Tuesday, 28 August 2018

The Rolling Stones - Havana Moon Live In Cuba (2016)


To be honest, this is a pretty pointless live release, in some ways, with only "Out Of Control" remotely near approaching the status of a live "rarity". The sound quality is extremely good, but at times The Stones' playing, at times,  is slapdash - Keith misses a few notes clearly on occasions, particularly in the messy beginning to "Brown Sugar", at the end of the concert. Every now and again on Stones live albums there are clumsy bits like this. The always seem to come out the other side, however. They do here too -  there are some great moments - they do a gritty, bluesy, slide guitar-dominated "You Gotta Move" which is a real highlight. The crowd feed off it, particular when Jagger leads them into an ad hoc singalong and that adds to the enjoyment. You really get the feeling he and the band were loving it. "Start Me Up" elicits a similar reaction.

The crowd roar and "woo-woos" in an atmosphere and powerful "Sympathy For The Devil" is also really uplifting. This track is just before the afore-mentioned "Brown Sugar" yet they play it superbly, so there you go. The sound on it is awesome too. Just great stuff. They can still attack this track effortlessly all these years later, fair play to them. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" is the same - full of bassy and bluesy power. It sounds as fresh in 2016 as it did in 1969. Nothing has been lost in all the intervening years. Check the searing guitar solo on it.

Keith delivers "Before They Make Me Run" in that country rock-ish, enjoyable, twangy style, his croaky old voice just can't be anything but appealing.

There is a good live atmosphere, because The Stones had never played Cuba before, and for many it was an emotional landmark moment, but, that apart, it is pretty inessential. I guess its cultural importance and demand for it in Cuba necessitated its release.


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