Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Who 24: Live At Hull

On the assumption that readers are tired of incessant complaints about commerce-driven repackagings, we’re going to try the constructive criticism angle. Certainly, we enjoy peeking into the vaults of our favorite performers and falling in sway to the buried treasure therein. But surely they don’t need to charge a premium for the first gullible wave of fanatics to view it through a keyhole, only to throw the door wide open later?
Recorded the day after the performance that resulted in Live At Leeds, the band’s similarly sequenced concert in Hull was left unreleased for decades due to what was assumed to be a faulty tape. Those intervening decades saw advances in technology that made the concert listenable without completely compromising its authenticity (namely, bass tracks transposed from the Leeds show on a few songs, plus other sections used to eliminate other gaps). The restored show was first made available in the 40th anniversary limited edition Leeds box set, which originally listed for $80 and now changes hands at three to four times that amount. So there was much gnashing of teeth and throwing up of hands when Live At Hull 1970 was released on its own for a lot less than before.
While it has the same setlist as Leeds with the exception of “Magic Bus”, it’s not an identical concert. Some songs are tighter than the day before (i.e. “Fortune Teller”) and some are sloppier (“Do You Think It’s Alright”). Pete’s improvisations on the likes of “Young Man Blues” and “My Generation” aren’t carbon copies either; we can even detect a nod to “I Can See For Miles” at the 15-minute mark of “Generation”. Between-song patter is at a minimum, so we can concentrate on the music; still, Pete’s prediction that this would be the last time they’d play “Summertime Blues” and “Shakin’ All Over” is pretty hilarious seeing as how it didn’t happen, and Keith always enjoyed yelling at the audience to shut up and have a little respect for their “fookin’ opera”. “Spoonful” makes an appearance in “Shakin’ All Over”, an aside that usually gets deleted from other releases for copyright reasons.
The packaging isn’t all that exciting, but it is to be commended for not simply aping its twin, going instead for the tape box approach to show off the historical value. Apparently nobody took pictures at these shows, as the photos used here are the same ones used for every modern incarnation of Leeds.
Who freaks will have to have this, of course. Now if they’d only put it out this way first, instead of fanning the complaints over that Super Deluxe Edition…

The Who Live At Hull 1970 (2012)—3

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