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The Who, Tommy: Deluxe Edition
4 stars out of 5
Adam Sweeting
Friday April 9, 2004
Following the deluxe edition of Who's Next last year,
which almost suffocated under its weight of additional
material, this double-disc reissue of Tommy arrives in
both SACD and conventional stereo formats, and bundles
in 17 demos and outtakes that throw fresh light on the
most convincing attempt yet to create a "rock opera". 
Even in humble stereo, the original Tommy scrubs up a
treat. Keith Moon's drums rumble around in great,
cavernous spaces, acoustic guitars sound razor-sharp
and the electric ones emit satisfying growling noises,
while additional layers of horns or piano sparkle
across the mix.

The story remains as opaque as ever, though its
lurking subtext of child abuse assumes new meaning in
the light of Townshend's recent experiences. The
additional tracks emphasise the intimate chamber-rock
approach the band adopted, in drastic contrast to the
cacophonous assaults they had become famous for. 

Most interesting of the lot are Pete Townshend's demos
of Amazing Journey and Pinball Wizard, assembled in
his home studio yet almost complete in themselves.
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