The Who - Live At Leeds - 40th Anniversary Super-Deluxe Collectors’ Edition

It is an astonishing forty years since the release of one of the most iconic and best live albums ever recorded, The WhoLive At Leeds which captures one of the greatest bands of any era at their scintillating best and, to an army of music fans around the world, put the northern city of Leeds firmly on the musical map. Yet it could have all been so different had things gone to plan.

Riding the crest of a wave after the release of Tommy and an astonishing performance at the Woodstock festival, The Who embarked on a UK tour and were set to record the event by recording and releasing an album of their gig in Hull. When they went to the tapes of that night’s performance John Entwistle’s bass parts were missing so they had no choice but to go to the back-up recording made at Leeds University the previous night and the rest, as they say, is history.

Fast forward to 2010 and the Hull tapes have been revisited and it was discovered that, with the exception of the first reel containing the first four tracks, the recording was actually complete. Some technological wizardry has now been utilised to repair the Hull tapes with the missing bass parts being added from the Leeds recording to create an alternative vision of history – The WhoLive At Hull. It's magick I tell thee.

This super-deluxe 40th anniversary edition is a beautifully packaged boxset that, along with a vinyl reproduction of the original LP, hardback book and a plethora of other items, presents both shows in their entirety across 4 CDs. The Who enthusiasts around the world over will no doubt be poring over the differences in the shows and trying to decide which is best but for anyone but the most hardcore of fans, the Hull show is unlikely to be anything more than a curio, especially when you consider that it is the exact same set as at Leeds excepting for ‘Magic Bus’, a song that provides the stunning finale to the original LP release.

The heavyweight vinyl reproduction of said LP, if listened to alone, shows just why The Who are regarded as one of, if not , the greatest live bands of all time. Side one has a selection of cover versions along with just one Who original, ‘Substitute', yet they make them their own to such a degree that there is little desire to revisit the originals. Amazingly, Side two is even better with an astonishing take of 'My Generation'. Expanded to a mind melting 15 minutes with snatches of 'See Me, Feel Me', 'Listening To You', 'The Seeker' and more, it is a blueprint for how to perform a medley in the rock format. After the extended wigout of the aforementioned 'Magic Bus' you are left breathless and in no doubt as to why this album has been so critically lauded.

This will undoubtedly make a fantastic Christmas present for The Who nut in your family and will be loved like a long lost brother by its new owner. If, however, you merely want to hear The Who at their peak then the standard remastered edition of Live At Leeds is available for a much less wallet bothering price.

Overall

8

out of 10

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