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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on April 13, 2003
As most people know, one of the main selling points of Who's Next: Deluxe Edition is that the original album comes from the original stereo master tapes "for the first time on CD". The story is that only copy tapes have been used all of these years. On the other hand, Steve Hoffman, former MCA engineer, has claimed for a long time that he found the master tapes in a file cabinet at the Mastering Lab in LA in the mid-80s and used them for his CD version, one variation of which is still available in Canada today.
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.
Interesting note: the between song gaps for most of the album seem to be just about identical between the Hoffman CD and the DE. However, while some previous versions of the original mix (including the Hoffman) have essentially no pause between Behind Blue Eyes and Won't Get Fooled Again, the Deluxe Edition has a few seconds of silence between the two. Very strange. On the other hand, the old US MCA CD (a version not mastered by Hoffman) does have a small gap as well.
A big question on many peoples minds has been noise reduction (NR). Jon Astley (who mastered the Deluxe Edition) is notorious for using NR on just about everything. This has the effect of sucking the life out of the music and causing nasty digital artifacts. Kind of a "swirling" sound if you will. Just listen to some of Live At Leeds: Deluxe Edition for a good (or bad, I guess) example of this. Well, I've got good and bad news. The good news is that *most* of the album is NR-free. Hiss levels are usually about the same as the Hoffman CD, and in a few cases they actually seem to be every so slightly higher. That said, several intros, quiet sections, and fade-outs do have noise reduction. One key place is Won't Get Fooled Again - the intro, synth break, and fade-out all have NR. There's very little hiss during the break, and then as soon as the drums come in, the hiss level goes *way* up. Fortunately the NR isn't quite as intrusive as it was on some other Astley-mastered CDs, but it is still annoying, and there's simply no reason for it.
As far as the rest of the (bonus) cuts go, I haven't really gotten that far yet. I would note that while Baby Don't You Do It is longer than on the 1995 CD, it is still edited in a few places. What's the point?
On the other hand, some (but not all) of the backing vocals mixed out of Pure & Easy on the 1995 CD are present here. The song also comes to a formal close, rather than a fade-out.
Behind Blue Eyes still only has a single guitar solo, unlike the dual solos on the bootleg mix.
I briefly skimmed through disc 2. Rich "White Fang" Weiner has said he thought the mastering was significantly worse on this disc, but honestly, I don't hear (m)any negative effects of noise reduction. It's certainly better than I was expecting. That said, I haven't heard the mixes prior to mastering, and I believe he has. Whatever the case, the sound is *far* better than some of Jon Astley's prior work.
How would I rate this set? Well, it was certainly better than expected. A key selling point is use of the "original tape" for the original album. While I'd say it does sound *very* good, bits of noise reduction aside, I'm hesitant to say it sounds "better" than the Hoffman CD. Both versions have their own strengths and weaknesses. Casual fans will probably do fine with the DE, although I'd still suggest the Hoffman CD to those who really care about sound quality. You might still prefer the DE, but then again, you might not.
Even ignoring the original album, I'd say the set is well worth picking up. The mixes of the Record Plant material are interesting, and the Young Vic show is great from both a performance and sound standpoint.
Despite its flaws, in my opinion this is the best Who reissue to come out in a long time.
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on September 29, 2006
As a collector of the Deluxe Editions of many bands, I have heard both good and mediocre sets. The mediocre ones suffer from thin extras. WHO'S NEXT however is perfect.

Disc one presents the classic album is high fidelity and a generous bunch of outtakes. Disc two is a great surprise: The Old Vic show where the band honed the songs to, well, perfection. This set is bursting with great music, in quality and quantity.

If you buy only 1 Who CD, this is it.
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on December 28, 2012
This is a review for what Amazon lists as "Who's Next (Original Mix)" which from what I understand, is supposed to be the original Canadian release of the CD.

From what I was told, this is Steve Hoffman's master. It also clocks in at 43:26.

It sounds fantastic in my opinion, and is worth the price.

Also, from what I've heard, it is sourced from an analog tape copy of Steve Hoffman's master. But it still sounds great regardless. It's supposed to sound very close (if not, just like) the original Japanese release, aside from some fadeouts on certain tracks (which doesn't bother me at all personally).

I highly recommend this particular version of the disc. It might save you time and money tracking down the original Japanese disc.
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on April 13, 2003
Although the Deluxe Edition hypes that the original version uses the original master tapes for the first time, this is not true. In 1984, Steve Hoffman remastered this disc in the 1980s (a copy of the digital master he made from the original master tape was used on this Canadian budget import version available at,, and other Canadian music stores). The master tape was found in a file cabinet in The Mastering Lab in LA back in the 1980s and used it for the CD. The Hoffman CD has an EQ that favors the vocals. 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.]
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on January 20, 2014
I've heard this album hundreds of times, it never sounded this good. I got the Steve Hoffman remaster, which was made by a talented engineer from the original master tapes. If that's what you want, make sure you get:
MCABD 37217
I'm not sure if these reviews only get applied to that specific disk, rather than the title.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon December 7, 2009
The owner of a local CD store recently told me that the current 15 - 25 year old demographic is buying more 1970s music than the music of any other era, including contemporary bands. In fact, he said, 1970s bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd outsell all of today's bands combined! Interesting statistic, if it's true.

If the younger guys have this interest in 1970s music, then perhaps those of us who were around in the 1970s should put them on to some of that decade's better music.

