The Who – New Jersey 1982 (Maximum R-B W-101082)
Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ, USA – October 10, 1982
Disc 1 (64:31) Intro, My Generation, I Can’t Explain, Dangerous, Sister Disco, The Quiet One, It’s Hard, Eminence Front, Behind Blue Eyes, Baba O’Riley, Drowned, Athena, Cry If You Want
Disc 2 (54:08) Audience, Who Are You, Pinball Wizard, See Me Feel Me, 5:15, Love Reign O’er Me, Long Live Rock, Substitute, Won’t Get Fooled Again, Summertime Blues, Twist And Shout
Last year four soundboard’s appeared that document The Who’s farewell tour of 1982. Who fans could rejoice with these releases as there were very few non official releases culled from the tour and while there was an official LP (Who’s Last) and a live pay per view, most fans felt that the energy of the tour was not well represented. The Who had actually made a successful transition into the new decade thanks to two solid records, 1981’s Face Dances and its follow up a year later, It’s Hard, but depression and addiction by Townsend made him feel that the Who was no longer a creative force and the guitarist would prefer to take a stab as a solo artist.
The first of the four soundboard comes from New Jersey and finds the band a couple of weeks into the tour and this concert is played just prior to two massive dates at New York City’s Shea Stadium. The sound quality is excellent, full stereo recording with a close to perfect blend of instruments, if anything Roger’s vocals do fluctuate from perfect to low and at times there is just a minor amount of hiss present but when you crank it up it sounds incredible. The audience is not as loud as official release but they can be heard giving some ambience to the proceedings.
The band hit the stage with My Generation, much to the audience’s delight, Roger’s vocals do float around a bit, from perfect to low for this song and everyone’s vocals are low during I Can’t Explain, musically the band is a force to be reckoned with, Entwistle’s bass has a nice fat sound. The opening salvo gets a huge response from the audience. The band would play a good portion of It’s Hard, the first is Dangerous and the song does not stray far from the record version, keyboards from Tim Gorman are well in the mix. A song that I have always loved is played next, Sister Disco from the Who Are You record. I used to have the Rock for Kampuchea on cassette and The Who and Queen’s portion were my favorites, largely thanks to this song from the former. The audience give the song a big ovation when they break into it and during the choruses also. The Quiet One is a force to be reckoned with, it will drag you down with a thundering bass line from Entwistle, this version simply rocks.
The title track It’s Hard, and Eminence Front are played back to back and work well together in the live format, Roger and Pete harmonize on the chorus of It’s Hard to perfection and the band’s playing exudes confidence. There is some distortion at the beginning of Eminence Front lasting from 1:41 to 1:50 and at a couple points through out until the 2:20 mark, the sound engineer quickly clean up the mix. Behind Blue Eyes is typically strong but, for me, the song does not need the keyboards as it softens it up but thankfully the full force of the band come though when they break into the hard “When my fist clenches” segment with Kenny Jones trying hard to do his best Moon impersonation.
While the first half of the concert allows the band to showcase newer material, the second half is all material from the 70’s and features some of their strongest material. Who Are You features some nice guitar work during the middle section as Pete noodles around. See Me, Feel Me is extremely strong and full of dramatic vocals and licks, the band hammer out the ending and are rewarded with a huge ovation at its finale. Long Live Rock is more of a jam session, its loose framework allows the band to kind of do what they want, they take full advantage of this looseness and play a really rock and roll version.
Won’t Get Fooled Again is the culmination of the set, while the band are in full stride you certainly notice the shortcomings of Kenny Jones as he never really puts it together. He is certainly a more technically proficient drummer and the wonderfully erratic style of Moon’s playing is certainly hard to reproduce. Don’t get me wrong, this not an insult but merely an observation. The encores begin with the band’s take in Summertime Blues, a cover that The Who make theirs and IMO the version from Live At Leeds is the definitive version. This version is sadly short and sweet, the band have long abandoned the extended live version commonly played in the 70’s. Twist and Shout ala The Beatles closes out the set in fine fashion, an overall excellent performance by The Who, one that demands repeated listening’s.
The packaging is simple full color inserts adorned with live shots of the band from the tour and the inside center tray insert utilized some of the It’s Hard album cover. The CD’s have pictures on them, again with the kid from the It’s Hard cover and a live shot of Daltrey and Townsend. The folks from Maximum R-B have to be commended for these releases, outstanding quality recordings in simple yet effective packaging and a Who fans wet dream.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)