The Day The Who Went Live at Leeds

(Gibson) On this day in 1970, The Who appeared at Leeds University, England. The show was recorded for the band's forthcoming Live at Leeds album. Gibson looks back: Leeds University, Leeds, England. It was Valentine's Day, 1970 and The Who were about to enter the '70s with one of the greatest live performances in rock and roll history. Fortunately, the band had already decided to record the gig. It was one of the best decisions Pete Townshend ever made.

The Who were back in England after an impressive U.S. tour, a climactic appearance at Woodstock and the universally lauded and pioneering Tommy album. As musical contemporary Rick Wakeman recalls, "The Who were at the time the loudest band in the world. They had just conquered America, played at Woodstock and Tommy was being hailed as a work of genius. And what did they do? Arrived at Leeds Uni and recorded what I reckon to be the best live album ever."

The Who had more than 80 hours of tapes from assorted U.S. shows that they'd recorded but Townshend and Co. couldn't face the chore going through all those tapes and, fearful of bootleggers, destroyed all the American recordings.

A live album would come from two new shows. Using the same engineers who worked with Ginger Baker and Cream they would record two gigs. One in Leeds on Valentine's Day, the other at Hull the following night. Both were recorded but, as Roger Daltrey explains, only the first was usable.

"We recorded the next night's gig too at Hull. To be honest, that was a great gig too but when we listened back to the tape we hadn't recorded the bass!" more on this story

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