Who’s Missing is undoubtedly the better of the two, and side two of that album contained some of my most played Who tracks back then. Fast forward 10 years and the ‘Great Vinyl Cull’ of 1995, as I like to call it, was the last time I saw that record out in the wild. I needed the money and vinyl was dead, right? So I took all my vinyl to Selectadisc in Nottingham and they bought almost all of it, but that’s a story for another day. Suffice it to say it wasn’t that long before I was earning proper money, had seen the error of my ways and started re-collecting all my old LPs, and lots of new ones!
The first thing to mention is this was written after Nicky Wire lost both of his parents just before the pandemic, and continuing into lockdown the album, or at least its lyrics, reflects sadness, insecurities and loneliness. The loneliness of being an orphan is real even well into middle age. Been there myself. But more than that it makes you reflect on and see the world altogether differently, probably due to the heightened sense of your own mortality.
We kick off with an acoustic version of So Sad About Us, complete with intro by Pete himself. A lovely demonstration of Townshend’s guitar prowess. But, alas, at 2:26 it abruptly stops and heads straight into Brr. Brr is a great piece of music that sounds like it would fit on Rough Mix (1977) quite happily but I’d have preferred it if the entirety of So Sad had survived. Zelda is a standout from side one for me, it reminded me of Michael Nyman (reviewed here too) with the ‘heartbeat’ of violin going through the entire track, and as far as I know, appeared nowhere else other than this compilation. I couldn’t see it on any Who album but it would have played nicely with other solo stuff I think.