1971 Final (No Label)
Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, WA. USA 15th December 1971
Disc 1 [47:07]1. I Can’t Explain 2. Substitute 3. Summertime Blues 4. My Wife 5. Behind Blue Eyes 6. Bargain 7. Baby Don’t You Do It 8. Magic Bus
Disc 2 [36:25] 1. Overture 2. Amazing Journey 3. Sparks 4. Pinball Wizard 5. See Me Feel Me 6. My Generation 7. Naked Eye
The Seattle, Washington 12-15-71 show was the last of the “Who’s Next” North American Tour performances. The Who would not perform again in the U.S. until their 11-20-73 San Francisco concert during their “Quadrophenia’ tour. The Seattle show is incomplete as it is missing “Baba O’ Riley” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.
This no label release is a rather rough but listenable good – to, at times, very good audience mono recording that emits a constant low level hiss that one will get used to. The percussion is generally distorted and muffled. The vocals tend to distort intermittently as well. The gain is quite good and the bass is surprisingly somewhat defined. The performance, however, is strong and spirited.
The Who begin to let it out after “Summertime Blues” as Daltrey states: “This is a song that we like playing on stage very much and it’s called “My Wife” as they tear into this 6:30 minute track. Townshend extends this track with furious guitar riffs while Moon is lashing out on the drums. Unfortunately, we are not able to easily decipher the breadth of Moon’s contributions due to the recording limitations.
“Behind Blue Eyes” is introduced as “a very soft respectable song” and Daltrey sounds great just accompanied by the guitar at the onset. Moon’s drumming can be heard in improved clarity for a few fleeting seconds on “Bargain” but then the recording quality reverts to the muddiness as before forcing us to try and imagine how great this track could have sounded as it comes to a wild finish with tremendous applause.
Daltrey introduces “Baby Don’t You Do It” by stating: “This is a number that we used to play in London 7 years ago…” which exhibits a good bit of distortion though offers some definition on the low end. This 7:28 minute track, however, is indicative of one great jam. “Magic Bus” is marred by distorted vocals but the rhythm section is absolutely solid and this great 10:14 minute version, nonetheless, is compelling.
Townshend comes out saying: “Before we quit tonight…before we quit tonight much later on…we played 4 weeks on the road in America and we’ve done some heavy gigs man and you’re the best audience. I wholly mean it. We dedicate the past, the present, and the future of what we’re about to play for you…Tommy” as they break into the “Overture”. The Who continue to play at a torrid pace and deliver a rousing 5:48 minute “See Me Feel Me”. “Naked Eye” is vintage Who with all the acouterments as this overall dazzling Who performance comes to a rousing close.
This no label release comes with tasteful colorful inserts and presents as a trying listen at times but captures the Who close to the peak of their live performances. I would certainly and without reservations recommend this performance with improved fidelity, though I can honestly say that I did not experience listening fatigue here, all things considered.