Classic Rock Review

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The Who Over The Weekend (Newcastle, October 1971)


Odeon Cinema, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England – October 30th, 1971

Disc 1 (43:41): I Can’t Explain, Substitute, Summertime Blues, My Wife, Baba O’Riley, Bargain, Behind Blue Eyes, Won’t Get Fooled Again

Disc 2 (46:17): Baby Don’t You Do It, Magic Bus, Overture, Amazing Journey, Sparks, Pinball Wizard, See Me Feel Me

The Who debuted the songs on the new album Who’s Next in the spring, months before the album was finally released that summer. By the autumn the album reached number one in the UK charts and reached gold status while they were touring the UK that autumn. They played several dates around the UK and the appearance in Newcastle on October 30th was a prelude for three dates at the Rainbow Theatre in London.

It is a good but distant sounding tape. The music sounds much louder than the comments on stage, which are difficult to hear. It is not complete since it is missing about two minutes of “See Me Feel Me” and the last two songs “My Generation” and “Naked Eye.” It is nevertheless listenable given the historic import of the show. Newcastle was first pressed on CD on Amazing Journey (Trystar TR019/020) in 2001. The sound quality between the two is the same but Trystar runs a hair too slow while the no label corrects the pitch.

“I Can’t Explain” and “Substitute” open the show which in various combinations seem to be their most common openers. After the Eddie Cochrane cover “Summertime Blues” they begin a set of new songs from Who’s Next starting with John Entwistle’s “My Wife.” Afterwards Roger Daltrey addresses the rumours in the British press that The Who are about to break up (something the British press says about all bands it seems). “This is the last gig we’re ever going to be doing, we’re breaking up after the show” he jokes.

“Baba O’Riley” continues the new material and this is one of the few times Townshend actually sings his part (“don’t cry / don’t raise your eye / it’s only teenage wasteland.”) In the future he would simply speak (or shout) the lyrics. Townshend plays a bizarre solo in “Bargain.” Before they play “Behind Blue Eyes” he gets into a long speech about the big crowds they played before in America to some booing from the Newcastle audience.

“Won’t Get Fooled Again” is the final new song of the set and it’s strange to hear it in the middle of the set instead of the ending where it will reside in future tours.

Fun and games for The Who start with an eight minute jam on Marvin Gaye’s “Baby Don’t Do It” which segues into twelve minutes of ”Magic Bus” which develops into only a shade of its original melody. At about nine minute into the jam session they begin playing the melody of “Overture” in Tommy, obviously anticipating the next part of the set.

Tommy went a long way to establishing the band and pushing the boundaries of rock music as theatre. In 1969 they played the entire piece but over the intervening two years it shrank to a five song suite. Townshend introduces Keith Moon as the conductor before they start “Overture” and “Amazing Journey.” It’s a pity the tape runs out because the show really builds in intensity. Nevertheless this is a very listenable and enjoyable document from The Who’s autumn 1971 tour pressed on silver disc.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | The Who Over The Weekend | , | Leave a comment