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Even after 20 years of handling vinyl rarities in Reckless - and 40 years trawling records racks as an overgrown manchild who should know better by now - you never quite get over handling an intact copy of The Who's fabulous "Live At Leeds" LP in its original British vinyl form. It's simply a thing of beauty and unbridled Rock lust.

Released May 1970 on Track 2406 001 - it had only six tracks - none of which were listed on the rear and came housed in a flimsy flippy-floppy buff brown gatefold card sleeve with the title stamped on it like a crate of bananas bound for the docks. But when you opened this official Track Records release (deliberately made to look like a 'bootleg' as an antidote to the opulence of the "Tommy” double-album from May 1969) - it housed two pocket pouches – the LP on the right and on the left - 12 of the coolest inserts you'd ever seen inside a glassine see-through greaseproof bag. One of these ephemera inserts was the foldout 'Maximum R&B At The Marquee' poster of Pete Townshend and his 1964 guitar giving it some scrunched-up flying welly - while another had a from-behind-shot of PT in front of the huge Woodstock audience in 1969 holding up his guitar like it was a holy offering of some kind. You then noticed the white label of the LP that told you in script that they were doing covers of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" and the Johnny Kidd & The Pirates 60ts belter "Shakin' All Over" (both of which made absolute sense in your head) and on Side 2 when you flipped it over that there was a 15-minute version of "My Generation"!
It was enough to make any young buck tremble – weak at the knees even at the mere thought of it. And decades later - when you returned to "Live At Leeds" yet again - in need of a proper riffage wig out in the comfort of your suburban Audio Mancave - Hell you'd even forgive the staples on the edges that rusted and discoloured the sleeve as the years past. As I say – The Who’s "Live At Leeds" has always been a thing of wonderment and fantasmagoricalness...

Which brings us to this glorious and well thought-out September 2001 33-Track 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' Reissue - itself substituting the February 1995 'Expanded Edition' single CD version of 14-tracks. Although some argue it's still 'not complete' – this version purports to offer the first release of the full 14 February 1970 concert at Leeds University – tagging on the whole of the double-album "Tommy" on Disc 2 in a best-ever live performance of something they'd played over 130 times on an extensive US tour. Throw in the careful digital restoration (supervised by Townshend) and semi-removal of the famous 'master tape crackles' and you can't help but feel that a good thing has only been made better – and how. Here are the maximum details...

UK released 1 October 2001 (24 September 2001 in the USA) - "Live At Leeds: Deluxe Edition" by THE WHO on Polydor 112 618-2 (Barcode 008811261825) is a 2CD Reissue with 18 Previously Unreleased Tracks that features the first release of the complete 14 February 1970 Leeds University concert (including the 1969 "Tommy" Double Album intact) and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (73:33 minutes):
1. Heaven And Hell
2. I Can't Explain
3. Fortune Teller
4. Tattoo
5. Young Man Blues *
6. Substitute *
7. Happy Jack
8. I'm A Boy
9. A Quick One, While He's Away
10. Summertime Blues *
11. Shakin' All Over *
12. My Generation *
13. Magic Bus *

Disc 2 (53:33 minutes):
1. Overture
2. It's A Boy
3. 1921
4. Amazing Journey
5. Sparks
6. Eyesight To The Blind (The Hawker)
7. Christmas
8. The Acid Queen
9. Pinball Wizard
10. Do You Think It's Alright?
11. Fiddle About
12. Tommy Can You Hear Me?
13. There's A Doctor
14. Go To The Mirror
15. Smash The Mirror
16. Miracle Cure
17. Sally Simpson
18. I'm Free
19. Tomorrow's Holiday Camp
20. We're Not Gonna Take It

"Live At Leeds" was released 3 May 1970 in the UK on Tracks Records 2406 001 and 16 May 1970 in the USA on Decca DL 79175 (peaked at No. 3 and No. 4 on the UK and US album charts).
The six songs marked * on Disc 1 are the original 1970 LP - to sequence it from CD 1 use the following track numbers:
Side 1: Young Man's Blues (5)/Substitute (6)/Summertime Blues (10)/Shakin' All Over (11)
Side 2: My Generation (12)/Magic Bus (13)

Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 on Disc 1 and Tracks 4 and 5 from Disc 2 were first released as part of the February 1995 14-song single CD reissue of "Live At Leeds" on Polydor 527 169-2. Fans will note that Disc 1 here has only 13-tracks instead of 14 – that's because the double track of "Amazing Journey/Sparks" from the 1995 disc has been moved for this 2001 reissue as two separate songs to Disc 2 to facilitate a correct running order of "Tommy". All 18 other tracks on Disc 2 are Previously Unreleased.

Those famous 12 inserts are spread across the six flaps within the chunky foldout digipak (including under the see-through CD trays) with the 'Maximum R&B' Poster for their Tuesday residency at the Marquee in 90 Wardour Street gracing page 27 of the 28-page booklet. Before that is a track-by-track appraisal in new liner notes from CHRIS CHARLESWORTH – a superb breakdown of the original packaging by Who enthusiast RICHARD EVANS and the whole caboodle has been overseen by long-time Who archivist and Reissue man JON ASTLEY. There are many Black and White period photos of the individual band members in full-on live mode as well as typed lyrics to “My Generation”. Obsessives like me will know that uber-rare 1st pressing originals of the British LP had the title stamped in black lettering up in the right corner - second pressings came in Blue and Red type. This 2001 'Deluxe Edition' 2CD set opts for the blue lettering embossed into the front sleeve with an attached greaseproof title sheet stuck onto the rear (if you don’t get the outer plastic slipcase).

But the big news is yet another sonic go-round that adds rather fudges. The Remixes and Remasters have been supervised by PETE TOWNSHEND and carried out by Engineer ANDY MacPHERSON and JON ASTLEY at Close To The Edge Studios – and the results are as close to perfect as you can get for such a notoriously crude recording. All the power of the band seems to have been realised here without too much compression or compromise. It’s a cliché I know – but this reissue does truly rock – the sheer sonic excitement of the band during “Magic Bus” is breathtaking and won’t cost you one hundred English pounds...

It opens with a cover of Mose Allison's Jazz Swing song "Young Man Blues" turned into a Who Rocker and you're immediately clobbered by the clarity of both Townshend's guitar and the confident strut of Daltrey's vocals - huge and attacking in all the right ways. It's followed by Townshend's witty 'three hit singles from our past' banter before they launch into a two-minute version of "Substitute" where Mooney's huge drums have no crocodile tears and genuinely threaten your speakers with malevolent intent. 14 June 1970 saw Track Records UK edit down "Summertime Blues" into single form and along with a studio version of Entwistle's "Heaven And Hell" on the B-side release the band's 14th seven-inch single on Track 2094 002 (the US copy on Decca 32708 had "Here For More" as its flipside). That side ends with a Rocking and yet Funky rendition of "Shakin' All Over" - quivers down the backbone indeed.

But for me it's Side 2 with the extended the 15-minute "My Generation" and the near eight-minute "Magic Bus" that puts the LP into legend. Including bits from "Tommy" like an improvised "See Me Feel Me" and a Bass Solo - "My Generation" stills feel dangerous and anthemic - even at such a huge ambling length. The riffage of "Magic Bus" is explosive stuff and when the band finally does kick in - you know why people in the audience never forgot the experience of The Who in full flight. Of the extras I love "Tattoo" from "The Who Sell Out" LP - that perfect combo of melody and crashing pomp - while Entwistle's "Heaven And Hell" lets Pete riff away as if it was own song - a powerful set opener. But best of all is the witty mishmash that is "A Quick One, While He's Away" - a six-part musical Who tour-de-force about an unsuspecting girl guide and a not-so-innocent Ivor The Engine Driver with amazing vocals traded at the beginning and throughout. The booklet advises that after extensive research - the largely unreleased "Tommy" on CD2 is the best played version yet found and when you hear them tear through "The Acid Queen", "Pinball Wizard" and "I'm Free" - you're in no doubt that's no idle boast designed to beef up already overblown liner notes – it's actually true. Amazing stuff...

