/$14.98 DVD

Tommy, Pete Townshend's opus about a deaf, dumb and blind boy who could sure play a mean pinball, has become the gold standard for rock operas since the release of the double album in 1969. The story has also been adapted for live concerts, a really freaky movie, and glitzy Broadway production.

But in this documentary, likely the definitive look at the piece, surviving Who members Townshend and Roger Daltrey, along with a gaggle of journalists, artists and sympathetic talking heads, relate the story of the opera's creation. Combining historical background and track-by-track analysis, which is more interesting to watch than that sounds, the documentary shows how Tommy also saved The Who.


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Bob Dylan's Star-Studded "Halftime Show" Gets Deluxe Treatment

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Bob Gruen/Columbia Legacy
Check out the star power at the concert finale! Why so morose, Sinead?

"Thanks Bob! Thanks for having Bob Fest!" Neil Young enthuses at one point during his set at the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert.

And though methinks that the October 1992 show at Madison Square Garden paying tribute to the Bard of Hibbing was due more to the planning of Columbia Records than the honoree himself, the megastar-studded event found a wide swath of performers covering Dylan's deep songbook.

It was capped off by a solo and collaborative set from the man himself, and now available again in a 2CD/2DVD-Blu-Ray Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration -- Deluxe Edition (Columbia/Legacy). As VH-1's Bill Flanagan offers in the liner notes, what "could have been a last waltz instead turned out to be rock and roll's greatest halftime show."

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