I love rock mu­sic, and I love live al­bum­s, and this might be the best live rock&roll record­ing ev­er. I’m not claim­ing the whole album’s a Song of the Day (and any­how, there’s been a baf­fling pa­rade of re-issues and re­mas­ters and so on). But I am go­ing to dou­ble up and rec­om­mend two songs: I Can’t Ex­plain and the My Gen­er­a­tion Med­ley. The first be­cause it’s a pure pop gem, the sec­ond, even though it’s way long, be­cause in­hab­its the joy­ful heart of the mu­sic I love.

Live at Leeds

Live At Leeds was record­ed on Valentine’s Day in 1970; it’s messy, chaotic, and full of bril­liant mo­ments. Most of the re-issues don’t add much over the orig­i­nal 5-song line­up, with the sin­gle ex­cep­tion of I Can’t Ex­plain, which is a use­ful re­minder that be­fore the Who got all high-concept and artis­tic, they were re­al­ly good at pop sin­gles. The per­for­mance here is pol­ished and sharp, with a lot of re­spect for the orig­i­nal ma­te­ri­al. You can hear Kei­th Moon singing the high har­mo­ny line be­hind Dal­trey.

But that My Gen­er­a­tion med­ley, wow; a Dionysian ex­plo­sion of pas­sion, elec­tri­fied strings, and over-the-top drum­ming. It’s al­so a bit spe­cial to me be­cause they dip briefly in­to the See Me, Feel Me/Fol­low­ing You bit from Tom­my. I saw the Who live just on­ce; and it was a fine show, and the emo­tion­al high­light was that se­quence. What they used to do is, when they switched in­to “Following you…”, they switched the lights from the stage to crowd, and the band sang the words to their au­di­ence. I’m sen­ti­men­tal, but stil­l, that was su­per mov­ing.

Any­how, I sat up late last night lis­ten­ing to the med­ley, and here’s what I scrib­bled down: “guitar start­ing at 5:50; chords at 8:43; drum com­ing in at 10:00, pow­er chords 10:54; heav­i­est chord ev­er at 11:30; then 12:42!”

This is part of the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Spo­ti­fy playlist. I Can’t Ex­plain on iTunes, Ama­zon, Spo­ti­fy. My Gen­er­a­tion med­ley on Spo­ti­fy, iTunes, Ama­zon. There’s no video of the med­ley, but here’s a par­tic­u­lar­ly sharp take on I Can’t Ex­plain.


author · Dad · software · colophon · rights

June 15, 2018
· Arts (11 fragments)
· · Music (95 fragments)
· · · 5 Stars (200 more)
· Song of the Day (166 more)

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