In May 2017 "Live At Leeds" by THE WHO will be 47 years young. And I have to say that this 2001 Deluxe Edition of it does that in-yer-face legend proud...
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on 29 October 2017
Despite owning the essential two-CD Deluxe Edition of LIVE AT LEEDS - which contains the entire concert - I thought it would be nice to acquire a reissue of this crucial live album on vinyl in its original configuration and featuring just six of the numbers performed on the night.

Firstly, I've no complaints about the quality of the vinyl itself. Cut at Abbey Road using the half-speed mastering process, the sound is rich and powerful and compares most favourably with the CD. The original "handwritten" labels are also present and correct at the centre of the record, in keeping with the original vinyl pressing. Unfortunately, however, the quality control employed with the disc itself hasn't been extended to the reproduced packaging.

For those like me who didn't have the opportunity to buy the album when it was originally released, the record and its plain white sleeve slotted into a kind of pouch inside the gatefold sleeve, while a compartment inside the front cover was the home to a dozen inserts which were reproductions of agents' letters, contracts, concert remuneration details and live photographs. Despite the plain, rubber-stamped sleeve giving the impression of a hastily-pressed bootleg recording, LIVE AT LEEDS was actually quite a feast for the eyes as well the ears. Unfortunately, these details have not been reproduced on this vinyl reissue. Instead, the gatefold opens up to reveal what is essentially a photograph of the original layout, with an image of the record in its plain white sleeve on the right and the inserts nicely ordered one atop the other but in strictly 2-D format on the left. Meanwhile the record itself slides out from a conventional record-sleeve opening and is housed inside a new but inauthentic inner sleeve which features a kind of collage of all of the original inserts spread across the front and back.

Sonically speaking, I'm more of a CD fan than vinyl (I suppose because it's more the format that I've grown up with) and so when I buy a vinyl reissue attention to detail with the packaging is what is particularly important to me. Not having any of the physical inserts and changing the way in which the record fits inside the jacket is something of a let-down. A lot of care has been taken with the record itself here, and it's a shame that the visual flair of the original package hasn't been recaptured as well. I'm sure that this could have been achieved as there was a superb vinyl reissue of THE WHO SELL OUT released a couple of years back (also by Universal Music) which contained a reproduction of that album's fold-out poster. Not sure what's gone wrong here. If UMC are prepared to spend the money repressing the album onto vinyl, then surely it can find the cash to reconstruct the artwork too.

So then, this vinyl reissue of LIVE AT LEEDS presents the album as a still-fiery listening experience. Visually, though, the attention to detail leaves a lot to be desired. A shame.
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on 10 December 2016
Fantastic sounding Lp, Abbey Road have done a superb job. As it has been mastered quietly you do need to turn the volume up to get the full effect but its well worth it.
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on 28 February 2016
The Who were unsurpassed in the 1960s as a live group, a Must See. I lost the very top end of my hearing at a Who concert but this was more than compensated for by also meeting my future wife at the same concert, and not quite fifty years later we are still together. I have a lot to thank the Who for, and playing this set (loudly) helps to revive happy memories of those brilliant and carefree student days.
When I built my first FM tuner and stereo decoder back in 1970, a recording of Pinball Wizard from this concert was the first piece of music I heard on it, and at first with the tinny mono sound I thought the decoder was not working and all my hard work would have to be checked over again, and then suddenly the deaf dumb and blind kid has his revelation and the stereo was gloriously wider than wide. What a moment, and what a memory.

