Reviewed by Kent H. Benjamin, Fri., April 4, 2003
The WhoWho's Next Deluxe Edition (MCA/Universal Chronicles) Who's Next just got better. For starters, the original master tapes had been lost for decades, and no CD issue prior to this 2-CD Deluxe Edition used the correct tapes. The packaging features different inside art, with exceptional liner notes that explain the Lifehouse film/album project, which gave birth to these songs. More significantly, the so-called "Lifehouse to Leeds" alternate masters from NYC 1971 are finally presented completely uncut, without the heavy-handed editing featured on earlier reissues. These outtakes are substantially different early versions of album tracks, several of which some fans prefer. Best of all, disc two contains 75 minutes of the 95-minute live concert recorded on the Rolling Stones mobile studio at the Young Vic Theatre, one of the April 1971 "Lifehouse Concerts" (partially found only on mediocre-fidelity bootlegs). The audio fidelity exceeds that of Live at Leeds, and better yet, it's an entire disc of songs that a) hadn't been performed live before and b) in many cases would only ever get a few live performances. The Who were never so adventurous in their stage sets. And while several tracks are more sloppy than was usual for The Who live, the recording is nevertheless that of one of rock's all-time magnificent live bands, at the peak of their performing career, doing songs you've rarely or never heard them play. "Pure and Easy," "Love Ain't for Keeping," "Young Man Blues," "Water" (uncut, at last), and "The Naked Eye" (also uncut) are just plain stunning. It's the last of The Who remasters, and they've finally achieved perfection.