Pete Townshend

Live: Sadler's Wells 2000

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With the advent of the internet and artist-run websites in the '90s, musicians could bypass record companies and issue special releases directly to their fans. With the launch of his own site, Pete Townshend has made several releases available only through his site -- most notably the Lifehouse Chronicles box set, as well as assorted solo shows from throughout the years. The double disc Live: Sadler's Wells 2000 documents a Townshend concert recorded with a full backing band and the London Chamber Orchestra, as Townshend's oft-analyzed masterwork, Lifehouse, is performed in its entirety. While the complex storyline is not discussed or narrated at all, all the songs that would have appeared as part of the original project are featured. Townshend sticks to acoustic guitar for the most part, as his voice and backing band are in fine form. The orchestra more or less plays mood pieces (such tracks as "Tragedy" and "Baba O'Riley-Orchestra") and leaves the traditional songs to Townshend and his crew. The only criticism of the disc is that Townshend from time to time passes the lead vocal duties to his backup singers, and while they posses fine voices, it would have been even better if Townshend took on the singing 100 percent. But overall, this small fault is easily overlooked in the big picture, especially with so many great versions of rarely performed Who compositions: "Goin' Mobile," "Mary," "Getting' in Tune," "Pure and Easy," "Relay," and "The Song Is Over." Also featured are such Townshend/Who classics as "Baba O'Riley," "Behind Blue Eyes," "Who Are You," and, of course, "Won't Get Fooled Again." For fans of Who's Next/Lifehouse, Live: Sadler's Wells 2000 is highly recommended.

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