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3.6 out of 5 stars
22
3.6 out of 5 stars
Who's Last
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 11 July 2017
Let's be honest. Take the time to look at the tone of the average negative review for this 1982 live recording and you're likely to find the sentiment usually boils down to "It's crap because it's not Live At Leeds". But this is 2017 not 1970, and today Who's Last must deserve to be judged soley upon its own merits, not compared with an entirely different creation from a different era. And on that basis it's really nowhere near as bad as many people by default consider (or assume) it to be.

I myself for years was guilty of the latter, buying into all the talk of it being "lacklustre", the sound of the band "going through the motions", "a tired performance" or even just being "badly mixed". But when the CD appeared recently on Amazon for just a few pence I thought I'd finally take a risk and check it out for myself. And actually, it's not a bad album.

I'd go so far as to argue that Who's Last is probably the best post-Moon live recording the band have released. Although this tour saw keyboards added to the line-up, they are almost entirely only heard on those tracks which featured a keyboard on their original studio versions. In comparison the Royal Albert Hall recording from 2000 saw a stronger sounding band, but diluted by a liberal gloss of keyboards in places that keyboards had no reason to be. The 1999 Blues To The Bush internet-only CD suffered similarly in that respect, whilst 1990's Join Together saw The Who going cabaret with a cast of thousands, brass, keyboards, backing vocalists, special guests, even an extra guitarist. Enough said.

So within that context Who's Last is actually something of a stripped-down kick-ass live album.

Musically there's really only one notably duff moment, Long Live Rock, which here features an added reprise. During the main portion of the song Townshend for some reason decides to go into full "cockney geezer" mode with his vocals, completely ruining the song. The reprise section sounds like it was influenced by AC/DC's "Rocker", being performed at twice the speed of the normal segment, but as a consequence sounding like a bad pub-rock cover.

Some reviews make derogatory mention of Kenney Jones' drumming on Magic Bus. Granted, he fails to properly get a hold on the swing of the Bo Diddley beat, sounding far too mechanical and robotic, but at least he attempts to approximate it. I don't see any of see people making that complaint being equally vocal about the completely straight style of drumming the song has featured onstage since 1999 with the much praised Zak Starkey.....

As for the mix, I'm a little confused about why some reviewers are complaining about lack of bass or drums. Sure, Townshend's guitar is probably the loudest element, but the mix is pretty standard for one of this period. Prior to the digital revolution it was common for the soundscape to have some depth, rather than everything being pushed upfront. The natural order in that respect was usually vocals and guitar, then bass then drums. So the mix is just fine, and I hear the bass and drums without any problem.

And the band's performance? Townshend's guitar is actually quite punky at times, Entwistle does his usual Entwistle thing and Daltrey's vocals are for the most part on form considering the period in question. The weak link is Kenney Jones with his unimaginative style of playing, completed unsuited to The Who, but even that doesn't manage to drag the energy level of the performance down too much. And generally speaking, it is an energetic performance.

So if you're a younger fan of The Who, a millenial or suchlike, carrying no baggage from having experienced the band during their 1970s peak, I see no reason why you won't enjoy this recording. I'd even go so far as to argue that at times it showcases the band sounding more ferocious live than they have for some years on the modern stage.

And if you're an older fan, consider that same context. Of course this perfomance isn't going to sound like Live At Leeds. It features different personel performing later tracks which aren't conducive to extended jam sesssions or freeform explorations. Can you recall a single example of the band in their post-Leeds career performing the likes of Won't Get Fooled Again or Who Are You in the style of something from Live At Leeds? No? Case closed.

So don't buy into the stale and dated hype of this album showcasing the band as a live failure. Sure, it was recorded in the wake of two unquestionably substandard studio albums with the band on the verge of splitting up........but that makes even more surprising just how good the performance is.

So listen with fresh ears and give it a fair chance.
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on 14 December 2012
'Whos Last' was an album I waited to hear back in 80's with great anticipation. The news was that The Who had either split or were about to so I was keen to get my ears round it. Sadly other events occurred and that listening at the time never happened.

The album was trashed by the critics who complained that the whole effort was just a ploy to cash in on past glories. I could never understand their cynicism back then but now?

Fast forward to 2012.

In its defence theres a good representation of the Who's music over the previous 20 odd years. Three are also some brilliant flashes. But thats the good news over.

The biggest problem here is sound quality-AWFUL! It is unacceptable in 2012 to have an album out which sounds like a CD copy of the vinyl record of 1984.

And strangely the track listing omits any material from "Face Dances" and "Its Hard" despite the fact it was certainly being played at the time.

Well it can still be remedied but it will be hard...

Nothing short of a total revision is needed.

The master tapes need digging out and the album needs a complete remix as well as remastering to get it into shape.

Plus of course the post Keith Moon material needs to be represented.

As it stands I couldn't in any way recommend this album unless you are in need of completing your Who collection.

