The Who

Closer to Queen Mary

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Upgrading and expanding one of the best-known of all TMQ Who boots, this two-disc set is, in many ways, the last word on the band's 1971 American tour. Quality, performance, and conviction all outstrip other recordings, and, though the show itself turns up absolutely nothing exceptional in terms of material, we are treated to some fabulous crowd control courtesy of Pete Townshend ("This is a f*cking rock & roll concert, not a f*cking tea party"). Recorded at Long Beach in December 1971, it's a long show, made longer, of course, by the requisite slice of Tommy. But the real meat is contained amidst the Who's Next selections: ten minutes of "Won't Get Fooled Again," six of "Baba O'Riley," and a beautiful "Behind Blue Eyes." "Magic Bus" kicks off disc two in riotous fashion, and doesn't let up for another 18 minutes; "My Generation" rocks out for seven; and even "Naked Eye" is effortlessly stretched out for ten. In other words, it's the Who at their uncompromising best -- and things don't get much better than that.

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