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  MCA -
  B0001386-36 (2 discs)
  The Who: Tommy
  "Tommy" - Deluxe Edition

The Who
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Review by musicmatters November 23, 2009 (8 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
I own several hybrid SACD's disks, but only just recently purchased a SA-CD player. On my standard CD player this album sounded great, but oh what a revelation this CD is on an SA-CD player!

I do not have to tell anyone how wonderful this album is. It was one of my favorite's growing up, and re-discovering it on SA-CD has been almost a religious experience. The sonics are better than I have ever heard on any album, and that's saying a lot because I own over 5,000 assorted CD's and albums.

The drums sound like Keith Moon has set his kit up in your living room and is pounding the hell out of them. But it is not just that they are loud, they are incredibly musical and alive sounding. You can almost see the drum skins reverberate back and forth.

As amazing as the drums are, the vocals, especially Pete Townshend's, sound close and fresh and immediate and supple. When he sings "I have no reason to be optimistic, but somehow when you smile I can brave bad weather" I you can see the smile on his face.

Daltry's vocals and Entwistle's bass both sound better that ever before, but for me it is the drums and Townshend's vocals that stand out on this issue. I am sure that after repeated plays, I will see more and more into the genius of this album and this re-issue.

Long live rock indeed...

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Review by vonwegen January 30, 2004 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Tommy is a snapshot of the Who in transition from their loud Mod roots to the more sophisticated fare of Who's Next and Quadrophenia. It has both the bare-bones hard rock of the My Generation album and baroque touches like John Entwhistle's French horn, making this release both raw & refined at the same time.

The 5.1 mix is like having Keith Moon in your living room--this has to be the most natural-sounding rock drum sound I've ever heard on disk, with the main drums positioned in the front right and the deeper rack toms and the floor toms put in the center speaker at peak moments. The electric guitar crunches all around and dances in and out of the masses of acoustic guitars (which sound like they were recorded with dynamic mics instead of the sweeter-sounding condenser microphones, giving a rawer feel). The vocals sound excellent, as does the bass guitar, lots of punch and clarity.

Disk one is essential, disk two less so, but still interesting, especially Moon's cackling laughter during abortive takes of "Tommy, Can You Hear Me?". There are a fair amount of instrumental versions of rejected takes.

The stereo mix is of historical importance because it is the original Kit Lambert 2-track mixdown tape, released 'as-is' for the first time. As such, it's less refined than the Jon Astley remix that is featured on the 1996 CD re-issue--the drums are markedly further back in the mix, and the guitars are not as clearly seperated and tend to overwhelm the drums, especially in loud sections.

30+ years on, the overall story of Tommy has dated badly in parts, but the main attraction of this SACD is that it showcases how well the Who played together as a band--despite Townshend's multiple guitar tracks on each sone & Entwhistle's overdubbed French horn parts, this album still sounds incredibly live and raw in both surround & stereo.

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Review by analogue February 26, 2009 (5 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
There's alot of great classic rock to be had on sacd. There is also some terrible releases as well.

Tommy is one of the good ones.

When vinyl records died out and we all went to cd I felt that somethinbg was missing. Digital sound was cold, sterile and lifeless to me. My love for music really wained. I took a chance and bought this sacd out of the blue to see what sacd was all about. And I have never looked back. I was literally blown away. Simply put.......what was missing from cd was replaced by sacd. The warmth, presence and life of vinyl records came back to me. It was a great experience so this sacd by the Who is special to me. It changed my life.

As this title was going to be released on both sacd and dvd-audio, the studio decided that they would record it using 24/96 pcm instead of using dsd from the master tapes.

As such I have a complaint that the treble and top end sounds brittle and harsh at times. The digital fingerprint of pcm if you will. But that is a minor complaint. What is good about the sacd Tommy is thr presence and richness it has. Moon's drums are very bombastic and realistic at times and there is a zip and energy to the music that can shock you.

That being said I do not want you to think I don;t recommend this sacd because I do. Here are the reasons:

1) they found the original two track mix down and used these tapes instead of a secondary tape. The sound is fantastic. The music has some warmth, can be very lifelike in the vocals and drums at times and for the most part this sacd has real solid presence about it. It sounds more vinyl like that cd like.
2) This is simply a great classic rock album from the late 60's and if you are a fan of this I can assure you that you never heard it sound this good in regular cd. If you are searching for classic rock that sounds great on can start here. Some people question the mixing of this but others accept it. It shouldn't be a problem if you love the music.
3) it has a bonus disc of great studio tracks and Pete Townsend demo's.

Highly recommended. I know it's pricey but it's worth it if you really love Tommy.

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