Classic Rock Review

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The Who Live At Hull 1970

Who Live at HullFrom

Review This Hull CD is absolutely essential but, please, read on as I explain why. There are a number of very subtle differences between this and the Leeds set, and, perhaps, the most notable is Keith Moon and where he sits in the sound mix here. Keith Moon is certainly dominant throughout the entire set, and his drums are `placed’ very high in the mix resulting in a thundering and very relentless attack which brilliantly drives all the songs here.

Pete Townshend is very clean and his pick-ups (which I assume are his P90’s on his SG) are brighter than ever. On the Leeds set you hear Pete’s guitar very fuzzed out and distorted (even with reverb!), and the Hull set offers a nice clean contrast in places, while other places offer a more rounded smoother overdrive than Leeds. The `presence’ and `closeness’ of just Keith Moons drums and Pete Townshends guitar are enough to place you center stage in a way Leeds does not.

As for the bass, John Entwistle’s playing is as strong as ever, and the over-dubs on the first few tracks are not exposed by the rest of the set – the tone, timing, and volume are all consistent from start to finish and any overdubs are actually undetectable (don’t worry!). And Roger Daltrey’s vocals are absolutely flawless; very powerful, very touching, and very admirable.

Whilst this set is no-where near as `polished’ as Leeds, it does offer an invaluable insight into how the band would have sounded on stage at that time – Leeds has always felt too `done’ in my opinion, and the sound, when compared to Hull, is like comparing a studio recording with a live recording; Hull feels realer, truer, and more alive! The Hull CD gives great tribute to Keith Moon and Pete Townshend in particular, and Moon’s playing is more daring, adventurous, and spontaneous (with fills unimaginably tight), and Towhshend cranking solo’s demonstrate how diverse his playing is – what a great lead and rhythm guitarist!

After first purchasing `Live at Leeds’ in 2001 (at the age of 11) and playing it extensively over the last 11 years, I can conclude that Hull may be the rawer, truer, and superior set to Leeds. Overall, I’d highly recommend this CD set and, having been a strong fan of The Who for years, would rate it as highly as Who’s Next, Isle Of Wight 1970, and Quadrophenia.

Review I’ve become quite slack with all things Who in the last few years, so when Ii first saw the pre-order for this I thought it was going to be disappointing, but knowing what we know about Live At Leeds and its relationship to Hull, it really isn’t.

The first thing that strikes me about this set, is that it is impossible to listen to it and not compare every second to the same moments of LAL. That classic album has had many permutations over the last 40 years, but in my opinion, the original 6 track version still kicks like a mule. I discovered it from a Kerrang 100 albums you must own list from about 1989/1990, and could. not. believe. it. when i first heard it. So LAH has a lot of listening history to live up to.

There is a lot less banter on LAH, whether this is by design or not i don’t know, but it does detract a bit from the perceived intimacy of LAL. However, the other differences are striking. Moon’s drumming is, unbelievably, even more incendiary on LAH. It could be the fact that the mix is slightly different, but he just seems to be on fire. The songs are punchier, and although timings are similar, they seem shorter and more direct. The singing isn’t as good, but The Who live was never about perfection. It is fascinating to hear the differences in Townshend’s playing, and the surprising lack of repetition between the two sets. The production also seems to ramp up The Ox’s playing, and on Young Man Blues his bass growls like I’ve never heard before.

One minute complaint, the inside sleeve of the 2cd set has a photo of Leeds, from the rejected set that Chris McCourt did. Weird. Maybe there aren’t any of Hull.

This is an essential set. Buy it. Turn it up. And for you experienced listeners, maybe feel a tiny bit of the excitement you felt the first time you heard Live At Leeds.

Review Recorded the night after Live At Leeds, this is another great live performance – in fact not that different from its legendary predecessor. The mighty version of Magic Bus isn’t repeated but the rest is – the great versions of Summertime Blues, Shakin’ All Over and Young Man Blues especially. They’re just as good, as is the rest. It’s a proper live album rather than the modern, auto-tuned and otherwise airbrushed and adulterated stuff we’re often served up.

Daltrey produces some spine-tingling moments but also strains for some notes and suffers from some dodgy tuning sometimes (as do the backing vocals.) Towshend’s guitar wanders out of tune sometimes, and there are some moments of near-shambles mixed in with some sheer brilliance. It’s real music being played by real people and, warts and all, is a terrific reminder of what a superb guitarist Townshend is under the antics and destruction, and that Keith Moon may have been madder than an exceptionally mad person on National Mad Day, but behind a drum kit he was a unique genius.

Every Who fan will want this. Of course we will; as a self-respecting Who fan, I bought Live At Leeds when it came out and still have the vinyl album – bits and pieces and all – and then the expanded CD versions and I had to have this, too. I’m not sure that this adds anything to Live at Leeds, really, but – come on – we’re going to buy a live album recorded the night after that historic concert no matter what. If you’re a Who fan, you’ll love it – but then, you already knew that.

(What follows is a personal reflection which you may not want to bother with. The thing is, although Live At Leeds a great live album – possibly the greatest in rock – I’ve not played it in the intervening 40-odd years nearly as much as Tommy, Who’s Next, Quadrophenia and the rest. There are some great moments but I often find with live albums that you really had to be there, and I wasn’t – I was at home a few miles away studying for my O Levels. I saw The Who in concert only once (at Charlton Athletic’s Valley ground in 1974, since you ask) and it was a stunning experience.

Daltrey shone like a rebellious god with his golden curls, Townshend windmilled and leapt like a demon, Moon was…well, Keith Moon, and Entwhistle stood like a rock amid it all while I was among tens of thousands of people, all swept away by the music we loved being played just for us, right there and right then, by the men we so admired. Almost four decades on, I still remember it with a thrill. And that’s the thing: a recording of it would probably be very good, but it wouldn’t be the occasion, and that’s what I find with live albums generally. I’m often glad to have heard them but don’t go back to them that often.

I suspect it will be like that with Live At Hull, too, but then – so what? I’ve got to have it so I know it’s there in my collection.

April 17, 2013 - Posted by | The Who Live At Hull 1970 |

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