Summer Jam 1974 (4 Reel 2009-001)
Charlton Athletic Football Ground, London, England – May 18th, 1974
Pete Townshend interview, before the show, Young Man Blues, Baba O’Riley, Behind Blue Eyes, Substitute, Drowned, Bell Boy, See Me Feel Me, Naked Eye, Let’s See Action, My Generation Blues. Bonus material: I’m A Boy, Tattoo, Behind Blue Eyes, Magic Bus
Occupied with the film adaptation of Tommy and the soundtrack, The Who’s live appearances in 1974 were scarce. They played only a handful of shows in France, four in New York in June, and their only London appearance in Charlton Athletic Football Ground on May 18th. This was established as an all day festival of sorts with The Who has headliners, supported by Humble Pie (who came close to upstaging The Who according to reports), Lou Reed, Bad Company, Lindisfarne, Maggie Bell, and Montrose.
Summer Jam 1974 on 4Reel is sourced from an excellent quality dub from the BBC program “2nd House,” initially telecast a year after the event in 1975. It begins with an introduction by host Melvyn Bragg and an interview with Pete Townshend before the live footage which includes much of the show. The footage is missing the opening two songs “I Can’t Explain” and “Summertime Blues.” Also missing are “Boris The Spider,” “Doctor Jimmy,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Pinball Wizard” and “5.15.”
What is present is excellent quality and is a great show. Keith Moon debuted his new drum kit with three rows of tom toms totally eleven in all. The audience are extremely enthusiastic with the show. However, Townshend himself was not pleased, saying afterwards: “Charlton was very disappointing, because when we went out the first thing I felt in the air was violence. It was like a feeling of something not quite right. I dunno what it was but I felt very uneasy for some time. The only way I could get myself together was by shutting out the audience and working with the group.”
None of this is visible on tape though. The bonus material includes more footage from the show not used for the broadcast again in every good video and audio quality. The DVD comes packaged in a thin cardboard digipack with photos of the event. Overall it is a good production by 4Reel worth having for the Who collector.