Danger! Over Head Live Wires (Mainstream MAST-104/105)
Lyceum, London, England – November 12th, 1973
Disc 1 (61:34): I Can’t Explain, Summertime Blues, My Generation, I Am The Sea, The Real Me, The Punk And The Godfather, I’m One, Helpless Dancer, 5.15, Sea And Sand, Drowned, Bell Boy
Disc 2 (62:35): Doctor Jimmy, The Rock, Love Reign O’er Me, My Generation, Won’t Get Fooled Again, See Me Feel Me, Magic Bus, Spoonful
Quadrophenia is considered one of greatest rock concept albums. And what better way to hear it than performed live in front of a London audience at the piece’s inception? After playing several concerts in northern England and a short US tour, the band played seven concerts at the end of 1973 to promote this most English of albums.
This new release on Mainstream documents the November 12th concert in the small venue The Lyceum. (The band had not played there since 1968 and it was obvious it was inadequate for their latest stage show). Despite that the show is delivered with the usual fire and fury inherent in the material. After beginning the set with three “oldie but goodies”, they launch upon the Quadrophenia set with “I Am The Sea”.
Townshend plays the role of mc explaining the story between the songs to present a coherent narrative. One of the characteristics of this show is the constant yelling and heckling towards the stage.
After “Punk & The Godfather”, for example, Townshend tells the audience: “That song was all about when the hero goes to a rock concert. He queues up, pays his money, and he decides he’s gonna go and see the stars backstage as they come out the stage door. And one of them comes up and says ‘fuck off’. And he suddenly realizes that there’s nothing really happening in rock and roll. It’s just another cross on his list. But he thinks a lot about the other side.”
Again, shouting from the audience interrupts Townshend: “Why don’t you fucking shut up?” he continues. “Go and f***ing see someone else, man. Or come up here and rock yourself. I’m talking, aren’t I?”
The middle third of the show reaches an exciting climax with “The Rock” and “Love Reign O’er Me” that leaves the crowd breathless! The latter third of the set list consists of older crowd pleasers (except “Pinball Wizard”, dropped this evening).
Townshend extends “My Generation” with a furious solo. “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is another classic that gets a wild crowd reaction, and an improv based around “Spoonful” that brings the show to a riotous close.
Danger! Over Head Live Wires contains the complete concert. The quality is about the same as a previous release on Mainstream Can Anyone Out There Play The Drums? It is clear and listenable but taped a distance from the stage. It sounds much better under headphones where you can hear the stage announcements between songs. This release is definitely aimed for the Who collector who wants to hear this rare show.