Design By Humans
Published On: Wed, Jan 21st, 2015

The Who: Who’s Next Deluxe Edition

whos next deluxeThe Who
Who’s Next Deluxe Edition
(Geffen Records)

Not that Who’s Next isn’t one of the greatest rock albums of all time, with this deluxe edition we get the original album, plus a wealth of extra wonderful stuff that makes this seminal rock release even sweeter.

“Baby Don’t You Do It” is a new tune to this album, a jamming remake featuring Keith Moon’s loose yet spectacular snare/bass drum return under Daltrey’s rough vocals. There are also songs (“Water,” “Naked Eye”) intended for what was originally Pete Townshend’s sprawling Lifehouse project, which deteriorated to become Who’s Next and were left off this album. There are also 2003 remixes of the original album’s “Getting In Tune,” “Pure And Easy,” “Love Ain’t For Keeping,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” I appreciate the attempt to update these classics, but really these songs never did need to be remixed.

Disc two is where the real extra magic happens though. This is a live set of The Who taken from their infamous 4/26/1971 show at London’s Old Vic Theatre, where Townshend attempted to unveil Lifehouse for the first time in front of an audience. It reveals a heavy, hard Who trotting out these difficult tunes, a band in fine form…especially Daltrey, whose voice maybe never has sounded sweeter.

It starts with a blisteringly heavy “Love Ain’t For Keeping” and rolls through a non-Lifehouse track, “Young Man Blues” (a scarier version appears on The Who’s Live At Leeds). Townshend intros what he calls their new single, a song he feels is an atypical tune, “Behind Blue Eyes.” It’s a stuttering version, Moon on fire behind the whole concoction and the crowd seeming to like it.

Townshend actually scolds the crowd at one point, saying how distracting it is to watch people dance in front of him while the band is trying to play this new music. There is a warbly, electric jangle under a perfect, strong Daltrey vocal, which begins one of the best tunes here, “Too Much Of Anything.” The band is spot-on here with their backing vocals. Then there’s the very quick, but heavy “Getting In Tune” and “Bargain,” followed by Who gems “My Generation,” “(I’m A) Road Runner” just before the pre-recorded loud distinctive keys of “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” open into a fresh crackling version. Entwistle flumps his bass all over, Kieth Moon and Townshend are not even sure when to come back in just before Daltrey screams, but it is a priceless piece of history to hear this tune played for the first time live like this.

Who’s Next Deluxe Edition is spectacular, but for those of us already familiar with this rock and roll masterpiece, how could it be anything but?


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The Who: Who’s Next Deluxe Edition