The cover of this 250-page look back at a pair of The Who’s visits to Winterland suggests immediately its intriguing intention. Split between similarly composed black-and-white and color photos of the 1968 and 1976 stops at the Bay Area arena, the pics rather conspicuously foreshadow a premise of comparison and contrast. And so it unfolds, thoroughly and, essentially, chronologically, with a wonderful bounty of never-before-seen shots and quite extensively researched text. 

Author Genzolini does dedicate himself to the concept, but isn’t bound by it entirely. There is an equally and slightly broader motivating force in depicting distinctly the two performances at the beloved San Francisco venue: the art and craft of concert photography. It’s a novel approach, to use all of the available pro-shot work covering the appearances- not just the select pics, but those less than ideal captures, as well- to provide full-circle coverage of two very different evenings. 

1968’s concert was under-attended, as The Who, looking baby-faced in the softening black-and-white, was relatively new to American audiences, and was supporting an album- Sell Out– that, ironically, resulted in a February date witnessed by only several hundred hippies in the 5,000-seat house. Jump ahead eight years to a sold-out Winterland, and tour supporting another album- By Numbers– that, in essence served to bookend the band’s most commercially successful era. The color shots reveal a visibly older, less fashion-conscious, road-weary quartet ready for a break. Drummer Keith Moon would pass away a mere two years later; especially poignant is the multi-page series of pictures of Moon and the late bassist, John Entwistle, backstage in ’68, in likely Genzolini’s subtle tribute to the powerhouse founding rhythm section. 

The Who wasn’t much for dazzling or distracting lighting effects or elaborate set designs. Singer Roger Daltrey’s occasional struts, air punches, and impressive blonde locks attract some attention, but it’s guitarist Pete Townshend’s leaps, arm-windmills, and weaponizing his guitar that are the ultimate signature images of The Who. Consequently, Townshend’s physicality, coupled with Moon’s animated expressions and show-ending toppling of his drum kit, provide most of the action. 

Yet, this isn’t a book meant to celebrate action as much as it is aimed at portraying, through words and pictures, the implied and expressed balance of quieter moments and the thunderous music being made; between pre-show and show; backstage and onstage; perception and perspective; breaking through and maintaining; youthful and matured; The Who ’68 and The Who ’76. Eight years of evolution and change, and still, teenage wasteland.