Crackling noises OK.

When the original version of The Who’s follow-up to Tommy, Live at Leeds, was released, it said on the disk label, “CRACKLING NOISES OK.” I’ve read since then that some wire was loose and they couldn’t get rid of the noise. Later versions of this album have digitally fixed that, and they dutifully say, “CRACKLING NOISES REMOVED.”

I thought I was sick of The Who. I have none of their CDs, although I had all of their albums. Rock Band led me back to Live at Leeds, and I discovered that in 2001 a special edition was released that had the rest of that concert. Over two hours of one of the best bands in the world at the absolute height of their awesome power.

I know people that don’t like live albums. But The Who was a completely different band in concert. In the studio, they were cerebral, harmonic, and sensitive. Live, they were visceral and thunderous. I am one of those who believe they inspired Punk.

This new recording is a marvelous thing. It has all the chatty bits inbetween the songs, where the guys are clearly having lots of fun. I thought I was sick of Tommy too, but when the Overture starts up with just that guitar, that bass, and those drums, and no fucking French horns, it’s wonderful.

Like Star Trek episodes, I have requirements for a good Who song. No keyboards at all. Roger sings the lead vocals. And if you can play that for me from that concert on February 14, 1970 at Leeds University, it doesn’t get any better than that.

One Response to Crackling noises OK.

  1. Bishop says:

    Live At Leeds is easily one of the best classic rock live albums ever. The only other one I can think of that comes close is Frampton Comes Alive. A good follow-up to Live At Leeds is Live At The Isle Of Wight. It’s another good live Who show. Not as good as Leeds, but pretty good.

    Live At Leeds had three releases; the original, one that came out around 1995 or so with more tracks, and the 2001 version that has pretty much the entire concert.

    Oddly enough, Live At Leeds is slightly edited. John Entwistle was known for being a perfectionist and did overdub some of the bass tracks. Some of the songs remain slightly cut as well and some of the vocals have been removed.

    For the completionist, you should seek out a bootleg called “Live At Leeds Complete”. It is a straight copy of the master tape (with crackling unfortunately) that omits nothing and also corrects some speed inconsistencies found on other releases. It was created in the late ’90s when it was unsure whether or not the complete Tommy would ever be included on a Live At Leeds release. It is the raw, definitive edition of Live At Leeds, but these days the 2001 release is certainly “close enough” for most.

    As for Rock Band, this was a great release. I’ve only done guitar and vocals so far. The guitar charts feel spot-on (with one exception in Young Man Blues) and the songs are a blast to play. I hate Eminence Front, but 11/12 isn’t bad. I’ve always liked Amazing Journey and Sea And Sand, so those were great inclusions. I dunno why Who Are You omits the third verse, but that’s a minor annoyance. I’m pretty sure the line “Who the hell are you” was recorded for this release; I’ve never heard a radio edit with that line there (in place of f***).

    Rock Band comes through on occasion with well done, thought-out weekly releases that breathe new life into the game. I’m not a fan of the random track packs, but the efforts like the Boston pack and now The Who pack really let you get into the groove of a particular band. I hope we see more like this.

    Brain dump on The Who over…:)


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