(All Album Reviews by AdmKirk)
Get the T-shirt, get the program. That's the way it's been until recently. Now, add get the CD of the show to the list. This trend for modern concert goers can trace its roots back to the Grateful Dead and their taping section. Pearl Jam expanded on the idea whey they released every show from one tour on CD. Needless to say it wasn't long before others jumped on the bandwagon. Peter Gabriel & The Who decided to link up with TheMusic.com for release of live shows. The Who has done this for the last few years. Within two weeks or so, the show you attended is available via the internet to order on CD to have for your very own. While I didn't attend the Boston show The Who performed in May at the Tweeter Center, I've managed to procure a CD of the event.
These "official bootlegs" ain't much in the art department. That's OK as it gives these proceedings a bootleg feel. On this particular evening, the band is obviously having a few sound problems. They comment about this on stage as well. The problem contributes to Daltrey being off key on several songs, the collapse of "Eminence Front" and the botched beginning of "Magic Bus" among others. Nothing that any band hasn't faced from time to time. What's cool about this performance is the way The Who rise above these tech problems to put on a great show.
Many of the usual suspects are present: "My Generation", "Who Are You", and "I Can't Explain" for starters. There are also a handful of lesser known tracks as well: "The Punk and The Godfather", "Real Good Looking Boy", "Old Red Wine", and "Love Ain't For Keeping". The best thing about this album is that The Who continue to sound passionate, interested, and energetic on stage. Guitarist Pete Townshend once said that the key to good rock was abandonment and Townshend is apparently keeping that idea close to heart with his guitar work. Townshend's playing is outstanding through out the album.
The resurgence of The Who really began in 1996 when Ringo Starr's son Zak joined as the drummer, and as evidenced by 1999's Blues to the Bush live album and The Royal Albert Hall CD and DVD that came out in 2003 The Who once again sound like The Who. While there's nothing on this album to rival Live at Leeds, this CD does make a strong case for The Who's continued relevance as a working band. Moon & Entwistle are probably having a drink somewhere in the afterlife having a laugh at "Who's Left" but the kids that remain are still all right. Pete and Roger are still Pete and Roger, Zak Starkey is an absolute joy to hear, “Rabbit” Bundrick is a sorely overlooked keyboardist who has now been in the band longer than Moon. Simon Townshend, Pete's brother, fills in the vocals and adds strong rhythm guitar work. Pino Palladino, while no Big Johnny Twinkle, has stepped into the biggest bass shoes in rock and acquits himself well. He seems to have developed a true rapport with Starkey.
These are direct from the board recordings, no overdubs, so sometimes the sound is a bit on the peculiar side. Turn it up loud and it sounds better, particularly the bottom end which is a bit muddy at low volume. Palladino's bass work stands out a lot more with a bit of volume.
My only real complaint about the album is the set list. I really wish they would add a few more obscurities to the set list.
Bottom Line: A strong performance marred with a few tech problems by a band attempting to carry on with past glories, despite missing two core members...and succeeding!