It’s a simple fact that The Who are one of the greatest rock bands the UK has ever produced and this new DVD goes some way to explaining why. Rather than a follow on from 1978’s ‘The Kids Are Alright’ documentary, ‘Amazing Journey’ touches on the same period but also brings us right up to the modern day.

There are good in-depth backgrounds to each member of the band featuring interviews with the band (obviously culled from old tapes in Moon & Entwistle’s case) and many of their contemporaries and admirers such as The Edge, Glyn Johns, Noel Gallagher, Harvey Goldsmith & even their parents! The rest of the DVD then takes you on a chronological journey through the band’s career, documenting both high & lows in a very honest and objective way. There are of course lots of interesting anecdotes and stories from the early days, such as Daltrey getting kicked out of the band for flushing the group stash of amphetamines down the toilet and the legendary story of Moon nearly blowing Pete Townsend’s head off after packing his bass drum with explosives live on US TV. The real gold dust on here though is some ultra rare and exceptionally good quality footage of the band live from the Railway Hotel in 1964, when they had briefly changed their name to ‘The High Numbers’ followed by footage from the Marquee in 1965. It’s a revealing insight into the evolution of the band as well as a useful snapshot of the scene at the time.

Whilst almost every topic is dealt with in-depth this never becomes boring and with lengthy discussion around the creative process for ‘Tommy’ for example, it’s a fascinating look into how the band developed both as individuals and songwriters. The section on the death of Keith Moon is surprisingly short but is made up for by an elongated section on what followed and all the implications that came with such a tragic event. For the first time the later years are explored in detail and whilst this section doesn’t have the magic of their heyday it’s nonetheless interesting and the focus on the relationship between Daltrey & Townsend over this period is particularly revealing.

The second disc features the archive footage from 1964 in full (only two songs plus intro) alongside more in-depth profiling of each band member, the part played by the art colleges of the 60s and of most interest behind the scenes footage of recent recording sessions from Eel Pie Island. As a complete package it’s all a bit much to take in one sitting but that just guarantees value for money and all in all this is an exceptionally well put together DVD that mixes archive footage with up to date interviews and comment and for even a casual fan of the band it’s pretty much essential viewing.