Wednesday, 18 December 2019

The Rolling Stones - Live Recordings




Rolling Stones live albums are many. I have covered most of them here, but not all of them. I hope I have managed to deal with most of the phases of their live career. These are the ones reviewed:-

On Air At The BBC (1963-1965)
Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out (1969)
Live At The Marquee (1971)
Ladies And Gentlemen - The Rolling Stones (1972)
The Brussels Affair (1973)
LA Forum (1975)
Love You Live (1977)
Some Girls Live In Texas (1978)
Hampton Coliseum (1981)
Still Life (1982)
Flashpoint (1990)
Tokyo Dome (1991)
Voodoo Lounge Uncut (1994)
Stripped (1995)
Totally Stripped (1995)
No Security (1998)
Bridges To Buenos Aires (1998)
Bridges To Bremen (1998)
Live From San Jose (1999)
Live Licks (2004)
Live From Toronto (2005)
Shine A Light (2007)
Sweet Summer Sun Live In Hyde Park (2013)
Sticky Fingers Live At The Fonda Theatre (2015)
Havana Moon Live In Cuba (2016)
Honk Compilation Live Tracks

Scroll down to read the reviews chronologically.

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ON AIR AT THE BBC (1963-1965)

 

Recorded at the BBC in various sessions between 1963 and 1965

This is an excellent release of Live at the BBC recordings from the first two years of The Rolling Stones’ career.

What is a bit irritating is that the performances are not synchronised in any particular chronological order. Digitally, I have remedied this by numbering the tracks in the correct order. I find it makes for a better listening experience.

The sound quality on this double CD “deluxe edition” is variable, from the surprisingly impressive to the not quite so good. The three 1963 tracks from The Saturday Club are really very good indeed, clear and sharp. Roll Over Beethoven is certainly a rarity. The four 1964 tracks from Blues And Rhythm are similarly good. It really is a pleasure to listen to the band so tight, so early in their career. Mick Jagger was already perfectly his “transatlantic drawl”, however. Great to hear You Better Move On from these sessions. It really is surprising just how good some of these recordings sound, after all this time.

The 1964 Top Gear cuts are not quite so good. A few slight sound drops and they are mono as opposed to stereo, sounding as if they are being played on a 1960s transistor radio. Still listenable though. Nice to hear Crackin' Up, which of course would resurface on 1977’s Love You Live. I Can't Be Satisfied is a welcome addition too.

1964’s Saturday Club material is much worse, however. Very muffled. Surprising, considering 1963’s material from the same show was so good. Carol is a little better than I Wanna Be Your ManWalking The Dog has nice bass reproduction but is still somewhat muffled.



I Just Want To Make Love To You has slightly better sound but is blighted by screaming girls like on the Got Live If You Want It recording. The Joe Loss Pop Show songs are even worse for general sound quality. Strange how, chronologically, the sound gets worse! After a while, though, you get used to it. The quality returns, though, with the material from Rhythm And Blues from 1965.  Also the next bunch of Saturday Club stuff, with a rousing Satisfaction and Oh Baby We Got A Good Thing GoingCry To Me sounds great too.

The tracks from Yeah Yeah are even better. An excellent, bassy Spider And The Fly. The Top Gear tracks end things on a high.

Overall, an interesting listen.

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GET YER YA-YAs OUT (1969)

  

Yes, the original Ya-Ya's album is a superb live album. Now remastered by Bob Ludwig it captures The Rolling Stones at the peak of their live powers in November 1969 at New York City's Madison Square Garden. The performance is pulsating from the opening bars of Jumping Jack Flash through to a storming Street Fighting Man. Good to hear Carol and Little Queenie in there and Live With Me is always welcome in my book. Apparently Sympathy For The Devil was song three on the actual set list, this is alterable if you are playing it digitally.

I owned the album anyway, and a real motivation for me was to have the five "bonus" tracks that were previously unreleased. You get a great version of Under My Thumb; the folky blues of Prodigal SonI'm Free; more blues in You Gotta Move (which had not appeared on an album as yet, it ended up on 1971's Sticky Fingers; and Satisfaction. Good to have the live "set" (taken from two consecutive nights) expanded from the original. Again, digitally, one can arrange the whole 15 song setlist in the order as played.

