"THE WHO' S LIVE AT LEEDS"
personal, brutal review on the "LIVE RECORD" of a generation
Few albums embodied the hard rock live performance like
The Who's "Live at
Leeds". Or, better to say, THE live performance
itself, in its purest form.
And few groups could boast such an inimaginable and
apparently relentless power like The Who showcase here on stage. In a few words,
"The Who's Live at Leeds" stands for THE definitive
Live rock album. In the truest sense of the word.
Nothing more but a little applauses, it has to be said as a curiosity, between a
song and the other, just music, loud music, which furtherly strenghtened and
endured the group's music. Sometimes you've got the impression the atmosphere is
somewhat tense but also terrificly full of suspense, deep emotion and drama, due
principally to Pete Townshend brutal and eclectic
rhythm guitar, capable of giving "voice" and great depth, nevertheless
a certain texture and feel; not to mention Roger Daltrey's aggressive and
full-throat vocals and the incredible bass by John Entwhistle, the real eye of
this threatening and unstoppable hurricane of music. And why should we forget
Moon, with no shadow of a doubt the archetipal of the
crazy, moody drummer.
His fury as well as versatile drumming find here the
delivering his very own ever-lastingnaughty-boy
personality. Yet, a truly inspired live set, with some eerie moments, musically
speaking, as the "My generation"-medley vividly shows off. It really
appears to be a musical form of captivity, an angry and breathtaking live
which literally blazes and rocks you in a devastating,
impressing way, eclipsing many other contemporaries, only much more rumorous but
far less competitive in imagination and versatility.
Listen, for example, to the magnificent and incredibly
powerful version of the blues classic "Young man blues", with a
thundering Daltrey, seeming to vomit his vocals on your fragile ears. And do
listen to how Pete Townshend's power-chords roar and seem to split the air,
giving the way to an archetipal hard-rock performance (he was the inventor of
the "power-chords" which
basically represent the guitar skeleton of the modern
heavy-metal; just pay attention to Ritchie Blackmore's rhythm guitar, for
example, in "Highway star"). This was 1970, and this was, most of all,
The Who at their very best. Try to compare this heavy-rock triumph with other
milestones of some of their contemporaries such as Led
Zeppelin, Deep Purple or
Black Sabbath, to cite what it is meant for "hard-rocking".
That's true, sheer original hard rock. Daltrey seems to wish to emulate,
sometimes, his just as famous colleague by the name of Robert Plant, as far as a
vocal expressivity is concerned. And he does very well, there's no
objection about this. And Townshend is the indisputable
leader of this superb pack: he dominates the scene and he sets all the bands'
moods, creating a musical picture rich of obscurity, sensitivity, sweetness and
brutality at the same time, changing his mood and his purposes at the
right time and, well, in the right place. Rarely a live
record is so concise and to the point, perfect! – every track seems to be the
ideal following to the previous one, especially Side B,
which is purported to be the Who's musical triumph,
whether it is their
iconoclastic instrumentalism, or their irresistible and
very well-known showmanship on stage.
A must-have, and maybe much more, for any Rock fans.
This is, and forever will be, THE Who's live album.
Accept no substitute!
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