The mid-Eighties was a most difficult time for the titans of rock’s Second Generation, hence the need for this tasty project from Pete Townshend, Face the Face: Deep End Live. It was the only time in the last half century when every one of the British superstar bands which had dominated the Seventies, i.e. the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and The Who, were no longer recording, touring, and in some cases even SPEAKING together. Rock’n’roll was officially in full-blown midlife crisis and no respecter of persons, as even the biggest names such as Pete Townshend and David Gilmour were cast adrift from the structure of their respective former bands to deal with it individually for the first time.
What has been made available from this mid-Eighties transitional period is Pete Townshend’s live performance with an all-star band he dubbed the “Deep End”, which included Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour and terrific timekeeper Simon Phillips on drums, performing live at Cannes France in January 1986 and broadcast on German television. The Who had officially broken up three years earlier with a lengthy farewell tour following the death of Keith Moon, leaving Pete Townshend searching to find his artistic footing alone. The arrangements range from the intimate on “Pinball Wizard” and “Behind Blue Eyes” to the big band assault of the mature marital confessional “Slit Skirts”, and “Give Blood” featuring David Gilmour‘s distinctive echoplex guitar. –Redbeard