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The Who – Tanglewood 1970 (No Label)

Tanglewood 1970 (No Label)

Music Shed, Tanglewood, Lenox, MA, USA – July 7, 1970

Disc 1 (30:44) Intro, Heaven And Hell, I Can’t Explain, Water, I Don’t Even Know Myself, Young Man Blues

Disc 2 (63:04) MC, Overture, It’s A Boy, 1921, Amazing Journey, Sparks, Eyesight To The Blind, Christmas, The Acid Queen, Pinball Wizard, Do You Think It’s Alright?, Fiddle About, Tommy Can You Hear Me?, There’s A Doctor, Go To The Mirror!, Smash The Mirror, Miracle Cure, I’m Free, Tommy’s Holiday Camp, We’re Not Gonna Take It, See Me Feel Me, My Generation

The Who toured North America in the summer of 1970 playing 22 dates in medium and major markets to capacity crowds. They had just released their now iconic live album, Live At Leeds on May 23, culled from a performance just three months prior. It was a simple affair compared to the complex “Rock Opera” Thomas and would stand as a bench mark for what a live album was, and standard bands still strive for today. The final date on the tour was at the Music Shed at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, MA. The venue had been sporadically used by concert promoter Bill Graham, who was known for his eclectic bills that would blend different musical genres. The bill for this concert was rather straight forward, The Who was the headline act over Jethro Tull and It’s A Beautiful Day. Graham would also video record many of the acts that appeared at his venues, the recording of this performance by The Who is one of the most vivid documents of the band from this era, surprisingly it has never seen a full official release.

The audio portion of this concert is the subject of this new release from the No Label folks. The sound is a perfect soundboard recordings, if one did not known you would think it’s an official release. Perfect balance, perfect frequency range, virtually no hiss or signs of over mastering, just incredible sound that’s even better at loud volumes, the one word that sums it up is stunning. There has been one previous release of this material, Tangled Up In Who (Hiawatt CE9802/3), being pressed way back in 1998, long out of print. This new release is promoted as being from a better source so an audio upgrade is certain.

A great Bill Graham intro starts the proceedings, “For us it’s always a privilege…on bass Mr. John Entwistle…on vocals Mr. Roger Daltrey…on drums Mr. Keith Moon…on vocals and lead guitar Mr. Peter Townsend, The Who”… Bill, the pleasure is all ours. The set list is standard to this era, Entwistle’s fabulous Heaven And Hell is the opener, with I Can’t Explain, the new (and as of then unreleased) song Water and Young Man Blues are all regulars. I Don’t Even Know Myself made its debut June 16 in Berkeley and by this point it’s also a regular, taking the spot previously held by The Seeker.

Tommy still makes up a major portion of the set list, the band dropped Sally Simpson from the piece and is the better for it. By this point they had been playing “Thomas” since May 1969 and were very fluent in their delivery. During the intro Pete references playing New York’s Metropolitan Opera House and those concerts being the last performances of Tommy, when in fact they had been playing it this entire tour. This concert at Tanglewood would be the last performance in the United States for 19 years. Being the last concert in the states the band turn a very powerful version, quite focused and the See Me, Feel Me finale brings down the Shed. Pete gives a nice farewell speech at the “Opera’s” conclusion, telling the audience it’s been “THE most enjoyable tour we’ve done of this country” and then they hammer out a devastating version of My Generation, frickin blistering ending to the concert, if this doesn’t get you moving, my friend, nothing will.

The packaging is basic colour inserts with live shots of The Who in action, all very dynamic looking. This is classic Who, Golden haired Daltry, Townsend in his jump suit, Entwistle in his tailored outfits, and a young fit and trim Moonie all over the place. Picture discs and numbered sticker, all the rage. This is an essential Who recording, a very easy listen and a typical 1970 performance, the band were in their stride as a live act cementing this fact for the next decade, and beyond.

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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