John Entwistle

Greatest Hits Live

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It took John Entwistle four years after the release of his first solo album to actually go out on tour -- that was in connection with his fourth solo album, Mad Dog, and whence this show (sharing a bill with Humble Pie on the latter's final concert) on March 15, 1975 at the Philadelphia Spectrum was recorded. Ironically, only one song from Mad Dog, "Cell Number Seven," and is featured on this disc -- all of the rest are either classic Entwistle/Who songs ("Whiskey Man," "Boris the Spider," "My Wife") or material off of his earlier solo albums, such as "My Size" (Entwistle: "I'm not boasting in any way"). The backing band, consisting of Robert Johnson (guitar, vocals), Mike Decan (keyboards), Graham Deacon (drums), and Jeff Daily (sax), is pretty tight, even if they don't generate the sort of massive wall of sound that the Who often did on stage -- it's a more articulate sound, giving Entwistle a chance to stretch out better vocally. He has great fun with "Boris the Spider" and "My Wife," and all of the versions of his own stuff here are worth owning, even as alternatives to the Who originals, some of which ("Whiskey Man") weren't done in concert all that often. As a bonus, we get a very Who-ish cover of "Not Fade Away," and an interview with Entwistle, conducted (by a guy who can sound like a real dork at times) immediately after hearing the concert anew in 1997, in which he reflects on the show, the tour, and his career; it's pretty entertaining and very honest. Johnson's guitar and Decan's keyboards sometimes get a bit buried in the mix, but that's okay, because Entwistle's bass is right up front and provides a massive, throbbing wash of sound. A fun and enjoyable alternative to Rhino's John Entwistle best-of.

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