Album #193 – Live At Leeds

Album #193

What can I say about this album? It was recorded at a time in The Who’s career where they were at the top of their game. Tommy was released almost a year before this album was recorded. Legend has it, that Pete Townshend did not want to review the dozens tapes of  shows from the Tommy World Tour. So, he burned them and decided to start from scratch. They decided to do two shows: one at Leeds University and the other at a concert venue in Hull, England. Each gig would be recorded and used for a live album. Because of complications in the recording of the Hull show, the Leeds University gig was used for this album. The Leeds concert was recorded on Valentine’s Day, 1970 in a cafeteria at Leeds University. That night became historic and was brilliantly captured on this album. Despite the group’s preference of the Hull concert, the Leeds show had a unique quality to it. It sounds raw and unfiltered. The Who are rocking throughout and the energy level does not decrease. The live versions of their big hits (Magic Bus, Happy Jack, Substitute, I’m A Boy) blow away the album versions. This album marks the rise in The Who’s popularity and status as a live band. They could hold their own with any of the other rock and hard rock acts touring during this time. It is one of my favorite live albums and, in my opinion, one of the best live rock albums of all-time for those reasons and more. If you really want to listen to and discover this album, I suggest buying the 1995 remastered version. That is the version I own and that I listened to. It is expanded and remixed and also has some funny banter in between songs that you will not find on the original release. The original release is much shorter and only contains six songs. If you want to discover the Hull show, it was released last year in a box set commemorating this album’s 40th anniversary. This is one of those albums where every song is awesome. You will not be disappointed. Overall, I give this album 5.5 out of 5.

Next: Third by Soft Machine

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