The Kids Are Alright is an combination of footage of performances by The Who(covering the fifteen years of their career up to 1979) and interview excerpts. There are all sortsof historic moments here, one of which occurs right off the top, where we see the band’sappearance on the Smothers Brothers TV show, where an overdone explosion set PeteTownsend’s hair on fire (and perhaps was responsible for his hearing loss). If you’re not a fan ofthe group, this will p…obably leave you cold (and in many of the interviews they come off asimmature jerks). Fans will be ecstatic over the sound quality, and the film is an importantdocument of The Who at their most vital, long before band members started dying and theybecame the sad perpetual reunion joke they are now.
The audio has been painstakingly restored to 5.1 (Dolby and DTS). This results in somerather odd effects. The sound quality of the dialogue and interviews (especially those from oldtelevision shows) is extremely variable (as we would expect, given the nature of the footage).Then the songs begin, and suddenly we are in full 5.1 glory. This isn’t really a problem, and themusic sounds tremendous, but it is a little disconcerting at first.
As one might guess, the picture quality varies a lot, depending on the state of the originalfootage. The contrary would be bizarre. The transfer is, however, superb, and there is plenty offootage which looks as sharp as the day it was shot, with excellent picture definition and grain-free vibrant colours and deep blacks. In a word, it is hard to imagine the movie looking any betterthan this.
If extras are what you’re really excited about with regards to this release, look for the SpecialEdition. The offerings on this version still aren’t bad. Director Jeff Stein (interviewed by MartinLewis and joined by John Albarian) provides a fascinating commentary, contextualizing eachsegment, and thus turning the film into a more in-depth documentary. The on-screen liner notesare minimal, simply stating where and when each song was performed. The 32-page booklet,however, is great, detailing as it does the making of the film and providing sometimes quiteextensive notes on each chapter of the disc. The menu has a spectacular intro, with a guitarsmashing through the FBI warning. The main page, transitions and chapter selection page areanimated and scored.
In some ways more fascinating than entertaining, but without a doubt a valuable documentfrom rock history, and here presented in as fine a transfer as one could wish.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- On-Screen Liner Notes
- 32-Page Booklet