The Dutch Seduction
(Godfather Records GR 820/821)
Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands – September 29th, 1969
Disc 1 (60:23): House announcement, Heaven And Hell, I Can’t Explain, Fortune Teller, Tattoo, Young Man Blues, A Quick One While He’s Away, Substitute, Happy Jack, I’m A Boy, Overture, It’s A Boy, 1921, Amazing Journey, Sparks, Eyesight To The Blind (The Hawker)
Disc 2 (63:05): 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, Sally Simpson, I’m Free, Tommy’s Holiday Camp, We’re Not Gonna Take It, Listening To You / See Me Feel Me, Summertime Blues, Shakin’ All Over, My Generation
The Who’s Tommy wasn’t the first rock opera or even the first sustained narrative in rock form. But it was eagerly anticipated before it was released (Pete Townshend hyped Tommy in his first Rolling Stone interview in the summer of 1968) and was met with enthusiastically positive critical reception when it finally was made public in April 1969.
It had an interesting and personal premise and showed the possibilities of rock being a serious art form (along with work by other artists the same time). The Who incorporated a bit portion of the work into their live set immediately when they toured the UK that spring and the US that summer.
The Who chose the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, for the first performance of the work in continental Europe. It is one of the most acoustically perfect venues in continental Europe and would lend an air of authority to the performance. AVRO, a Dutch broadcasting company, owned the most sophisticated recording equipment in Europe at the time and recorded what would be one of rock’s classic performances.
The band would present their complete concert set. Beginning with John Entwistle’s “Heaven And Hell,” the first third of the show would be devoted to their older songs including “A Quick One While He’s Away,” their first attempt at a rock opera. The middle of the show would be an almost complete Tommy, and the finale of the show would be more older songs and their famous jam sessions.
The recording has been released many times before dating back to the days of vinyl. It also became a perennial on compact disc. Some of the best releases include Amazing Journey on Hiwatt (NL-69 A/B) (which has amazing sound quality but with the songs in the wrong order, Unbelievable Fantastic (Rockmasters RMC-007AB) and The Complete Amsterdam 1969 (Seymour Record-014/15), both with great sound and in the correct running order.
The Dutch Seduction is Godfather’s first Who release and sounds just as good as Rockmasters and Seymour. It is quite simply a beautiful recording with unbelievably fantastic dynamics, presence and atmosphere. Even casual Who fans need a copy of this in the collection. Since the two Japanese releases are hard to find, this is a welcome title.
After the announcements (in Dutch and English) the band hit the stage with “Heaven And Hell” and “I Can’t Explain.” Townshend introduces “Fortune Teller” as a song that the Rolling Stones among others have also covered. The performance segues effortlessly into “Tattoo.”
Before “Young Man Blues” Pete explains, “A couple of people have asked us why we chose to play in Amsterdam for the first major opera house performance of Tommy and the answer quite simply is we like it. Not being at all factitious. It’s probably more average of what Europe is like than London…You are the first.”
The Mose Allison cover follows in its bombastic glory. Townshend gets into a long exposition about “A Quick One,” trying to explain what a girl guide is and the plot of the story. Keith Moon is looning behind him, acting like a lech at the very mention of the girl’s blue knickers. When Townshend gets to the end of the explanation, speaking about the forgiveness part, he jokes about how modern that is.
After “Substitute” and “Happy Jack,” they start the Tommy suite. Some of the tracks are played out of sequence in reference to the official studio version with “Pinball Wizard” being moved up after “The Acid Queen” and “Tommy Can You Hear Me?” placed before “There’s A Doctor.”
Much of the piece has been played live since the spring and is very tight and exciting. But the newer pieces are a bit shaky. This is especially true for “Sally Simpson” which has a very tentative vocal performance by Roger Daltrey.
Only after the main event of the evening do the band relax a bit and deliver a startling version of “Shakin’ All Over” (which also contains a reference to “Smokestack Lightening”) before Townshend begins his feedback windmills over Moon’s violent beats. “My Generation” is played as a rare encore with a reprise of “See Me/Feel Me,” “Pinball Wizard” and other leitmotifs from the rock opera to bring the concert full circle before leading into a haze of distorted atonal fuzz and a restatement of the Tommy theme.
After this show the band would fly to New York to start another tour of the US but would return to continental Europe in early 1970 for further concerts including another date at the Concertgebouw on January 30th, 1970. The Dutch Seduction is packaged in a tri-fold gatefold sleeve with a groovy cover! Let’s hope Godfather will keep The Who concerts coming!