Here’s a feature I’d like to make as regular as possible: in Double Dip, I look at a catalogue title – perhaps a frequent re-release or a new compilation – and try to deconstruct its content. Think of it as a buyer’s guide for the newest releases.
This week, in anticipation of their upcoming Super Bowl gig, Geffen and Universal Music Enterprises have released a new compilation by The Who, Greatest Hits Live, exclusively on iTunes. The press release excitedly touts the set as “22 recordings of the band’s biggest and best-known hits–most of them never widely available or unreleased and 20 of them newly mixed by the band and its production team.”
I’m not that well-versed in The Who’s live output to determine how much these are “newly mixed.” But in an attempt to elaborate on the weaselly-worded description of “most of them never widely available or unreleased,” I decided to mine through the tracks (which are thankfully labeled with recording locations and dates) and try to figure out which are unreleased and which aren’t. And the results are…well, it depends who you ask. Take a look at the full list after the jump, and then some notes.
The track list for Greatest Hits Live is as follows:
1. I Can’t Explain (Live @ the San Francisco Civic Auditorium – 12/12/1971)
2. Substitute (Live @ the San Francisco Civic Auditorium – 12/12/1971)
3. Happy Jack (Live @City Hall, Hull, England – 2/15/1970)
4. I’m a Boy (Live @City Hall, Hull, England – 2/15/1970)
5. Behind Blue Eyes (Live @ the San Francisco Civic Auditorium – 12/12/1971)
6. Pinball Wizard (Live @ Vetch Field, Swansea, England – 6/12/1976)
7. I’m Free (Live @ Vetch Field, Swansea, England – 6/12/1976)
8. Squeeze Box (Live @ Vetch Field, Swansea, England – 6/12/1976)
9. Naked Eye/Let’s See Action/My Generation (Live @ Charlton Athletic Football Club, South London, England – 5/18/1974)
10. 5:15 (Live @ The Capital Centre, Largo – 12/6/1973)
11. Won’t Get Fooled Again (Live @ The Capital Centre, Largo – 12/6/1973)
12. Magic Bus (Live @ Leeds University, England – 2/14/1970)
13. My Generation (Live BBC Session – 1965)
14. I Can See For Miles (Live @ the Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles – 8/24/1989)
15. Join Together (Live @ the Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles – 8/24/1989)
16. Love Reign O’er Me (Live @ the Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles – 8/24/1989)
17. Baba O’Riley (Live @ the Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles – 8/24/1989)
18. Who Are You (Live @ the Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles – 8/24/1989)
19. The Real Me (Live @ Watford Civil Hall – 1/31/2002)
20. The Kids Are Alright (Live @ Royal Albert Hall, London – 2/7/2002)
21. Eminence Front (Live @ Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane – 3/24/2009)
22. A Man In A Purple Dress (Live @ Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York – 3/11/2007)
Tracks 1-11 were all previously released on the View from a Backstage Pass compilation released through The Who’s Web site. Oddly, someone seems to have gotten their signals crossed in transit; that compilation lists the San Francisco show (Tracks 1, 2 and 5) as having taken place on December 13th, not the 12th. Additionally, the Largo show (Tracks 10 and 11) was mislabeled on the Backstage Pass set; the purported date and venue, for all my research, never happened. Those tracks from Largo likely came from a set at The Spectrum in Philadelphia two days earlier (12/4/1973).
Track 12 is from the famed Live at Leeds album. It measures at the same running time as it did on the original LP. (Subsequent reissues have had it closer to the eight-minute mark.)
Track 13 is from the 2000 compilation BBC Sessions album. (For the record, this version was recorded on 11/22/1965.)
Tracks 14-18 are culled from a show on the 25th anniversary tour, excerpts of which were released on the Join Together live album in 1990. One of the recorded shows from that set was at the Universal Amphitheatre (no date specified in the sleeve notes), and this compilation’s offerings of “I Can See for Miles,” “Join Together” and “Love Reign O’er Me” have almost exact track times as on Join Together. That set, however, did not have live versions of “Baba O’Reilly” or “Who Are You,” so these tracks appear new.
Track 19 is unreleased.
Track 20 is unreleased. Parts of the show from the next day (2/8/2002) were released on The Who Live at Royal Albert Hall in 2003. This show excerpted was bassist John Entwhistle’s second-to-last with the group before his death.
Track 21 is unreleased.
Track 22 is also unreleased.
So there you have it. If you’ve collected every bit of live Who tracks you could possibly obtain, you more than likely have the first 16 tracks. All in all, it depends on your collection, but if you’ve only got a few of these tracks, you might wanna spring for the whole thing. I say this for two reasons: 1) the $11.99 price tag is pretty decent for a 22-track set, and 2) three of the tracks are $1.29 and one is an album-only purchase. If you’re going to cherry-pick, it may end up costing you more.
I hope this was suitably informative. (Note: the information herein was gathered from The Hypertext Who and The Who Concert Guide.) Of course, feel free to send any corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org.