A Quick One While He’s Away-The Who

Kind of wanky some might conclude, but total genius. To be honest, I’ve always thought The Who were fine, but the sound is always so clean it was hard for me to understand for what purpose this band was once “the loudest on Earth.” I heard a bootleg “Live at Fillmore East” on the radio and my mind was changed. To compare we have two versions of the epic “A Quick One While He’s Away.” Please note there are only three people playing instruments, and yet the band does not sound like Rush, they sound good. You might note a slight Beach Boys influence, yet instead of using a studio to create the different mini-vignettes within the opera, they just kind of happen.

Here’s the Who at Monterey Pop (awesome, very clean):

For comparison, though, here’s the same song live at the Fillmore East (1968), where you can sense how much more powerful they could be. Pete’s still playing super cleanly, but there is a muscularity there under the 60’s tone, he’s playing the Who’s sound, but it is more raw and crunchy. What is evident is how unbelievably well they performed. I mean Zep (whether you like them or not) could show flashes of awesome but I think it is clear they phoned it in sometimes.

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2 Responses to “A Quick One While He’s Away-The Who”

  • I’m working on my guest post.

  • I will ignore your baseless Rush snark and concentrate on the awesomeness of this song. One of the top 5 Who songs, especially live. The music, the structure, and the humor come together to make this a very unique song. The Live At Filmore version is definitely meatier (and bigger and bouncier), but the Live at Leeds version is even heavier (probably since it was professionally done). Moon and Entwistle are just thunderous on that record. They definitely thump as hard as Zeppelin ever did in that performance.

    When they were on top of their game, they were the best rock band ever. I think songs like this one, Substitute, Won’t Get Fooled Again, I Can’t Explain, My Generation, and Baba O’Riley stand with the greatest of the great songs.

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