Also of interest to was the live material from the show's wonderful opening acts - B.B. King and Ike & Tina Turner. What support acts! The King material is superb. In many ways I enjoy listening to this material more than The Stones because I have heard it less. Check out the guitar/bass interplay in That's Wrong Little Mama. Phenomenal. Why I Sing The Blues. Wow. What a bassline. King's lead guitar blows you away. You can hear the sell-out crowd loving it too. Oh to have been there.


Ike and Tina Turner's set was suitably frenetic from the opening instrumental cover of Spencer Davis'Gimme Some Lovin' that segues into Arthur Conley's Sweet Soul Music. When Tina first sings "do you like good music", it sends shivers down my spine. Then they do a soulful Son Of A Preacher Man before it's time to do the next song - Proud Mary, of course. Unfortunately without the "nice...and...slow" build up. No matter.


It is so rewarding to get this material alongside The Stones' show and it just makes you reflect on what a great night it must have been.

The sound quality on the whole thing is top quality. Nice and bassy, which always suits me.

ROLLING STONES

1. Jumpin' Jack Flash

2. Carol
3. Stray Cat Blues
4. Love In Vain
5. Midnight Rambler
6. Sympathy For The Devil
7. Live With Me
8. Little Queenie
9. Honky Tonk Women
10. Street Fighting Ma
11. Prodigal Son
12. You Gotta Move
13. Under My Thumb
14. I'm Free
15. Satisfaction                                       

B.B. KING

1. Everyday I Have The Blues
2. How Blue Can You Get
3. That's Wrong Little Mama
4. Why I Sing The Blues
5. Please Accept My Love   
                                  
IKE & TINA TURNER

1. Gimme Some Loving
2. Sweet Soul Music
3. Son Of A Preacher Man
4. Proud Mary
5. I've Been Loving You Too Long
6. Come Together

7. Land Of A Thousand Dances   

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LIVE AT THE MARQUEE (1971)



Recorded at London's Marquee Club in 1971

Yes, the set is considerably shorter than others in the series but considering it dates from the small Marquee Club venue in 1971 the sound is outstanding and there isn't much else around from this (comparatively) fallow period in The Stones' live career. The band are on top form at this time, just prior to the release of Sticky Fingers by about a month. Some familiar tracks are getting their first live outings here.

It contains powerful versions of Live With MeDead Flowers, a first outing for I Got The Blues and, it is good to hear the comparative rarity of Let It RockBitch rocks too, as you would expect, as does Midnight Rambler

The almost soulful, slowed down version of Satisfaction is certainly not definitive, and it disliked by some, but it is an interesting take on this much-played standard. It turns the song into a horn-driven soul groove, just as Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin did. Sooner hear this than hear it played "straight" for the 5 billionth time! The "alternative" take of both Bitch and I Got The Blues are very similar to both each other and the ones from the main set. They don't bring too much to the table to be honest.

All These From The Vault recordings are good, and, despite its shorter length, this is one of my favourites from the series.

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LADIES AND GENTLEMEN - THE ROLLING STONES (1972)



1. Intro
2. Brown Sugar
3. Bitch
4. Gimme Shelter
5. Dead Flowers
6. Happy
7. Tumbling Dice
8. Love In Vain
9. Sweet Virginia
10. You Can't Always Get What You Want
11. All Down The line
12. Bye Bye Johnny
13. Rip This Joint
14. Jumpin' Jack Flash
15. Street Fighting Man

The Rolling Stones at one of their live peaks - playing material from the late sixties/early seventies albums with a verve, vigour and energy pretty much unrivalled in their long career. The set list contains not too many rarities though, save Chuck Berry's Bye Bye JohnnyDead Flowers has some excellent guitar and Jagger's best lazy, affected vocal. A highlight is an authentic, bluesy Love In Vain, with some raw, dirty guitar and a real "live" sound to it. Therein lies a lot of the appeal of this album - its unpolished, rootsy energy. There are some great horns bits near the end of Vain, and at the beginning of a rough and ready You Can't Always Get What You Want. Down 'n' dirty, industrial Stones at their best.

The sound quality is a little bit hit and miss, to be honest - raw and edgy and a little bit hissy, but somehow it doesn't matter.  It has a good, deep bass sound but there are slightly muffled moments, at times. There is, however, a good "up for it" live atmosphere to the set.

