The Warehouse, New Orleans, LA, USA – November 29, 1971
(79:35) Baba O’Riley, Bargain, Introduction, Behind Blue Eyes, Won’t Get Fooled Again, Baby Don’t You Do It, Magic Bus, Introduction, Overture, Amazing Journey, Sparks, Pinball Wizard, Tune Up, See Me Feel Me, My Generation
By 1971 The Who were a premiere Rock act on both sides of the Atlantic largely due to the success of Tommy and their explosive live act, yet with that success comes monotony. The band had been playing a majority of the record live and would soon feel the need to start to move beyond. Pete began writing music with his new visionary project called Lifehouse, but his futuristic vision would prove too demanding on both himself and the band, they would take the strongest material and release it as Who’s Next in August 1971.
The band had been playing this new material since April when they debut many new songs at the Young Vic and would continue throughout the remaining dates for the rest of 1971 and well into 1972. This new release from Golden Egg documents a concert in New Orleans during a month long tour of the United States in the city of New Orleans. The venue for this performance was the first of two nights the band would play at The Warehouse, a warehouse that was converted into a concert hall and known as the site for Jim Morrison’s final live performance.
The source material for this concert is an incomplete soundboard recording that falls into the very good range. The sound is flat and lacks dynamics, the vocals are in the forefront with the guitar and bass being clear in the mix yet sadly Moon’s drums are buried in the mix sometimes audible sometimes not, the audience is almost non existent in the recording but you don’t really miss them, or at least I didn’t. There has been a previous release of this material, Gutter Punks At A Warehouse (Hiwatt SCWH-001) way back in 1998. The sound on this new title is similar to the old Hiwatt label and is a bit louder and overall cleaner sounding but just a bit louder in the bass frequencies. This is a recording that I would play at a medium sound level as the louder it gets the clarity seems to suffer.
The concert itself is superb, the first part of the concert is missing, I Can’t Explain was the tour opener followed by Substitute, Summertime Blues, and My Wife. The Who would utilize backing tapes to replicate the studio versions of Baba O’Riley and Won’t Get Fooled Again. They seem pleased to be playing the Warehouse, Pete tells the audience “To a band like us there are two choices when we go into a town for the first time…either we can play the local armory or we get a chance to play a place like this…when we first toured the States, this is the kind of places we played in and uh, it’s the first Electric Factory, Kinetic Circus type piss hole we’ve played for a good long time”.
The first part of this recording is all new music, the band are well in sync with the Synthesizer tapes for Baba O’Riley, Roger tells the audience it’s back to the basics Rock n Roll. The maturity of Peter’s songwriting really comes through in Bargain, both musically and lyrically and his playing on this song is aggressive, he seems like he is slashing at his strings with a powerful effect. Behind Blue Eyes is becoming very dynamic and dramatic and the beginning of Won’t Get Fooled Again sounds devastating, the fans in attendance must have had their heads bashed in by the power of the group.
“The key of C”, I like the version of Marvin Gaye’s Baby Don’t You Do It, Entwistle plays some almost funky bass and Moon follows his lead by playing a cymbal infused shuffle meets drumming bombast and the whole thing is surprisingly soulful. Magic Bus follows, and is cut at the 6:50 mark eliminating the rest of the song. Pete’s introduction to the Tommy portion of the concert is absolutely hilarious, the Overture Amazing Journey Sparks is very rhythmic and seems like a long introduction to a dynamic Pinball Wizard and the whole thing gets a nice ovation from the audience. The band need to tune up prior to See Me Feel Me, as soon as Roger sings the first verse the crowd applaud loudly, the song builds in intensity and brings a rousing end to the Tommy segment. An eleven and a half minute version of My Generation follows, I have always found The Who’s form of improvisation to be unique when compared to their contemporaries, based upon sheer power versus individual virtuosity thus bludgeoning the audience to a pulp at the conclusion.
The packaging is the standard tri-gatefold sleeve, the front cover is a great shot of the band that seems to visually describe each member. The rest of the interior and exterior is made up of live shots from the era, there are pictures from The Warehouse that would have made a nice addition, as would one of the concert posters, but I only review these titles, not design them. The liner notes are printed on the inside and are informative and to the point. A nice, but not major upgrade to a long out of print bootleg and for me definitely worth adding to my Who collection.