The Who – Young Vic Rehearsals (Wardour-010)


Young Vic Rehearsals (Wardour-010)

The Young Vic Theatre, Waterloo, London – April 26th 1971

Rehearsals at The Young Vic Theatre, Waterloo, London, England 1971:  Baby Don’t You Do It, Bargain, Bony Moronie, Unknown Jam, My Generation, Naked Eye #1, Naked Eye #2, Bony Moronie, Road Runner, Walking The Dog.  Live at The Young Vic Theatre, Waterloo, London – April 26th 1971:  Pinball Wizard, See Me Feel Me, Baby Don’t You Do It, My Generation, Road Runner, Naked Eye, Bony Moronie, Won’t Get Fooled Again (failed), Won’t Get Fooled Again

Young Vic Rehearsals capture The Who at a very formative period.  Riding off of the critical and commercial success of Tommy, Townshend tried to deliver a much more involved follow up with Lifehouse.  The story of the transition between Lifehouse to Who’s Next is well known and better documented elsewhere.  This title on Wardour releases, for the very first time, a half hour rehearsal tape right at the time of their “Lifehouse” concerts before an invitation only audience at the Old Vic Theater.

It’s unknown what the provenance of the rehearsal tape is.  There is nothing to suggest it is from the April 26th as is the concert, but nothing from preventing that either.  The label doesn’t give and probably don’t know themselves what the precise details are.  As rehearsals go there isn’t too much to say.  It’s a very good mono soundboard recording with evident hiss.  The first couple of numbers emphasize the instruments with Roger Daltrey’s vocals in the background.  “Baby Don’t You Do It” is first and the band pound the number around like a lifeless dummy.  The next three numbers are merely doodles. 

“This ain’t my idea.  Heavy music coming up!” Townshend says before “My Generation.”  For this the balance has been restored and Daltrey is clearly audible above the instrumental chaos of Townshend’s fuzzy guitar solos, played at every opportunity.  The soloing gradually segues into the first take of “Naked Eye”. 

The tape is switched off and on and “Naked Eye #2” comes in at the slow solo before the final verse and the guitar wanders into the first verse only of “Bony Maronie”.  Some tuning, a gong bash and Townshend asks, “Is the tape running?”  “Road Runner” gets off to a shaky start before stopping.  “This is it” Townshend says before a better, more complete version of the song is attempted.  Moon’s drums are very pronounced at this point propelling the number forward as “Walking The Dog” is included in the fun.  There is some indiscernible yelling before the tape ends.

It’s reported that The Who played various shows at the Young Vic while recording Who’s Next. Only this show is confirmed and excerpts appeared on the two-disc version released several years ago.  (“Bony Maronie” surfaced on the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B box set).  This material surfaced also on the Lifehouse Live (KRR 42) and Young Vic Blues (Bell Bottom – BB043) releases. 

This is the second half of the concert (with “Water” not present) and it’s in the same quality as the rehearsal tape.  Other releases contain three tracks that aren’t present on the Wardour release:  “Too Much Of Anything”, “Getting In Tune”, and “Bargain”.  However I think the focus of interest on this release is the rehearsal tape which is interesting and fun although not too revealing. 

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