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The Who | Quadrophenia Live In London:

UK - 2014 Universal CD (Promo)

2 CD version

UK - 2014 Universal CD (Promo)

2 CD version, 1 DVD version

USA - 2014 Universal CD

USA - 2014 Universal CD

5 Disc Limited Edition box set (Blu Ray DVD, DVD, 2 CD & Blu Ray 5.1 of 1973 album)

USA - 2014 Universal CD (Promo)

USA - 2014 Universal CD (Promo)

Germany - 2014 Universal CD

5 Disc Limited Edition box set (Blu Ray DVD, DVD, 2 CD & Blu Ray 5.1 of 1973 album)

Japan - 2014 Universal CD (Outer Box)

Japan - 2014 Universal CD

5 Disc Limited Edition box set (Blu Ray DVD, DVD, 2 SHMCD & Blu Ray 5.1 of 1973 album)

Japan - 2014 Universal CD (Promo Box Only)

Japan - 2014 Universal CD (Promo)

Japan - 2014 Universal CD (Promo)

Japan - 2014 Universal DVD (Promo)

Mexico - 2014 Universal CD

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Album: Quadrophenia Live In London

LPs (vinyl) Sampled: n/a

CDs Sampled: n/a

LP Comments: n/a

Summary and Other Comments: Recorded live in London, 2013

About: Quadrophenia Live In London

I bought the CD, DVD and Blu Ray all at the same time. As most of you know, I'm not much of a "video guy" - mostly because I don't have the time/patience to sit in front of a TV and actually watch something (vs. "background noise") and personally, I prefer my music "in the car" (music and driving go together) or to work out to (which is the case here). Hence, I fully expected to open the CD and leave the other 2 sealed and use them as "window dressing" for my website...  

<All that>
that being said, I was looking forward to playing the CD.  

For those of you who don't know, "A Quick One" and "Quadrophenia" are my 2 favorite Who albums. In 1996/97, I saw the live show at least 10 times and in 2012/13 at least 3 times (I'm like 1,000 years old now and tinnitus and concerts don't mix well). All of this was fantastic and as a Who fan - very, very special. I had hoped that
the shows would be issued as encore CDs and unfortunately, *none* of them were.  

"Quadrophenia - Live In London"

(BTW - if you start to get "disappointed by what you are reading in the CD review, make sure you read all the way to the DVD review - they are VERY different)...

The CD has a BIG sound that fills your speakers. I like that!  

However, as excited as I was to be playing it, I began to notice something's that were terribly wrong...  

The mastering on this CD is overly compressed. Right below the lead vocals (which are very strong throughout the show), there's a tidal wave of compression. Personally, I hate compression. It's artificial and it distracts from the "listening experience". It has the effect of "blending" elements (guitars, bass drums) together as one - and what's the point of that??? Some folks may not understand its affect, but I pick up on things like this immediately.  

The bass sound is all wrong. The bass here sounds more like a Paul McCartney (deep bass) sound, vs. a John Entwistle (twangy bass) sound. Pino plays "Quadrophenia" more like John (vs Paul).  

The guitars... hMMM... "Quadrophenia" is a guitar album. LOTS of guitar work. This CD's mix features strong lead vocals, drums and bass. The guitars tend to "come and go" (sometimes front and center, other times buried in the mix). My first thoughts were that this was "Roger's revenge" for Pete mixing the lead vocals down in the 1973 "Quadrophenia" album mix...  

Other comments...  

Roger was in good form throughout the concert.  

Speaking of mix issues - nobody thought to "bounce the lead vocals" of Pete and Roger from left to right channels on "Helpless Dancer" - both vocals are centered! Small touches like that are important, yet here, just ignored...  

This was the first time I heard Scott Devours play with The Who - great job Scott!

While I still prefer the live "Quadrophenia" with the sensational Jodi Linscott adding the depth of sound as she did in 1996 - Scott nailed it.  

Faults and all, I enjoyed listening to the CD. However, I would have liked it much better if it were an "accurate presentation" vs. a "studio recreation" of something "different"...  

So... (good news!)  

A while back I had hooked up a DVD player to my workout stereo system. I was reviewing the "Encore" series CDs from 2006/07 and wanted to see if the DVDs were the same mix or different. As it turns out - they were different! However, I never had a TV monitor in-line with the system and the player needed to be setup in 2.0 mode, which you can't do without pressing buttons and watching the results on the screen. Because I had a keen interest in "Quadrophenia - Live In London", I made the final connections...  

HUGE DIFFERENCE!!!  

The DVD is night and day better than the CD. It's the same mix (which you will read about further on), but the mastering is 1,000% better. All that unneeded compression is GONE. Without the compression, the instruments are cleaner, more distinct and natural sounding. The bass sounds more like what was heard in concert - overall - MUCH more enjoyable to listen to. Me, who NEVER plays DVDs, watched the entire thing (over a few days while working out) and it was great!  

The mix is still problematic. More obvious on the DVD - since you can actually watch Pete and Simon playing guitar, but not actually hear anything (at times) coming out of the speakers...  

My first thought was that no real concern was given to the 2.0 mix vs. the 5.1 mix. (i.e. it was made for DVD and the CD was an afterthought).  

After listening to the 2.0 (CD & DVD), I brought the DVD down to my stereo room, where I have a 5.1 set up. Sure enough, in 5.1 all the guitars you want - although from my perspective, I have no intention of listening to this in 5.1. The sound quality on my workout stereo system is 100,000 times better than my 5.1 system - my only point here was to "figure out" what was going on with the guitars in the mix.  

It seems that they mixed this concert specifically to get a good 5.1 effect, but when "collapsed" back to 2.0, it doesn't sound exactly right because the guitars aren't where they should be in the mix. I'm not sure why they did it this way, but it is what it is...  

Again, extremely enjoyable to watch/listen to, but the "guitar thing" is unfortunate...  

The other observation I'd like to make about the DVD is that the "camera perspective" was too centered on Roger, Pete and the action on the overhead screens. While Pete and Roger may be the only surviving members of The Who - there was a whole band on stage and I found it odd that there was so little of them on camera.  

So, in essence, I'm strongly recommending the DVD over the CD and in spite of the "issues", I really loved listening to "Quadrophenia" live like this...   So, if you haven't already - figure out what format is best for you and enjoy!


Track Listing: I Am the Sea, The Real Me, Quadrophenia, Cut My Hair, The Punk and the Godfather, I'm One, The Dirty Jobs, Helpless Dancer, Is It In My Head?, I've Had Enough, 5:15, Sea and Sand, Drowned, Bell Boy, Doctor Jimmy, The Rock, Love Reign O'er Me, Who Are You, You Better You Bet, Pinball Wizard, Baba O'Riley, Won't Get Fooled Again, Tea & Theatre

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