John Entwistle - bass, lead vocals; Mike Deacon - keyboards; Robert A. Johnson - guitar, vocals; Graham Deakin - drums; Jeff Daily - saxophone
John Entwistle had a much more creative role in The Who than he was ever given credit for. Although he was usually relegated to one or two songs per album, similar to George Harrison in The Beatles, those songs were always memorable, usually humorous, and provided a counterbalance to the serious introspection found in the compositions of Pete Townshend.
Songs like "Heaven & Hell" and "My Wife" were some of the best tracks The Who cut during the early '70s. "Boris The Spider" is a cartoon song but it helped establish Entwistle with his macabre personality. "Whiskey Man," although not a hit for The Who, was among the best songs he ever wrote for the band. These tunes are among the highlights of this performance. Another highlight is the heavy metal anthem, "My Size," which was the opening track on Entwistle's first solo album. Other songs in the show include material from what had been the newest Entwistle solo album at the time: "Cell Number 7," "Who Cares?" and the humor-driven "Gimme That Rock And Roll."
Entwistle began his musical career playing brass instruments in Dixieland bands, which were very popular in England a few years prior to The Beatles and the British Invasion scene. He had been playing in a band called the Detours with a young, working-class guitarist named Roger Daltrey. Entwistle recommended another friend, Pete Townshend, as an extra guitarist for the group and, by 1964, with the addition of drummer Keith Moon, The Who's lineup was solidified. Under the watchful eye of producer Shel Tamy (The Kinks) and managers Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert, The Who merged U.S. R&B with riff rock and British pop sensibilities. The result was an edgy new sound and rebellious songs like "My Generation," and "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere (I Choose)."
Under the creative drive of Pete Townshend, The Who would go on to become one of the greatest studio and live bands in contemporary music. Entwistle, while rarely in the spotlight, was crucially important to the driving power behind the band's music. He only conducted a handful of tours with his initial solo band, Ox, and this recording, made in Philly during 1975, was after The Who's difficult Quadrophenia Tour. Difficult because the band was going through a bad patch with Daltrey and Townshend going at each other in the rock press. Entwistle basically decided a solo tour was the best way to escape the madness.
But none of that really matters. What's important is that this recording allows the listener to hear just how incredible Entwistle is as a bass player. His fluid, melodic bass lines revolutionized the way the instrument was used in standard rock recordings. There are also some neat rare surprises here, including Entwistle's bombastic version of the old Buddy Holly classic, "Not Fade Away."