Rhythm & Views

The Who

UPON A CONSIDERATION of the term "classic"... Once upon a time there was a little old band from Shepherds Bush, England, and for close to two decades it defined, for all intents and purposes, the classic powerhouse rock 'n' roll band aesthetic. As the '70s became the '80s and the concept of Classic Rock reared, the band by default joined that unfortunately-named wave--but the songs remained, diminished by neither time nor fashion. Tellingly, The Who was among a handful of dinosaur bands the punks could stomach.

This 2-CD live collection finds Pete, John and Roger joined by Ringo's kid Zak Starkey (filling in for the late Keith Moon) and Rabbit Bundrick (keyboards), and it ranks as a four-star "classic" because, while there's no new material, the classic stuff breathes anew, with wit and vigor. Particularly during the heaping helping of their A-1 stone classic album Who's Next. And get this: Not only are you treated to stellar readings of "Behind Blue Eyes," "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again," a magnificent version of "Pure And Easy" turns up as well; fans will recall its thematic linkage with the others via the aborted Lifehouse project, which spawned Who's Next. (Townshend recently issued a six-CD Lifehouse box via his website.)

Nonbelievers may point their browsers at www.musicmaker.com for details of this internet-only disc. Consumer note: unlike Musicmaker.com's recent Jimmy Page/Black Crowes live album, The Who's set is pressed on professionally-designed CD-Rs.

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