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This review is from: Quadrophenia (Super Deluxe Edition) (Audio CD)
I thought I'd give this release a few months' stay of grace before delivering my verdict. Too often, day-of-release reviews are either over-exultant or suicidally dissatisfied. And now that the dust has settled and 'Quadrophenia: The Director's Cut' is bending the shelf, what do I think? Was this 70-something quid well spent?
The answer, in short, is 'No'. I feel shortchanged in almost every regard. True, Pete Townshend's extended essay is very interesting, and there is some tasty period memorabilia (the letter from Townshend to his solicitor asking to get him out of the band is astonishing). And there is something perversely pleasing, in this age where everything in the world can be stored on the head of a pin, in turning a record into a monumental box.
But where it falls apart is when we look at what is actually IN the box. The original 1973 vinyl double-album came with a book of black and white photos to visualise, or set the scene, of 'Quadrophenia'. They are reprinted here - however, they are not FAITHFULLY reproduced. They are, judging by the poor quality, merely scans or photocopies of the 1973 photos. These pictures are not taken from the original negatives.
The two CDs of 'Quadrophenia' itself sounds pretty identical to the Jon Astley-remixed/remastered reissue from over 10 years ago. I didn't like the changes made - some of Roger's yells disappearing on 'The Real Me', the removal of the brilliant, mad chicken-squawk noise on the last verse of 'The Dirty Jobs'. In comparison to the original mix, it's bland, frankly.
As for the 5.1 disc, I can't really comment as to its quality because I haven't got that kind of audio rig, but, if I had, I would be utterly crestfallen to be fobbed off with a mere selection of songs instead of the complete album. Much as though the Pink Floyd Immersion sets have come in for a fair bit of stick with their silly marbles and scarves, what can't be denied is that, when it came to the music itself, the listener was well served. If they can fit 5.1, original stereo and 4.0 Quad mixes of an album onto one Blu-ray disc (and still find room for stereo and 5.1 mixes of Concert Screen Films), why couldn't The Who?
The two CDs of Townshend demos are worthwhile - both musically and historically. It's interesting to see, for example, the altered lyric emphasis in the early 'Punk & The Godfather', and revelatory to learn that, in a few cases, John Entwistle and Keith Moon were merely replacing Townshend's bass and drums on fully-realized instrumentals.
Townshend missed out on a golden opportunity with this release. He could have unleashed a brain-boggling monster of a record here, not the tame tabby cat content to sleep undisturbed on the shelf all day. This is what the Quadrophenia box should have contained:
- The original, wayward, eccentric 1973 mix on two CDs;
- The Jon Astley-neutered mix on two CDs;
- The Townshend demos (WITHOUT the new drum tracks, and WITH the song 'Ambition'. This track was supposed to be available on Q-Cloud website but, when I went there, this cut was unavailable for some specious reason);
- A CD of John Entwistle's mixes for the 'Quadrophenia' film, plus album outtakes ('We Close Tonight') and band studio recordings (early run-throughs, rehearsals, chatter, alternative takes);
- A DVD of film footage. The Who shot some footage to be screened onstage (a snippet appears in the 'Amazing Journey' biopic) - although it was a rejected idea, it'd have been good to see it. Plus live footage of The Who performing 'Quadrophenia'. Contrary to legend, it worked powerfully onstage. There's a good hour's worth of basically-shot but extremely effective footage available to see on YouTube. Why couldn't it have been cleaned up and included here? Plus TV clips - '5.15' on 'Top Of The Pops' or other relevant TV news items;
- A live CD of 'Quadrophenia' material. The 2010 'Greatest Hits & More' CD included a 1973 live '5.15' so there ARE tapes in existence. Let's hear them!
- The original photos reproduced from the actual negatives;
- Blu-ray disc with 5.1 mix of the entire album (with chicken noises reinstated).
Oh, and rather than house it in a box, place it inside a GS scooter.
Now THAT would have been worth shelling out 70 sheets for!
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Apr 2012, 05:36:50 BST
Amazon Customer says:
what he said :)
Posted on 18 Apr 2012, 18:29:33 BST
R. Stansfield says:
Thanks! You've just saved me £70+ quid...and I've been a Who fan for more years than I care to remember!
In reply to an earlier post on 6 Aug 2012, 13:23:05 BST
Mr. M. P. Clinton says:
Same here, I've been umming and ahhing over getting this, and this pretty much decides it for me, the only reason I'd be buying this would be for the essay really, which is a bit sad. As the review said, could have been so much better.
Posted on 14 Nov 2012, 10:50:01 GMT
N. Jones says:
This sounds like a very honest and well thought out review. Yet I'm still no closer to deciding whether to buy it or not a year after release! I want it - just to have it but 70 odd quid !!?
Posted on 20 Nov 2013, 14:04:14 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Nov 2013, 14:05:30 GMT
I am a long time WHO fanatic and i am not buyin this release nor the Live at Leeds or the new Tommy box set. Why ? You did write almost my opinion. Not only "Close Tonight" but the 3 other songs from the soundtrack are missing and according to Pete and other writers over the years, many more songs were recorded. So it seems incomplete. The same goes for the Tommy Box Set. The producers did not include "Cousin Kevin Model s Child" and a couple other outtakes....Hope when they decide to release the WHO S´NEXT box set, they finally do it right.
Posted on 29 Jan 2015, 15:28:41 GMT
Very honest review. What i dont understand was the rush to release this box set when the band was not yet touring behind it. Also do not understand why the exclusion of the leftovers (Close Tonight, Four Faces and the other 2 from the soundtrack), and some unreleased songs or different early versions and mixes. Also, i always ask myself if "In a Hand or a Face" was recorded during the "Quadrophenia" sessions.
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