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The Who - Join Together:

UK - 1990 Virgin LP

UK - 1990 Virgin CD

UK - 1990 Virgin Cassette

USA - 1990 MCA LP

USA - 1990 MCA CD

USA - 1990 MCA Cassette (One)

USA - 1990 MCA Cassette (Two)

Australia - 1990 Virgin Cassette

Holland - 1990 Virgin CD

Japan - 1990 Virgin CD

Album: Join Together

LPs (vinyl) Sampled: Virgin (UK), MCA (USA)

CDs Sampled: Virgin (UK), MCA (USA)

LP Comments: The sound quality is similar between the two labels. However, an edge goes to the Virgin (UK) for better vinyl quality.

CD Comments: No noticeable sound differences between the two.

Summary: No noticeable differences sound wise. I would like to compare a Japanese CD in the future.

Other Comments: This album is an odd compilation from the 1989 Who tour, featuring "Tommy" and various songs played along the tour circuit. "Tommy" is mostly tracks from the LA Amphitheater performance but with tracks from Radio City Music Hall substituted where the "guest singers" stepped in. Unfortunately too many "greatest hits" were used for the 2nd half. This tour featured unique performances of "Hey Joe", "Born On The Bayou", acoustic versions of "Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand", "Tattoo" and others which if included, may have really made this a great album.

The album would make a good candidate for remixing. While "Tommy" sounds pretty good "as is", the other songs are a bit on the weak side.

About: Join Together

When you talk about the 1989 Who tour to fans, you get mixed reactions...

Everything to "The Who on Ice" to "Wow!"

I will go with the "Wow!"...

I saw The Who for the very first time in
November, 1982. Shortly thereafter, they broke up! Aside from a few solo John Entwistle shows, Roger's mini tour in NJ and NY and Pete "on TV" (Deep End Live 1986) - what did we get live performances> from "The Who" other than a technical meltdown during their broadcast at Live Aid?

I for one was *extremely* happy to "get a wrist band", wait on line and get tickets to 4 sold out shows at
Giants Stadium as well as be fortunate enough to get 4 tix to see Tommy at the Radio City Music Hall (which my ex-boss paid for, thank you very much!)

Did I care that they had a few "extra" musicians on stage or that Pete Townshend was "the man in the glass booth"?

No, I could care less. I was extremely happy to have the opportunity to see The Who and if that's what Pete needed to help protect his hearing - I think that's a fair tradeoff. (You know the scene in
My Cousin Vinny where he weighs the choices between collecting the $200 or getting his "ass kicked"? It's like... Pete on electric or Pete *not* going deaf... - I will chose the latter each time. It's a CONCERT folks.)

The
Radio City Show was fantastic. Who would have dreamed (back then), that The Who would play Tommy ?

The
Giants Stadium shows were also unbelievable. These shows ran about 4 hours or so. They began with a medley from Tommy and went on to play Who songs, cover songs (i.e. "I'm A Man", "Hey Joe", "Love Hurts", "Bare Footin' ", etc..) and Who solo songs (i.e. "Too Late The Hero", "Face The Face", "A Little Is Enough", "A Friend Is A Friend", etc.). The set lists varied somewhat each night - it was really great!

When it came time to plan "the album of the tour", the record company wanted to release a
Tommy with a "best of" LP/CD set and was vacillating between "Radio City" and the LA Universal Amphitheatre shows. Radio City was easy as The Who played Tommy straight through, but in LA, they had all the "guest artists" and it wasn't their intention to release a "guest artist" CD, but rather a Who CD. The other issue was that the Radio City show was broadcast live on FM radio and the LA show was broadcast on TV via Pay-Per-View. So no matter what they did, fans already had some type of copy of both shows. Ultimately, they chose the LA show and used the Radio City parts where the guest artists sang in LA. At the time, I thought it was a pretty good idea, but in retrospect, the Radio City show was stronger (The Who played Tommy right through) while the flow in LA was somewhat interrupted by the guest artists coming on and off stage... (Radio City also featured The Who singing, "It's A Boy", while in LA and used on "Join Together" was Chyna singing "It A Boy"! - no typo!)

One of the problems for the record company was picking what tracks to use. There were many and they were quite diverse. Unfortunately, the record companies always seem to have a "best of" mentality as if only "hit songs" sell records/CDs. What exactly was the "hit" song on
Live At Leeds when it came out in 1970??? The album *created* hit songs. Then of course there's always the royalty issues - If you use a song like "Hey Joe" - you may need to pay royalties to whomever owns the copyright. Here's where the fans don't really "have a chance".

The non-
Tommy track listing is:

Eminence Front, Face the Face, Dig, I Can See For Miles, A Little Is Enough, 5:15, Love Reign O'er Me, Trick of the Light, Rough Boys, Join Together, You Better You Bet, Behind Blue Eyes, Won't Get Fooled Again

As you can see, a bit heavy with the Pete solo stuff and not really representative of the large/diverse set lists that they played on this tour.

The album sounds good, but could sound so much *better*. Essentially, the composition of the band is more or less Pete's
Deep End band, plus or minus a few players swapped in for Roger and John. However, if you listen to the Deep End (from one of its original sources - the abbreviated CD or the Japanese laser disc with digital sound, etc.) it's actually mixed and mastered better. When they mastered this, they used too much compression, which robs the individual instruments of their definition and unique sound attributes and kind of "blurs" things together. Again, it sounds "decent", but it isn't representative of what the band sounded like on stage (other than on "Trick of the Light" for the non-Tommy tracks, you can't hear John "picking" at his bass - it just kinda blurs together like Paul McCartney bass - and that's not what John sounded like.)

The
Westwood 1 "Tommy" Radio Show (sent to radio stations for rebroadcast in both LP and CD format) actually sound better than this Tommy, except the mix gets funky on "Cousin Kevin" when Billy Nicholls' backing vocals drown out John at one point.

It's kind of doubtful that they will ever revisit this CD, which is kind of a shame because the tour featured so much great stuff, it would be nice to have a package featuring
Radio City (Tommy) and all/most of the different songs they played on tour. It was one of the best set lists the band ever played, but yet not represented in their concert releases...

Maybe someday...

Track Listing: Overture/It's a Boy, 1921, Sparks, Eyesight to the Blind, Christmas, Cousin Kevin, Acid Queen, Do You Think It's Alright?, Fiddle About, Pinball Wizard, There's a Doctor I've Found, Go to the Mirror Boy, Tommy Can You Hear Me, Smash the Mirror, Sensation, Miracle Cure, Sally Simpson, I'm Free, Tommy's Holiday Camp, We're Not Gonna Take It, Eminence Front, Face the Face, Dig, I Can See For Miles, A Little Is Enough, 5:15, Love Reign O'er Me, Trick of the Light, Rough Boys, Join Together, You Better You Bet, Behind Blue Eyes, Won't Get Fooled Again

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