Here's one contribution from me. The Who's Who's Next is one of the 10 best albums of the 1970s. As such, it should be considered one of the essential albums in any collection of 1970s music.

It's just an excellent album throughout.

For those of you who haven't heard the album, you may be familiar with one track. The CSI TV series franchise has taken tunes by The Who as the theme music for its shows. The song 'Who Are You', for example is the theme for the CSI show based in Las Vegas. CSI: NY uses a song from this album 'Baba O'Riley' as it theme music.

You know you're getting old when the music you listened to in high school becomes elevator music and the theme music for TV shows. What a depressing thought!

Bottom line: Great album. One of the 1970s best albums. If you're collecting 1970s music, this is an essential album for your collection.
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on June 22, 2003
Once again, MCA re-releases "Who's Next", and once again, MCA misses the opportunity to finally put out the 'definitive' "Who's Next" compilation.
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
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on January 20, 2014
One of my favorite cds from my younger years. of course the delivery was excellent & arrived before the given date of delivery.I highly recommend this cd. Loaded with classic songs from start to finish ! I always rely on to fulfill my orders!
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on June 18, 2004
Many Who fans name 1971's "Who's Next" as the Who's masterpiece, and why not---*every single track* on it is an FM-radio staple. My personal favorite Who album remains "Tommy," but "Who's Next" easily gets the runner-up slot. It's a classic Who album AND a classic rock album in general, no doubt about it. "Who's Next" began life as the Who's follow-up rock opera to "Tommy," which was to be called "Lifehouse." But, to make a long story short, "Lifehouse" turned out to be too complicated a project for guitarist Pete Townshend & company to put together, despite all of their efforts. So, the "Lifehouse" project was abandoned altogether, but Townshend made the wise decision to save some of the songs written for "Lifehouse" for the next Who album, which would NOT be a rock opera, but would just be a "regular" Who album. And "Who's Next" was born. (As for "Lifehouse," it would remain shelved until 1999, when Townshend finally presented it as a BBC radio play.)ALL nine tracks on "Who's Next" are signature Who songs: "Baba O'Riley," "Bargain," "Love Ain't For Keeping," "My Wife," "The Song Is Over," "Getting In Tune," "Going Mobile," "Behind Blue Eyes," and "Won't Get Fooled Again." All of them brilliantly written by Townshend except for "My Wife," which was brilliantly penned by bassist John Entwistle (some fans name "My Wife" as the album's best song---I'm sure that makes Townshend feel really good!). Besides the outstanding songwriting, the Who totally ROCK on this sucker. Roger Daltrey's singing voice is a force of nature all on it's own (and Daltrey also gets one of THE greatest rock screams ever recorded on "Won't Get Fooled Again"), Townshend's guitar & keyboard work is both ferocious and beautiful, and his occasional singing compliments Daltrey's very strongly. John Entwistle's bass is a monster, and his vocal on "My Wife" is excellent (his horn-playing on the song is also pretty cool). And Keith Moon is simply an electrifying powerhouse on the drumkit.This remastered edition of "Who's Next" not only sounds great, but it also comes with seven classic bonus tracks, including an alternate version of "Behind Blue Eyes," and other Who greats like "Baby Don't You Do It," "Naked Eye," "Pure And Easy," "Water," "Too Much Of Anything" and "I Don't Even Know Myself." From beginning to end, this Who CD is a complete package. As it's been said so many times before, The Who's "Who's Next" is a definitive, all-time rock classic, and one of the group's very best works. NO rock fan's music collection is complete without it.
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on June 16, 2004
The Art of a Live Show
A beat pulsating through your veins, emotion to overwhelm you, and the experience of being near a god; live shows were once rocks main attraction and an event that could alter your perception of the world. Before there were cds, mp3s or music videos, there were concerts, records, and at most a television appearance or two. Claims that looks weren't such a value at one time in comparison to current times is a misguided judgment, of course rock stars still needed a "look", but at a certain point in the crowd you tend not to be able to see too much of a performer. Rock and roll used to be an industry of good music, now it is an industry of moment.
Live shows are not just occurrences they are life. When you attend a concert there is an aura that surrounds you. Based on the band that you see an aura can change, it is not just a "feeling", it is a state of being. A rock concert of the highest quality is enlightenment. Effects of body, mind and soul occur at once as you let the music absorb you. Body's crash together in a frenzy of good feeling, your mind is phased by experiences past and present and true meaning. Your soul is clarified and set free, for a moment you are immortal, coexisting with your soul as an object, almost tangible.
Cds and mp3s are all about convenience and efficiency. Cheap, readily available and mass produced music is not hard to acquire. Digital technology allows there to be "improved" sound quality and added features and sounds. Records were a pure and poor replacement for concerts when one was in need of some tunes. Records were exactly what were played, by the exact artists who claimed the music as theirs. Every sound was picked up, every imperfection that creates the perfection of sound records have achieved.
From a distance in the crowd you see the outline of a rock god, you can not make out every last feature, but he omits this aura of good looks. From your couch only feet away from your television screen you see the blemish on the face of a "wannabe" vocalist, you are turned off. The closer we are to seeing rock gods the more prone to judging them and characterizing any flaws that they have. Between one and a screen there is no transfer on energy, there is no aura, a sense of being barely exists as technology advances on our looks.
Rock, music, and life were once all about "it", now we are left for, "what can we have now, that is the bet of everything". In all imperfection is perfection and in all people judgment occurs based on different standards. Rock and roll used to be an industry of good music, now it is an industry of moment.
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