Friday, April 23, 2010

The Who - Sparks

One of the best parts of a Who concert is when the band plays a combination of "Underture/Sparks" from their Tommy album. I've listened to many different live versions of the song and I would rank them all good to great. Even a version from the 1989 tour in Glens Falls is really good, although some fans don't like it because it lacks a bit of the song's usual latent aggression.

The Who Live in Boston 2002 DVD finishes really strong with "Amazing Journey/Underture/ Sparks/See Me Feel Me" and then "Listening to You." That DVD's "Sparks" has become known as the "Iwo Jima Version" where Pete Townshend goes into a thing about Captain Walker hanging out with General MacArthur in Iwo Jima. In Tommy, Walker is reported missing and presumed dead. Eventually he shows up later on in the story.

Back to "Sparks." Some of the other performances of the song that I like are The Who at Georgetown in 1969 which is incredible and of course I can't discount the versions of "Sparks" at Woodstock (1969), Isle of Wight (1970) or Leeds (1970) which are all out of this world.

Recently, though, I came across the above video. Pete does something different from 2:23 to 2:30. He seems to be playing something that sounds very similar to the opening riff of U2's "Where The Streets Have No Name." By the way, that U2 song didn't come out until 1987.

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