For years the rumours in Hull were that Live at Leeds was really Live at Hull, but Live at Leeds looked and sounded better. Then we were told that it couldn't have been Live at Hull because the bass hadn't recorded, but now we find that it was only the first four tracks which were missing The Ox.
Over the decades the Hull performance has been mythologised and even Daltrey and Townshend have played their part; at the recent Hull gig at the KC Stadium Daltrey informed us that the 1970 Hull gig was better than Leeds. I was in the front row for the Hull gig and my own rose-tinted memories have told me for decades that this was a corker. Now we can hear the two gigs side by side and finally decide.....much as it pains me to say so, the Leeds gig is by far and away the superior one; at Hull Townshend seems to be playing it safe, after having pulled out all the stops the night before in Leeds. Never rated as highly as other high-profile players in the 70's, at Leeds Townshend is simply magnificent, pulling out one inspired solo after another. At Hull he's going through the motions. The one plus for me is the fantastic tom-tom fill that Keith Moon used to almost invariably play in the intro of Heaven and Hell; for some reason he doesn't do it at Leeds but it's present in all its glory in Hull.
The box set is immaculately produced with the vinyl replicas and book being a welcome addition; however, in the otherwise excellent hardback book the picture of Hull City Hall's exterior is actually the Town Dock Office, now a maritime museum - quelle faux-pas!
Notwithstanding any of this, Live at Leeds in its original form was one of the best live albums of any decade, and left lesser claimants to that title, such as Get Yer Ya-Yas Out, in the shade. It still has the awesome power of a band at the top of their game, with an undiminished capacity to thrill. Between 69 and 71 there was no band to match The Who in concert.