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 Sun Dec  7 12:53:45 PST 1997
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 1995 14:17:52 -0500
From: "Michael D. Mullins" <mullins>
To: OwtUvFuel@aol.com, mullins@ecn.purdue.edu
Subject: Re: My $.02 on the live disks...

   I must admit to having never seen the Kampuchea version of "Baba O' Riley"
(or anything else, other than "Behind Blue Eyes" on the video).  And I'll 
readily admit that the 1979 Chicago stuff is far superior to, say, Toronto '82,
but, in my opinion, it still isn't very good- it's more like the lesser of two
evils.  And irrespective of whether or not the other members of the band were
playing at their personal best in years, it just doesn't sound like the Who to
me without Keith Moon on drums.  I very honestly don't feel that, had the other 
members of the Who made a concerted effort, they could have come up with a 
drummer with a style more diametrically opposed to Keith's than Kenny Jones.
They replaced one of rock's most powerful, inventive and anarchic drummers with
staid, 50's-style, straight time-keeper, and as a result, ended up sounding just
like what Pete had always feared they would become- an cabaret act.  Simon 
Phillips was an improvement, but he was as cold and precise as Moon was fluid
and improvisational, and besides, any advantage they gained with him they 
squandered with that annoying horn section- speaking of "Baba O' Riley," the 
horns were especially annoying on it on the Reunion video; I couldn't "even 
hear Townshend's guitar" (if anybody else knows what I'm quoting from there,
let me know; if you don't know you should because it's hilarious...or maybe 
just scary).   
   Anyways, your comments on Pete's guitar playing- while I disagree- bring up
a very interresting point, which I've thought about many times.  It seems to me,
listening to old live stuff, that Pete's guitar-playing prowess actually seemed
to peak around the late 60's, and then nose-dived as the Tommy tour went on 
(maybe it was just a matter of him caring less at that point).  For example, the
Monterey rendition of "My Generation" is still my favorite, partially because 
Pete's solos are better here than on any other version I've hard- campare the 
short, snappy, piercing solos he does at Monterey to the almost indifferent-
sounding ones he does on, say, the otherwise-excellent '71 version on the 
"30YOMB&B" video.  And Pete's soloing on the Fillmore '68 tape, whether pot
influenced or not, are astounding, especially on "Relax" (no where else have I
heard Pete do Hendrix-style tremolo dive-bombs).  I think you can even hear a 
noticable difference between '69 and '70 Tommy-era soloing.  I think, for     
example, that the soloing on the '69 version of "Young Man Blues" from "The
Kids Are Alright" is actually better than that on the same at "Leeds" (and I've
never heard it, but isn't that supposedly-singular version version on "Pure Rock
Theatre" from '69?).  And I think Pete's soloing may well have gotten better in
the '79-'82 era than it had been all through the '70's, but for my money, he 
never again got as good as the '67-'69 period.  
   Interestingly, I have a friend who's an excellent guitar player, and has been
playing since high school, who said the same thing about his own playing.  We 
were listening to an old tape of him playing from years ago, and he said "Man, I
wish I could still play solos like that."  He felt, (probably correctly, to my
ears...) that he had gotten complacent and sort of "let his soloing go" over the
years.  I can't help but thing of this when I listen to Pete's soloing.  Oh     
well, food for thought.