Apparently, because it was originally recorded to be played through cinema speakers as opposed to home stereo systems, there is precious little stereo separation and the sound does not transfer over quite as well as it might. Street Fighting Man, for example, is huge, bass-wise (as too is Tumbling Dice) and has an aggressive attack in delivery, but there is still something just a bit dense about the sound, especially in comparison to many of the other live albums. That said, the sound just seems to suit the raw, bluesy sound of Midnight Rambler, which is great on here. Bitch too just blows you away with its grubby, greasy, punchy appeal, as does Rip This JointGimme Shelter is simply magnificent, with a superb intro.

There are far better live albums from this era for sound, however. Check out the reviews of the From The Vault series. Also, the Leeds University Set from the Sticky Fingers "deluxe edition".

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THE BRUSSELS AFFAIR (1973)

 

This is one of my favourite Rolling Stones live albums from the many they have done. Even more so than on Ladies And Gentlemen, the band are on fire. The sound is truly outstanding, in many ways it puts Ladies And Gentlemen to shame. Also, it is great to hear some material from Goat's Head Soup being played, which is a rarity - particularly the marvellously menacing Dancing With Mr. D and the gorgeously rude Starfucker. Just listen to that rumbling, melodic bass underpinning the song. Bill Wyman at his very best. Doo Doo Doo and Angie are also there from that album, along with the the usual early seventies suspects like All Down The Line, Keith's Happy (sung third up in the set) and Rip This Joint.



It has to be said again that the sound quality is just superb - full, powerful and speaker-shaking. In fact, the sound on the tracks from Goat are better than on the muddy studio recording. Mr. D is just revelatory. As far as I know, it is the only non-bootleg, readily available live recording of it. Doo Doo Doo has some absolutely sublime bass lines on it too. I almost have to pinch myself into accepting that the sound is just so damn good on this recording. Just check out the guitar on You Can't Always Get What You Want. Stunning.

It is the best of the live albums released in the From The Vault Archive series. Get hold of it if you can, it is highly recommended. Listening to it is an uplifting, invigorating experience. The Stones really are at their live apex here. Yes, I know Ya-Ya's is iconic, but this really does take some beating.

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LA FORUM (1975)

                                                                        
This Rolling Stones From The Vault Archive Official Bootleg from Los Angeles in 1975 is a seriously good release. It is the superior product to Love You Live in that the sound is surprisingly clearer than what was an official release and this was originally a “bootleg”. The sound rocks, it really does. Big, full, clear and bassy. The setlist is one complete concert and for that reason the band sounds more “up for it”. Love You Live is derived from several different performances and at times the band sounds a bit lazy, despite Keith’s sterling work throughout. Not so here. Everyone is on top form.

Highlights are Honky Tonk Women, If You Can”t Rock Me/Get Off My CloudFingerprint File, Ain’t Too Proud To BegYou Gotta Move and the two Billy Preston tracks, That’s Life and Outa-SpaceDoo Doo Heartbreaker is superb and funky, Angie is beautiful as always, and You Can’t Always Get What You Want has a great saxophone bit in it.

There is some seriously impressive stuff on here. Although it does get a bit scrappy towards the end as live shows often do. Bands always seem to put more effort into playing their lesser-known numbers at the beginning of the set as compared to running through the popular ones at the end. Understandable really. However, The Stones are often particularly guilty of it.

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LOVE YOU LIVE (1977)
 
1. Honky Tonk Women
2. If You Can't Rock Me/Get Off My Cloud
3. Happy
4. Hot Stuff
5. Starfucker
6. Tumbling Dice
7. Fingerprint File
8. You Gotta Move
9. You Can't Always Get What You Want
10. Mannish Boy
11. Crackin' Up
12. Little Red Rooster
13. Around And Around
14. It's Only Rock 'n' Roll
15. Brown Sugar
16. Jumpin' Jack Flash
17. Sympathy For The Devil                     

Live recordings taken from Stones tours between 1975-77 which sees them at their most drug-addled and lazy in many ways, but in other ways therein lies the appeal of this leery live stuff. It is a “riffy” album. Keith Richards’ glorious riffs on cuts like the opening Honky Tonk WomenIf You Can’t Rock MeHappy and the risque Starfucker. There is also a great version of Fingerprint File with Jagger on great form and the blues cuts of You Gotta Move and Mannish Boy see Jagger at his best again. The organ/guitar interplay on Tumbling Dice is sensational. Keith is on fire. It even makes one forget Jagger’s slurred vocal on this one.

