I love The Who and they may even be my favourite band. For the last 40 years I’ve wanted a live album based around Who’s Next and Quadrophenia but sadly, it’s not Quadrophenia Live.
It’s not bad but nor is it essential in my opinion.
The official trailer video.
The Who Quadrophenia Live In London Review – 23/30
Set List Rating – 9/10
Quadrophenia is a terrific studio album and, at the time of writing this live album review, it’s on sale at Amazon.co.uk for just £3.99. That’s a steal for one of the best classic rock albums from the 1970s.
It feels the story of the struggles of a young mod in the 1960s who suffers from schizophrenia and has four personalities. Whilst it’s not the most uplifting of stories, the music itself is rousing both individually, song and song and collectively.
I Am The Sea – 1:58 (from the Quadrophenia studio album)
The Real Me – 3:41
Quadrophenia – 5:49
Cut My Hair – 4:08
The Punk And The Godfather – 5:01
I’m One – 3:00
The Dirty Jobs – 4:55
Helpless Dancer – 2:17
Is It In My Head – 3:37
I’ve Had Enough – 6:41
5:15 – 11:13
Sea And Sand – 5:40
Drowned – 7:20
Bell Boy – 5:10
Doctor Jimmy – 8:08
The Rock – 6:51
Love Reign O’er Me – 7:21 (The last Quadrophenia song)
Who Are You – 6:26 (from Who Are You and CSI)
You Better You Bet – 5:35 (Face Dances)
Pinball Wizard – 2:53 (Tommy)
Baba O’Riley – 5:27 (Who’s Next and CSI New York)
Won’t Get Fooled Again – 9:06 (Who’s Next and CSI Miami)
Tea & Theatre – 3:59 (Endless Wire)
What we have here is Quadrophenia with a few of the later greatest hits tacked on the end together with the lacklustre Tea & Theatre which is a poor way to end the show. Perhaps The Who’s live audience demand to hear most of these but I think it would have been much more interesting to hear some of the Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy early hits played before Quadrophenia to help set the mod scene.
From a live album perspective, I’m not sure that we need another Pinball Wizard, Baba O’Riley or Won’t Get Fooled Again. A more imaginative song selection would have justified a 10/10 rating.
Performance Rating 7/10
Performing we have the two remaining members of The Who, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey together with:
Simon Townshend – Guitar, Vocals
Frank Simes – Keyboards, Vocals
Pino Palladino – Bass
Scott Devours – Drums
John Corey – Keyboards, Vocals
Loren Gold – Keyboards, Vocals
Dylan Hart – Horn
Reggie Grisham – Horn
The two members of The Who, who are sadly no longer with us, appear with John Entwistle’s bass appearing in 5:15 (and it roars) and Keith Moon’s voice on Bell Boy.
Overall I think they do a good job of performing what is supposed to be a difficult set of songs considering the two main characters are in their late 60s. The original Who didn’t like performing many of these songs live and therefore, they were quickly dropped from the regular set.
I can understand some criticisms of Roger’s voice compared to the great singer he was in the 1960s and 70s but it’s unrealistic to expect it to remain unchanged for 40 years. The same applies to when Pete sings.
Sea And Sound
The Real Me
Authenticity & Atmosphere Rating – 7/10
Two out of four original members keeps this away from being a tribute album but I can’t overlook the issue that this is half The Who playing Quadrophenia 40 years too late.
I’ve always regarded all four members of The Who as essential as Entwistle and Moon created that thunderous roar. Replacements may play the same notes and keep the same rhythm but something is lost in the tone. That’s two points dropped.
There’s very little interaction with the crowd. Pete Townshend used to introduce songs from Quadrophenia with an explanation of the story and that might have been nice to revive. I’m in danger of over-penalising the album in this section but I think a rating of 7/10 is fair to generous.
Overall rating – 23/30
I feel mean with that rating which would just tip into four stars if I was writing this review on Amazon but it sums up how I feel. It’s a good but not great live album.
I love live albums based around promoting an album but I’m not so keen on those that play an album in its entirety and in the correct order unless there is a major reinterpretation of the music. If it’s just an imitation, it begs the question “Why bother to listen to this when you can hear the studio album?”
The 1970 recordings of Tommy on Live At Leeds, Hull and the Isle of Wight gave Tommy bigger balls and chest hair. The studio album always sounded wimpy to me. Join Together added brass and at the time when the album was originally released, it was the first live version of Tommy. They all had a purpose that extended beyond being a souvenir for the people at the gigs.
I’m not sure how often I’m going to play this live album. If I want to listen to Quadrophenia, I think I’ll turn to the studio album with all four original members rather than this live version.
There are a few great missing live albums and The Who live between 1973 to 1975 is one of them. The run of albums from Who’s Next to The Who By Numbers is my favourite period.
I haven’t seen the video of Quadrophenia Live In London so I can’t comment about the more expensive versions of the release. I worry that I might have the same problem as I had with Led Zep’s Celebration Day, old men playing hard rock.
What Other People Say
Buying Quadrophenia Live In London By The Who
You can get this live album from:
What Are The Other Live Albums By The Who?
The Who have released a lot of live albums over the years including:
- The Who Live In Leeds 1970 (this is the classic that is regularly rated as one of the best live albums ever released).
- The Who Live In Hull 1970
- The Who Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
- Who’s Last 1982
- Join Together 1989 (this is odd but I like it)
- Blues To The Bush 1999 (this is a personal favourite)
What Are The Best Live Albums Of All Time?
I have included Quadrophenia Live in the best classic rock live albums poll.
If You Like This, I Think You Will Also Like…
There are few concept albums as sweeping and ambitious as Quadrophenia so instead, let’s look for some classic (hard but popular) rock live albums
- The Rolling Stones Brussels Affair1973 – guitarist Mick Taylor is superb on this one.
- Led Zeppelin How The West Was Won – self indulgent in places but take those tracks out and you’re left with a very solid live album
- Peter Frampton Comes Alive – I don’t understand its popularity but all those people can’t be wrong, can they?