I bought the album at the time, and now have the CDs to be able to hear the full magic of the concert again without the scratches and damage that too many years of playing at various parties has inflicted on the unfortunate and long-suffering LPs. This Deluxe edition has several of the tracks remixed or remastered and comparing these with the earlier versions on my LPs I think the work is worth while, both are good, but the Deluxe edition remasters just have the edge.
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on 27 November 2016
This is better than I expected. I have the deluxe expanded CD version but the depth of sound on the vinyl is much improved. All for £15.00 p&p included. Listen to this and 'made in japan' by deep purple and you will have in essence what 70's live sound was. I wish I was there! No click tracks or overdubs.
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on 28 November 2016
Superb. Well put together on vinyl in the correct running order. This show was recorded 46 years ago. It could have been last night. It just shines. I was born in 73 so was not around to have had the chance to see such a gig. But this is the next best thing. THE greatest band on earth. THE greatest live album on earth...buy it...
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on 17 February 2017
I was given this album for my 16th birthday. That was 40 years ago....... The'album' came with a lot of extras such as posters, band trivia, a copy of concert ticket, photos and copies of record label rejection letters. Probably it had a lot more that has all been lost/dispersed over the years. Since then I have bought 3 CD copies to replace those that were lost and scratched.

I surely don't have to tell you how good this one is? do I? Just buy it if you don't have a working copy and you wont regret it.
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on 3 April 2015
I'm not the first to state that this is one of the very best live rock albums ever. It's so powerful that you get a bit of Mr. Townhend's tinnitus after a listen, capturing two university shows at Leeds and Hull at full throttle after a grueling world tour on "Tommy". They do "Tommy" in full here, and it shows that they have perfected it, and perhaps because of the more intimate atmosphere at the smaller venues, and being back home again after a long tour, the version portrayed is magically good, even compared with the studio album. They are all in the best of form - a high in their career, no doubt - and leave none sitting down. This, together with a handfull of others (Led Zep, Rolling Stones, Humble Pie) is the definition of a classic rock show put on disk.
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on 16 April 2009
Well, I have just heard the most incredible live concert ever recorded, and I can say that with my hand on my heart. I have heard a lot of excellent concerts (both live and on record) and not one of them compares with this. I thought that the Isle of Wight concert was pretty damn amazing, but compared to this, it falls way short (though a lot of that is down to the quality of the recording).

I previously had the version of Live at Leeds that only had 14 tracks on it. I kept feeling I was being robbed. And how right I was!

The mixing on this is utterly FANTASTIC. You can hear every beat of Moonie's bass drum (which is usually lost somewhere in the mix), John Entwistle's mind-boggling flourishes on the bass, all of Pete's notes as clear as a bell and Roger's voice soaring over it all. To give those who might be considering getting this album an idea of how clear this recording is, you can hear Moonie's snare drum rattling unmistakably in the background when John Entwistle does a particularly percussive bass line. You rarely hear those details when you're actually at a gig, let alone on any other live recording I've heard, especially from a concert that took place in 1970.

This is definitely The Who at their towering best. The vocal harmonies that the guys produce (especially during Tommy) are spot on and made even more impressive by Roger saying that for the first 15 years or so of his career with The Who, vocalists didn't even have monitors, so that a lot of the time they were guessing whether they were singing in key or not!

Being a huge fan of Moonie's drumming, this was musical heaven for me to be able to hear every beat on every drum and every cymbal wash in such clarity. It doesn't matter how many times I listen to him play, I never get bored of it, and the rhythmns and syncopation that he comes up with never cease to amaze me. Not only that, but it sounds as though The Who have about 6 drummers, instead of just the one!

My only comment would be...what the HELL happened to his drumming during I'm Free and Tommy's Holiday camp?! He sped up ridiculously during I'm Free and some of the drum fills were over-ambitious even for him. I'm suspecting that he imbibed something in the upward direction prior to him playing those particular tracks as for the rest of the show, he is pretty much flawless.

I can only regret that I wasn't old enough to see The Who between 1967 and 1975, but particularly in 1970 - they were absolutely at their prime and I don't think a band before or since could touch this album.

All Hail The Mighty Who!
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on 13 October 2016
How can a great album become even better? This version shows how. Live at Leeds has long been considered to be one of the best live albums. Remastered and expanded, more tracks than the original release AND a second disc with Tommy performed live make this a must for any fan of the band.
The original and best line-up of the 'Oo at the top of their game.
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