Six tracks from the album's original but abandoned New York sessions flesh out the familiar material, with previously unreleased outtakes of "Getting in Tune" and a revealing, early arrangement of "Won't Get Fooled Again" warranting special note. The second disc documents one of Lifehouse's most quixotic elements with the first-time release of one of the series of concerts staged at London's Young Vic theatre during the project's gestation--events during which band and audience would somehow mystically become one. Core tracks from the project are interspersed with typical hard-rocking Who fare of the time, resulting in a show whose focus and dynamics belied something very different from the arena-rock clichés that would eventually overwhelm them. --Jerry McCulley
Well, between listening to the two side by side and running the tape box pictures past Steve, it would indeed seem the Deluxe Edition is the *second* time (at the very least) the true masters have been used for CD. There's little doubt in my mind that Hoffman's version also used the tapes. Both forms of the album sound quite good, although there are some differences between the two.
The Hoffman CD has an EQ that favors the vocals, with the side effect of causing the cymbals to sound a bit "midrangy". The Deluxe Edition, on the other hand, goes for a slightly more "smooth" cymbal sound, at the expense of the vocals, causing them to be submerged slightly, if you will. The DE is a bit less "open", IMO.
There are also some minor differences beyond EQ. For his CD, Hoffman essentially played the tapes back "straight", without fading the hiss out between tracks. [side note: the Canadian version has the hiss "blacked" between some tracks. The original US and Japanese pressings don't.] The Deluxe Edition takes a different approach. As the songs come to a close, the entire track is faded out, causing the hiss to fade as well. The side effect of this is that in some cases the very last moments of some songs are lost.Read more ›
Much like the 1995 re-release, the 'bonus tracks' are a major disappointment to say the least. The accompanying booklet goes into great depth discussing the additional songs recorded during the 'Lifehouse Sessions' that were omitted, so then why aren't any of them included here? Where's "Let's See Action", "Join Together", "Put The Money Down", "Time Is Passing", "Too Much Of Anything", and the definitive take of "Pure And Easy" (from the obscure 'Odds and Sods')?
Instead the consumer is treated to mostly redundant 'alternate take' versions of songs already included on "Who's Next". They might be interesting to hear once or twice, but the 'bonus track' space would have been much better served by including the titles listed above...and would have once and for all reconstructed "Who's Next" close to the original "Lifehouse" as was originally designed.
However, if you're a fan of The Who "Live At Leeds" and "Live At The Isle Of Wight", the second disk is a real treat. The sound quality is excellent, The Who play great, and you get rare 'live' renditions of songs from "Who's Next" that don't show up anywhere else. Disk 2 is reason enough to purchase this set.
Who knows (no pun intended), perhaps there will be yet another re-release of this classic album. And maybe next time it will include the missing 'Lifehouse' songs. For now, disk 2 will have to do as compensation. lr**
June 22, 2003