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The songs were recorded live at the Young Vic Theatre, London, on 26 April 1971.

The group held a press conference on 13 January 1971, explaining that they would be giving a series of concerts at the Young Vic theatre, where they would develop the fictional elements of the proposed film (Lifehouse) along with the audience. After Keith Moon had completed his work on the film 200 Motels, the group performed their first Young Vic concert on 15 February. The show included a new quadrophonic public address system which cost £30,000; the audience was mainly invited from various organisations such as youth clubs, with only a few tickets on sale to the general public.

The group gave a further series of concerts at the Young Vic on 25 and 26 April, which were recorded on the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio by Andy Johns, but Townshend grew disillusioned with Lifehouse and further shows were cancelled. The project proved to be intractable on several levels, and caused stress within the band as well as a major falling-out between Townshend and Lambert. Years later, in the liner notes to the remastered CD, Townshend wrote that the failure of the project led him to the verge of a nervous breakdown. Audiences at the Young Vic gigs were not interested in interacting with the group to create new material, but simply wanted the Who to play "My Generation" and smash a guitar. At the time, Roger Daltrey said the Who "were never nearer to breaking up".

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