Live at Leeds: The Who’s legendary gig remembered 50 years on

The Who on Top of the Pops in 1973
Image caption The Who have been on the peak of their powers after they recorded the album in Leeds

On the 50th anniversary of a legendary gig by The Who, individuals who have been there have been recalling how the band “threw everything into it.”

The rock group performed on the packed University of Leeds refectory on 14 February 1970 and recorded the gig.

The document it spawned, Live at Leeds, is usually cited as top-of-the-line stay rock albums of all time.

Ed Ferguson, a Who fan who was on the Valentine’s Day live performance, mentioned: “I remember it vividly. The band threw everything into it.”

Mr Ferguson, then an economics scholar at Leeds Polytechnic, was an enormous fan of the band and first noticed them in 1968.

“Leeds University was then the number one venue for rock music, week after week I saw the top bands and I would be there most Saturdays”, he mentioned.

He remembered queuing up on that Saturday for tickets costing a number of shillings in these pre-decimal occasions.

Roger DaltreyImage copyright Chris McCourt
Image caption Chris McCourt’s black and white footage of the evening weren’t revealed till 1995
Keith MoonImage copyright Chris McCourt
Image caption Ed Ferguson mentioned drummer Keith Moon was going “completely crazy”

Mr Ferguson mentioned individuals knew the live performance was to be recorded and mentioned “anyone there would remember it to this day”.

“It was very, very hot and we were crammed in like sardines”, he mentioned.

Mr Ferguson mentioned he was fortunate to be within the metropolis when “gig economics just worked” and a scholar union might host such an occasion.

Five many years on, the previous scholar is now the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and likewise sits on the University Council however mentioned music was “still very much part of my life”.

The Who in 1970
Image caption Dr Simon Warner mentioned when The Who performed in February 1970 “they were pretty well the hottest band in the land”

Chris McCourt, a 17-year-old beginner photographer was chosen by the band to take footage that evening.

He was requested to take footage on the Leeds gig, and one at Hull the subsequent day, for a £50 charge, regardless of having no expertise of stay music pictures.

“There was not much of a stage at Leeds but I took what pictures I could”, Mr McCourt mentioned.

“It was fairly casual. I used to be standing proper in entrance of the stage and it was a lively crowd.

Mr McCourt recalled the band performed for greater than two hours and his color pictures have been for use for a possible album cowl.

The Live and Leeds album and singles
Image caption Rolling Stone referred to as the album’s inserts and packaging “a tour-de-force of the rock and roll imagination”

However, he had one other digicam and rolls of black and white movie that he additionally used to take footage for himself.

“I wasn’t a Who fan and I never bought the live album”, he admitted.

None of his footage have been used for an album cowl and on the time Mr McCourt didn’t even print the black and white footage he took.

It was not till 1995 when a few of his work from the evening was revealed in a music journal and on reissued CDs of the gig.

Mr McCourt remembered “it was hard work that night but I had no previous experience and didn’t know what I was doing”.

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The Refectory at Leeds University during a gig by Rag'n'Bone ManImage copyright Elouisa Georgiou Photography
Image caption The Refectory at Leeds University throughout a gig by Rag’n’Bone Man

Steve Keeble, of the scholar union, mentioned the venue The Who performed was nonetheless largely unchanged.

“It’s a student refectory, many of the students eating their lunch will be oblivious to the fact it’s one of the most historic rock venues in the country,” he mentioned.

Dr Simon Warner, visiting analysis fellow within the faculty of music on the college, mentioned: “The Who taking part in right here in 1970 gave the venue such a standing, bands wished to play right here and play right here they did.

“The album was released in a nondescript, undistinguished brown paper packet meant to hint it was a bootleg, even though it wasn’t.”

Dr Warner mentioned the largest teams of the day would seem on the college in that period.

“The college circuit was massive, it’s not anymore but in 1970 it was rocking”, he added.

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The Who live at Woodstock in 1969Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Who at Woodstock in 1969

The Who

  • Formed in London in 1964
  • Classic line-up was Roger Daltrey (lead singer), Pete Townshend (guitarist), John Entwistle (bass) and Keith Moon (drums)
  • The Live at Leeds recording caught the band on the peak of its powers
  • It was launched on 16 May 1970 and featured six tracks, together with three covers
  • The album has been remixed and reissued quite a few occasions
  • Moon died in 1978 and Entwistle in 2002
  • A blue plaque was unveiled on the refectory in 2006 and the band performed the venue once more
  • The Who’s 2020 UK tour has a date in Leeds.


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