The Who 1977–78 performances

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The Who 1977–78 performances
Tour by The Who
Start date 15 December 1977
End date 25 May 1978
Legs 2
No. of shows 2
The Who concert chronology

The Who performed only twice between their 1976 and 1979 tours, both as specially arranged dates to provide more recent concert footage for their rockumentary The Kids Are Alright.


After touring extensively in 1976, the band took an extended break (the longest in their career thus far), only reconvening in late 1977 to begin recording the Who Are You album. At that time the band were also involved with Who fan and amateur filmmaker Jeff Stein in preparing The Kids Are Alright, a rockumentary featuring interviews and performance clips dating from 1964 to 1975. However, Stein also wanted to include more recent footage, resulting in a special concert being scheduled on 15 December 1977 at the Gaumont State Cinema in Kilburn, London. This was the band's first show since 21 October 1976, when they concluded their last tour at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Unfortunately the group proved rusty and this performance was considered unsatisfactory and ultimately not used in the film, save clips of a brief Pete Townshend speech and of the band leaving the stage. Although the Kilburn footage was largely scrapped, "My Wife" did appear on the film's soundtrack and eventually most of the performance was released many years later in 2008 as The Who at Kilburn: 1977. The failure of the Kilburn show to provide usable performance footage necessitated a second concert on 25 May 1978 at London's Shepperton Studios. This show yielded the versions of "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" that appear in both the film and its accompanying soundtrack, although some studio touch-ups were done to both the audio and film for the finished products (slight differences between the film and soundtrack versions of "Won't Get Fooled Again" are evident).

Aside from their intended purpose, these two shows were significant because they were the last time the band performed with drummer Keith Moon, who died September 1978. It was also the last time they appeared as a four-piece band with no keyboard player – John "Rabbit" Bundrick became the group's keyboard player when they resumed performing in 1979 with new drummer Kenney Jones.

Tour band[edit]

Set lists[edit]

15 December 1977 Kilburn performance[edit]

At the start of the show the group exhibited signs of inactivity, with Daltrey losing his way in "Dreaming from the Waist" and a problematic version of "I'm Free". Townshend remarked after the latter that the show "wasn't bloody worth filming", just before a comedic and error-prone rendition of "Tommy's Holiday Camp" that Moon insisted they include. Entwistle similarly recalled being "pissed out of me fucking head" and fearing the end of The Who.[1] However, their performance improved considerably as they continued with "Summertime Blues" and "Shakin' All Over", the latter featuring a very early (though abbreviated) version of "Who Are You" before closing with "Won't Get Fooled Again".

Complete set list (all songs written by Pete Townshend unless otherwise specified):

  1. "I Can't Explain"
  2. "Substitute"
  3. "Baba O'Riley"
  4. "My Wife" (John Entwistle)
  5. "Behind Blue Eyes"
  6. "Dreaming from the Waist"
  7. "Pinball Wizard"
  8. "I'm Free"
  9. "Tommy's Holiday Camp" (Keith Moon)
  10. "Summertime Blues" (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart)
  11. "Shakin' All Over" (Johnny Kidd)
  12. "My Generation"
  13. "Join Together" (loose version)
  14. "Who Are You" (loose version)
  15. "Won't Get Fooled Again"

25 May 1978 Shepperton performance[edit]

The second attempt to record footage for the film proved satisfactory, with "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" making the cut. Although the complete performance has yet to surface, a longer set was reportedly played, including two versions each of "My Wife" and "Won't Get Fooled Again". The latter was played a second time when director Jeff Stein insisted on a more definitive ending, resulting in a drawn-out and explosive conclusion. Moon had experienced difficulties keeping up with the set, and shocked the band and crew by snorting a large amount of cocaine before the final rendition of "Won't Get Fooled Again"; his drumming deteriorated towards the end as the effects of the cocaine wore off.[2] This was the last time Moon played with the group.

This set list is likely incomplete and out of sequence (all songs written by Pete Townshend unless otherwise specified):

  1. "Baba O'Riley"
  2. "My Wife" (John Entwistle)
  3. "Won't Get Fooled Again"
  4. "Substitute"
  5. "I Can't Explain"
  6. "Magic Bus"
  7. "Summertime Blues" (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart)
  8. "My Generation"
  9. "My Wife" (John Entwistle)
  10. "Won't Get Fooled Again"

The songs were recorded during the day. After the final song the invited audience were invited to have tea and sandwiches on the lawn behind the studio. The Who mingled and chatted with the fans. A photo shoot for an album cover was attempted during the tea party. Each member stood facing the camera with fans lined up behind but with their backs to the camera. These photos did not make the cover of the 'Who Are You' album, but a photo is included in the CD booklet.

Performance dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue
15 December 1977 Kilburn England Gaumont State Cinema
25 May 1978 London Shepperton Studios

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fletcher, Tony (1998). Dear Boy: The Life of Keith Moon. Omnibus Press. p. 413. ISBN 978-1-84449-807-9. 
  2. ^ Fletcher 1998, p. 416.