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Last Updated: Monday, 19 June 2006, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Press views: The Who in Leeds
Veteran rock band The Who have launched their latest tour by recreating their legendary Leeds University concert of 1970.

Singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend, the only original members of the band still alive, unveiled a plaque at the university before Saturday's gig.

The Who release a new record in October - their first album in almost 23 years.


It was less than a minute before Pete, full of menace, was battering the hell out of his guitar with the trademark whirling arm on the opener Who Are You?

A couple of electrifying blasts later, Roger was swinging the mic around by its lead with the old abandon.

The excerpts from Tommy were breathtaking, Daltrey's singing heartbreaking on the Won't Get Fooled Again finale.

You just don't get to see groups of The Who's calibre playing in a hall that holds just 2,100. What a thrill.


The sense of occasion and heightened emotion was palpable. The Who - or what is left of them - responded with a performance that fully justified the hype.

"We are all back!" Pete Townshend announced to a roar of approval as he and Roger Daltrey led the band on stage.

Wire on Glass, a new "mini-opera", was a complex, stop-start affair, typical of the work that Townshend has been writing since the mid-1970s.

There was no attempt to revisit the glories of the Live at Leeds album itself. The set was, however, bookended by a run of classics.


For anyone who has grown up with The Who in stadiums, encountering them in a venue this size feels like being put in a field with a wild animal.

The first six songs are a ferocious blitzkrieg that prompts suspicions that this may actually be Live at Leeds all over again.

Daltrey's voice struggles occasionally but he seems determined to lead The Who into moments of transcendence like those that made their reputation.

A night of emotion, raw power and the creeping sense of history being made, again.


Forty-two years on from their first steps as the High Numbers, the group who mentored U2 and Pearl Jam still talk to every generation.

"Our set will certainly fail to match the now legendary show we did in 1970," Townshend wrote on his website the day before the gig. Could he possibly be wrong?

Towards the end The Who recapture the improvised magic of Live at Leeds as if drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle were there in more than spirit.

The audience's energy level sags but a medley of Pinball Wizard, Amazing Journey and See Me Feel Me sees them rolling back the years.

The Who recreate 1970 Leeds gig
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