And thats a shame. The talent is there but it has so totally wrecked it should be avoided.
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on 16 February 2007
I had to give it some stars because I love (understatement!) their music and this CD has many of the greats, but sadly the recording has been very poorly produced. It seems as though the original stage set-up on many of the tracks (for they are picked from multiple performances on the USA/Canada 1982 tour) were badly miked... especially Daltrey's vocals which on some tracks - especially "I can't explain" - you can hardly hear! In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that most people buying this will be Who fans (who listen to the tracks knowing all the words!), you wouldn't be able to tell what poor Roger was singing. By contrast, Pete's guitar is sometimes far too loud whilst, as one of the other reviewers commented, the usually fantastic bass is far too quiet... suggesting it was badly mixed/produced in the studio afterwards. On top of this - again I find myself merely concurring with other peoples' comments - the transcription onto CD isn't of a high quality either.

In summary, if you're a Who fan, do buy it for the collection and to enjoy some of the energy of the live performances (and some tracks are great), but you might well be disappointed with the recording quality.
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on 21 February 2006
Just a couple of points first - I love the Who, they are my favourite band of all time and I'm very biased when I discuss their music. However, this album is absolutely rotten. This is mainly due to the production and transfer to CD. If you listen very carefully at the start of the CD and half way through the CD, YOU CAN HEAR THE NEEDLE BEING PUT ONTO THE RECORD!!!
They transferred the music to CD from vinyl! How rubbish is that?!!!
The production is tinny and, although I'm sure he played like the genius he was, Entwistle's base is barely audible.
I'd love to think that this album isn't as bad as it seems to be. To achieve this the album needs to be completely remastered and reproduced. If MCA are listening, please do this!!!!!
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on 4 May 2009
There will never be a Who's Last album, not with all the repackaging of their older material that keeps getting released, and not as the band keeps going, no matter who's left in it. While the US version of this cd was 2 discs (I only had disc 2) I find the single disc UK release much better with some of the crowd noise and band comments removed. MCA in the states put out the 2 cd set because it was a double album set, much the same thing that was done with Who's Better, Who's Best - in the states, a double album, in England, it was all crammed on to a single disc, with just a little loss of volume, but thats what the knobs on the stereo are for - to turn it up when its lower. This is a really nice overview of their greatest hits live, something that Pete Townshend once said he didn't care for, he always wanted a new stage show, but since this was supposedly their last tour, they trotted out all the old hits and did them good, a version to remember for most.
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on 28 March 2001
due to much preassure,pete and co took the band on the road for the farwell tour of the u.s the tracks on this album are mainly from canada and toronto. on its release,it was also broadcast on satellite,which also produced a video(the who rocks america) the performance itself,although from sellout tours,seems to lack something.kenney jones from the small faces replaces the late keith moon who although is a great drummer,does not fullfill the part of keith.whos last is like the studio albums of that period,(face dances and its hard),in the fact they have a few shining moments,but not enough to be highly rated. on reflection,the who now are doing a back to the rootes tour and the performances are 100% better,so it would be of more intrest for them to produce a tour album now than then
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on 6 October 2015
This is a great album, a best of live album that has most of my choice as a casual Who listener.
The sound will never be quite studio quality with some audience noise but it is worth it especially if you keep getting Who's songs stuck in your head thanks to TV and Film soundtracks, Behind blue eyes and Baba O'Riley are prime examples, American tv uses them a lot.
Films draw from the whole catalogue so it is hard to be specific.
I did not really like the Who before American TV started dipping in, so while not fully converted I do really like this album
For me Who's last is the first and maybe only but I will listen to it at times
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on 13 December 2014
Not a GR8 Who fan loved Quad but that's all, some of their songs are ok on other albums but this is not one of them I never kept gave it away.
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on 11 May 2012
It's worth buying only for completists like me. John Entwistle's bass guitar is barely audible and the sound of the drums are pretty dreadful.
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on 3 August 2009
Who's Last..........My First Ever Brush With The Who Live.....Back In 1984..........I'm Not Going To Mark It Down For The Sub-Standard Production, Awful Packaging & Lack Of Mastering By MCA....To Me, That's MCA's Misgiving & Not The Bands....This Gets 5 Stars For The Songs And The Sheer Intensity Of Which They Are Delivered....From The Opening Thumps Of " My Generation", To The Final Roars Of The Ox On " Twist & Shout", This Is EVERYTHING I Love About The Band I Have Been Totally Blown Away By, When I Was Fortunate Enough To See Them Twice...........Kenney Jones Gives A Stellar Performance On The Skins.....Less Gifted & Volatile Than Keith Moon, But Very Rock Solid.....Loved This For 25 Years Now..............MCA...ARE YOU LISTENING????.....DO A TOTAL FACELIFT/REMASTER ON THIS, LIKE YESTERDAY!!!!....YOU WILL FIND SALES GOING THROUGH THE ROOF IF YOU DO!!!..................Oh And To The Guy Who Complimented Keith Moon's Drumming On This CD................You Shan't Be Recovering From This One!!!!!..........................;0)
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