Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Who: Live At Leeds gig 40 years later

The Who - Live at Leeds
The Who
Live At Leeds
Rating: **** 1/2

It was forty years ago today when the Who rocked the University of Leeds. The album was actually released on May 16, 1970 but the actual show was 40 years ago. What is it that makes this performance so special? The Who were at their peak: they had a killer rock opera out called Tommy the year before and were playing honest rock n roll music. As far as live albums go, there probably isn't any other live album that's as live and raw as Live at Leeds.

The Who were one of the most successful rock bands in the late 1960's. Now in 1970, the band was on tour promoting their latest album, Tommy. The band wanted to have some live document of the tour. To avoid listening to hours of recordings, the band picked two gigs to record. On February 14, the band performed at the University of Leeds. The second gig in Hull wasn't recorded due to technical issues. When first released, Live At Leeds contained only six songs: "Young Man Blues", "Substitute", "Summertime Blues", "Shakin All Over", "My Generation" and "Magic Bus". It wasn't until 1995 when a remastered version of the album was released with eight more songs. However, this still wasn't the entire performance. Apparently, the band performed most of the Tommy album right after playing "A Quick One and While He's Away". In 2001, the entire performance was released.

"Heaven and Hell" is the first song played at the gig. This song, written by John Entwistle, was never released as a studio track. The band also performed "Fortune Teller"at raw power. The band also gets blusey during "Young Man Blues". The band then proceeds into a string of early hits. "A Quick One" is very amusing while "Summertime Blues" is another highlight from the show. "My Generation" actually goes on for fifteen minutes as it goes into other songs such as "See Me, Feel Me". The show ends fittingly with "Magic Bus".

If you own Live at Leeds, what are you waiting for? CRANK IT UP!

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