About: View From A Backstage Pass
This CD came out when I was deep in tinnitus hell.
I recall playing it about once before this and putting it on the shelf
To obtain this CD, you had to join thewho.com for a $50 membership. Then
they sent you this CD and a "Wholigans" T-Shirt (Wholigans??? That's a
bit too silly even for me! How embarrassing!)
Shortly after the CDs went out, a "witch hunt" of sorts took place on
It seems that one of the members, took their CD and put it on eBay (I
tried bidding on it and lost - there's nothing like having a "spare"
This created "outrage" from the manager who was "ruining", I
mean "running" the site. He was determined to "find out" who had the
***audacity*** to put their CD on eBay and made his "witch hunt" very
public - whereas when he found the "culprit", he was going to "throw
him/her off of thewho.com" and "ban him/her"...
hMMM... Watching all of this going on, I'm thinking to myself, RUFKM???
Did the person who received this CD sign any sort of "contract" which
forbids its future sale? Was it anyone's business what the person did
with this CD (other than its rightful owner)???
Think about it, you own a CD (purchased, gifted, traded, whatever) -
isn't it your right to do as you please with it within the scope of the
law (i.e. you don't have the right to bootleg it)???
Not according to the manager. He wanted to make a spectacle out
of this "incident" (which quite frankly had nothing to do with him or
thewho.com) and "out" this person publicly like a
Salem Witch Trial.
I will break this mini-review into a "Disc 1" and "Disc 2" kinda thing
since the material on these discs is from different concerts and each
disc has its own "sound and feel" to some extent.
One thing consistent between both discs - I consider these "roughly
mixed" vs. "fully mixed" - I'll try to explain what I mean by that as
you read on...
Disc 1 contains primarily tracks from
Hull 1970 and San Francisco 1971.
What I found most fascinating were the
Hull tracks (Happy Jack, I'm A Boy, A
Quick One While He's Away). The mix sounded nothing like "Keith Moon
Band" mix from the 2012 CD (which was also featured on the 2010 "Live At
Leeds" box set). The mix was more like
Live At Leeds (as it should be), but not
as "defined" (or "refined"). I refer to this as a "rough mix" (not to be
confused with the Pete Townshend album title) as you can tell someone
moved the levers on the mixing board, but didn't "fine tune it" to
I actually prefer the "rough mix" of
Hull to the "wrong mix" of
Hull. Listening to the
Hull tracks on this disc was wonderful
as opposed to "WTF"???
As I was listening to "good
Hull" (and enjoying it), I had to wonder
the whole time, how they screwed the mix up so badly on the "official
Was it due to the "taking the bass parts from
Leeds" on the first several tracks and
as a result, having to mix down the bass for the rest of the concert to
make this work???
IF (just a theory) this were true - what a STUPID thing to do! Rather
than "import" John Entwistle's bass from one concert to "complete"
another concert for release, but while doing so screw up the entire mix,
they would have been better off using
Pino Palladino (or
an equally talented session bassist - who could copy John's style and
"add the bass back" for those 3-4 tracks).
What's the lesser of the "evils" ? Replacement bassist for 3-4 tracks
and have an otherwise fantastic concert? Or, have "genuine" bass from
John Entwistle (from a different concert) on this concert (which is
mixed lower than John would ever have played at that period) and have a
completely disappointing mix for the rest of the concert (on CD)?
The other theory is that someone just wanted a mix of the "Keith Moon
Band" and <Riker>'d it up.
Crazy, isn't it?
"Magic Bus" is from Colorado, 1970. I can see why John was "bored" by
playing this. I actually liked this version, although it went on
and on forever. Very different from
Live At Leeds and very different from
Dallas '89. Sort of a long jam, but without the "heavy pounding" that
into... You sort of "wait for something to happen" (like "Leeds") but it
never seems to. That's OK, it's not "good or bad", just different.
Onto the San Francisco tracks (I Can't Explain, Substitute, My Wife,
Behind Blue Eyes, Bargain, Baby Don't You Do It). These tracks are just
great. This concert was originally recorded with intention for release,
but never happened. Several tracks have been previously released and
again, benefit from a more detailed mix (vs. the "rough mix") - but
these don't sound "bad" in anyway - just not as "refined". Very
listenable, very enjoyable... (Where's the rest of this concert???) :)
Things start to "fall apart" here...
Where the "rough mix" worked well enough for Disc 1, it doesn't work
I suspect this is partially due to how some of the material on disc 2
was recorded. The 1973 tracks were recorded by the
King Biscuit Flower Hour
(The Punk Meets The Godfather, 5:15, Won't Get Fooled Again) - most of
us are familiar with the whole Largo/Philly/Whatever tracks from either
"on the air",
Wolfgang's Vault or
Is this the best (or only ???) thing they have in the vaults from
1973??? A person with better attention to detail on the mixing console
*may* have made these tapes sound much better = MAYBE. I don't know. I
do know that those particular King Biscuits weren't recorded as well as
they could be.
Charlton 1974 (Young Man Blues, Tattoo, Boris The Spider, Naked
Eye/Let's See Action/My Generation Blues). These tracks seem to vary a
bit. I didn't like the sound of the vocals in "Young Man Blues" and a
few of the other tracks. I'm thinking again this "rough mix" doesn't
work well here. To me, if the vocals don't work, nothing works well.
Great performances, but in need of more refinement to put each
performance (vocals, drums, bass, guitar) in the proper sound field and
The rest of the tracks came from Swansea 1976. These tracks sound about
the same as Charlton (above), with the same mixing/refinement issues.
I'm thinking if a little more time and effort went into the production
of the CD; it may have been "outstanding" versus "questionable".
Personally, I prefer *not* to pick at things and pull them apart. I much
rather sit back and "enjoy the music" (like I do for so much of The Who
catalog). Things seem to happen to some of these recordings that make no
Hull). Oh well...
BTW - I know I left off comments of the first track, "Fortune Teller"
(from Michigan 1969). Why? Once you've listened to the
Leeds version, is this one any better or
significantly different? Nope. Next track for me. Sorry!