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The Who | View From A Backstage Pass:

European Union - 2007 thewho.com CD

Album: View From A Backstage Pass

LPs (vinyl) Sampled: n/a

CDs Sampled: thewho.com (European Union) Note: This is a "subscription only" CD offered by joining www.thewho.com

LP Comments: n/a

Summary and Other Comments: n/a

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 (until now)...

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 thewho.com.

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" copy).

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 perfection.

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 Hull".

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 Leeds develops 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???) :)

Disc 2...

Things start to "fall apart" here...

Where the "rough mix" worked well enough for Disc 1, it doesn't work well here.

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 (bootlegs).

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 order...

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 sense (i.e.
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!

Track Listing:

DISC 1: Fortune Teller, Happy Jack, I'm A Boy, A Quick One While He's Away, Magic Bus, I Can't Explain, Substitute, My Wife, Behind Blue Eyes, Bargain, Baby You Don't Do It

DISC 2: The Punk And The Godfather, 5:15, Won't Get Fooled Again, Young Man Blues, Tattoo, Boris The Spider, Naked Eye/Let's See Action/My Generation Blues, Squeeze Box, Dreaming From The Waist, Fiddle About, Pinball Wizard, I'm Free, Tommy's Holiday Camp, We're Not Gonna Take It, See Me, Feel Me/Listening To You



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