I've become quite slack with all things Who in the last few years, so when i first saw the pre-order for this i thought it was going to be disappointing, but knowing what we know about Live At Leeds
and its relationship to Hull, it really isn't.
The first thing that strikes me about this set, is that it is IMPOSSIBLE to listen to it and not compare every second to the same moments of LAL. That classic album has had many permutations over the last 40 years, but in my opinion, the original 6 track version still kicks like a mule. I discovered it from a Kerrang 100 albums you must own list from about 1989/1990, and could. not. believe. it. when i first heard it. So LAH has a lot of listening history to live up to.
There is a lot less banter on LAH, whether this is by design or not i don't know, but it does detract a bit from the perceived intimacy of LAL. However, the other differences are striking. Moon's drumming is, unbelievably, even more incendiary on LAH. It could be the fact that the mix is slightly different, but he just seems to be on fire. The songs are punchier, and although timings are similar, they seem shorter and more direct. The singing isn't as good, but The Who live was never about perfection. It is fascinating to hear the differences in Townshend's playing, and the surprising lack of repetition between the two sets. The production also seems to ramp up The Ox's playing, and on Young Man Blues his bass growls like I've never heard before.
One minute complaint, the inside sleeve of the 2cd set has a photo of Leeds, from the rejected set that Chris McCourt did. Weird. Maybe there aren't any of Hull.
This is an essential set. Buy it. Turn it up. And for you experienced listeners, maybe feel a tiny bit of the excitement you felt the first time you heard Live At Leeds.