Anaheim 1976 Jon Wizardo Master Cassette Tape (No Label)
Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, CA, USA – March 21, 1976
Disc 1 (38:22) Intro, I Can’t Explain, Substitute, My Wife, Baba O’Riley, Squeeze Box, Behind Blue Eyes, Dreaming From The Waist, Magic Bus
Disc 2 (52:13) MC, Amazing Journey, Sparks, Acid Queen, Fiddle About, Pinball Wizard, I’m Free, Tommy’s Holiday Camp, We’re Not Gonna Take It, See Me Feel Me, Summertime Blues, My Generation, Join Together, Roadrunner, Won’t Get Fooled Again
The Who would perform the majority of their live dates in 1976 in North America, two major legs the first beginning in March, the second in October with a short mini tour in August. There would also be a few select dates in Europe and the United Kingdom, these dates in 1976 would be the last major touring the band would do with Keith Moon. Despite a shaky start in Boston, the tour found the band building on the success of the previous year and despite the lack of new music, the band was playing at a high level.
The band played several large stadiums in 1976, the March 21 Anaheim Stadium date would be the only stadium date on the first leg, the band drew 55,000 fans with an under card featuring Rufus and Little Feat. The excellent Concert File book states that Pete Townsend suffered immediate and noticeable hearing loss right from the beginning. So far the only known recording to surface from this gig comes from famed bootlegger Jon Wizardo, it is his recording that would make its way to the masses via the vinyl titles Anaheim Stadium ’76 (Unknown) and Who’s On First? (Haden Hock Records IMP 111). There would also be an issue of Who’s On First? as a picture disc by Idle Mind with the same catalog number, a great pic of Keith looking rather seductive. Jon’s recording would make its way to compact disc in 2011 as Who’s On First? (No Label) featuring the Haden cover to boot.
Jon’s recording falls in the very good category, being recorded some distance from the stage it is a bit thin sounding, the atmosphere of being in a large outside stadium is well captured. There is no distortion and all the instruments and vocals are clear in the well balanced mix, the distance being the only real issue. There is very minimal tape hiss and the source of this recording is Jon’s master tape, a plus since the previous CD title was a transfer of the Haden vinyl title. I do not have the old title but can assume that this is an upgrade, based upon Gerard’s review of the no label title, there is still a cut during We’re Not Gonna Take It which is found on the master tape.
By this point The Who had a standard setlist that would be used throughout the year with very little change, sadly Slip Kid was in the set at the beginning of the year but by this time was dropped. Gerard’s statement of a rambunctious crowd is true, one fan’s memory was of being close to Pete’s side and fans who could not handle the crush were being passed over the barricade and on to safety. Perhaps that is why Jon’s recording is distant, recording first. I Can’t Explain and Substitute are perfect openers, classic Who to get the ball rolling, Baba O’Riley being early in the set really gets it going, teenage wasteland is a proper rally cry. The crowd really come alive during a very powerful Behind Blues Eyes. Two songs from the band’s then recent album By Numbers are in the set, Squeeze Box sounds a little Pop, Dreaming From The Waste is superb, Entwistle’s bass lines in the song are thundering and incredibly powerful.
After a quick tape flip the band get into the rhythmic jam of Magic Bus most notable for some excellent harmonica playing by Roger Daltrey. Next up is the Tommy segment which garners a loud ovation from the crowd. Amazing Journey gets the ball rolling but it’s a stomping version of Sparks, full of power chords and feedback perfection, Keith’s drumming is very good seemingly nailing those famous fills. Pinball Wizard thrills the crowd and Roger has a great vocal in I’m Free, singing quite powerfully. It’s fun to hear the crowd react to the performance, cheering after Roger sings “smoking mother nature…this is a bust”, there is a small cut at the 2:13 mark of We’re Not Gonna Take it, the last tape flip of the evening. See Me, Feel Me brings Tommy to a rapturous close, the 55,000 strong give the band a standing ovation.
A rollicking Summertime Blues is played, it’s always sunny in Southern California, followed by an epic My Generation in jam mode. Join Together is played riffier and bluesy with much success leading into a snippet of Bo Diddley’s Roadrunner, just a quick bridge to the concert finale of Won’t Get Fooled Again, played to a very appreciative audience. So charged up, those near The Wizardo clap along for the entire song giving a massive ovation at its conclusion, like Gerard says the recording ends quickly after the song, any closing remarks by the band certainly lost to time. A fine performance.
The packaging is standard No Label, the inserts features mostly live shots from what I assume is the actual concert itself, the ticket stub and event poster are also immortalized as well, an excellent visual presentation. The pictures on the CD’s is the same as the rear cover, all very nicely housed in a slim lined jewel case. Nice to see another of Jon Wizardo’s master recordings getting some love a mere 45 years after the actual event.