The Who – Mission Valley Rock! (Archive Master Series AMS 011)
Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego, California – October 27, 1982
Substitute, I Can’t Explain, Dangerous, Sister Disco, The Quiet One, It’s Hard, Eminence Front, Behind Blue Eyes, Baba O’Riley, Tattoo, Drowned, Cry If You Want, Who Are You, Pinball Wizard, See Me Feel Me, 5:15, Love Reign O’er Me, Long Live Rock, Won’t Get Fooled Again, Summertime Blues, Twist And Shout
Mission Valley Rock! is a multi-camera pro-shot document that comes from The Who’s Farewell Tour in 1982. The tour started on September 10th in Birmingham, England and concluded on December 17th in Toronto, most of which can be found on the official CD and accompanying DVD Live In Toronto. This show in San Diego comes about halfway through the tour and the DVD cover claims October 26, 1982 with the actual date being October 27, 1982.
Kenney Jones joined The Who in 1979 after the death of Keith Moon and recorded two studio albums, Face Dances and It’s Hard, and toured with the band through 1982. Jones had some incredible shoes to fill and as a result got a bit of a bad rap. Even Daltrey found himself at odds with Kenney as he felt Jones’ style was too conservative for The Who’s music. All things considered, Kenney Jones is a very solid player and does a fine job. The band is also joined by Tim Gorman on piano and keyboards for this tour and can be seen on a riser behind Entwistle’s amps.
The set list for this tour contained a great mix of new and old tracks and the opening numbers revisit some old Who classics with “Substitute” and “I Can’t Explain”. “My Generation” opened some of the shows from this tour but not on this evening. Considering that this tour was being billed as The Who’s Farewell Tour they were really pushing some of the newer tracks from their recent It’s Hard LP. “Dangerous” is the first of the night and is a very Quadrophenia style track written by Entwistle. “It’s Hard”, “Eminence Front”, and “Cry If You Want” are also from the new album and The Who were known to include “Athena” and “A Man Is A Man” during this tour as well. “Eminence Front” has some amazing guitar from Townshend in the intro solos and “Cry If You Want” proves that Pete’s playing was still in top form despite his recent battle with drugs and alcohol. Also from John, is “The Quiet One”, the only track to remain in the set from the Face Dances LP.
After “Baba O’Riley” the band would often plug in different tracks and “Tattoo” was featured around this stage of the tour, “a song from 1967” as Pete puts it. This position in the set changed throughout the tour and “I Can See For Miles”, “The Punk Meets The Godfather”, and “Dr. Jimmy” were also featured as semi-regulars throughout the tour. There is some brief audio deterioration in “Pinball Wizard” and keeping with the Tommy theme it is appropriately segued with “See Me, Feel Me”. The end of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is extended on this tour where the band jam for a couple extra minutes before exiting the stage. “Summertime Blues” is the first encore and the night ends with a heavy version of “Twist And Shout” sung by John.
The visuals are what you’d expect from a Who concert with Daltrey swinging his microphone, Pete posing and dancing around the stage with a few windmills here and there and a typically quiet yet powerful Entwistle. Pete plays a variety of Telecaster style Schecter Guitars exclusively throughout the night that were custom built by Schecter and Roger Giffin which he was endorsing at the time.
As a fan of The Who, this was never my favorite era and must admit I was a bit skeptical before seeing this. But after watching, I was pleasantly surprised with the performance, song selection, and perfect video quality. Mission Valley Rock! from Archive Master Series is a pressed DVD packaged in a DVD sized digipack with a short essay about the Farewell Tour printed on the back and is a superb quality release well worth investigating.