The rarity of Crackin’ Up appears for the first time since the sixties as does Around And Around and are really enjoyable. Sympathy For The Devil is not their best rendition of it, a bit messier than others available. The piano-driven funk of Hot Stuff rocks though.

 

Just listen to the first tracks though, there is a lazy Jack Daniel's-soaked beauty about it. They were still cooking in these years. Check out the ad-lib percussion/guitar bit in If You Can’t Rock Me and then Keith comes in, and he’s blistering, although he probably didn’t want to be there, man. The laid back Get Off My Cloud with some excellent keyboards is almost soulful. Keith on the intro to Happy. Wow. He sings as if he means it.

The album has finally been remastered acceptably after all these years. The great thing about it, though, is that although the performances are culled from different gigs, it plays like one complete concert with a more than credible set list order.

A better live release from this era, however, is the Stones Archive album, L.A. Forum 1975. This is not as bad an album as some say, though. The Stones are an easy target these days. 

Listen to this album, take yourself back to the mid seventies, and imagine you were at one of these gigs. You would love it. The heat. The smell of cigarettes, drugs, drink, sweat and perfume. Then The Stones come on. You feel a bit sick but what the heck. It's The Stones.

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SOME GIRLS LIVE IN TEXAS (1978)


1. Let It Rock
2. All Down The Line
3. Honky Tonk Women
4. Starfucker 
5. When The Whip Comes Down
6. Beast Of Burden
7. Miss You
8. Just My Imagination
9. Shattered
10. Respectable
11. Far Away Eyes
12. Love In Vain
13. Tumbling Dice
14. Happy
15. Sweet Little Sixteen
16. Brown Sugar                                    
17. Jumpin' Jack Flash                                                    

Another one with The Stones still on storming live form, this time including material from 1978's "Some Girl album into the set. Rarities are a bassy, pulsating Let It Rock as an opener and Chuck Berry's Sweet Little Sixteen, which is upbeat and rockingly joyful. 

It is nice to hear vibrant versions of Shattered and Respectable as well as the cod-country of Faraway Eyes and Just My ImaginationLove In Vain gets an outing as well. 

Tumbling Dice is just so damn good, so dirty and lazily unforgettable. Honky Tonk Women rocks just as hard as it it should. The extended Miss You is great fun too. Keith's Happy is grinding, horn-driven and gruffly rocking, with a big, rumbling bass underpinning it. Mick and Keith sing it together, as they used to. I love it performed like that. Jagger growls the vocals out, roaring like a demented wild animal. All Down The Line and Starfucker get full-on workouts too. 

The band were still cooking on a high temperature here, the early seventies vim and vigour was still clearly there. This is a really great Stones live album. 

The sound quality is up here with the best of The Stones live recordings as well. I have always liked the 1930/40s girl on the cover too.

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HAMPTON COLISEUM (1981)

 

This is the full concert that contains some of the material used on 1982's official Still Life release, and far better they sound here too, to be honest, and in their proper place within the set list. The sound quality is not quite as good as on some of the seventies live material though, although it is still more than acceptable. In fact, I am doing it a bit of a disservice. It is pretty good, certainly better than Ladies And Gentlemen, although not quite as good as The Brussels AffairBill Wyman's bass is yet again outstanding. The set is played with an incredible amount of verve and vitality. From the shuffling opener of Under My Thumb and a superb When The Whip Comes Down, the tone is set. Let's Spend The Night Together is rousing while Shattered and Neighbours are played with a punky speed and energy. So good to hear a powerful Time On My Side as well.

The band is augmented by Bobby Keys and Ernie Watts on saxophones, Ian McLagan on keyboards and Ian Stewart on piano. All of them, plus the Stones are on fine form. The vigour that carried them through a great period of live shows in the seventies, is still hanging on here, before Jagger and Richards fell out for a while. The magic is certainly still here.

It is great to hear Black LimousineLet Me GoTime Is On My SideWaiting On A Friend, Little T&A, She's So Cold and Hang FireTwenty Flight Rock and Going To A Go-Go are the cuts used on Still Life, but it is nice to see them in their proper set list position. Somehow they sound better on here too. Overall, this is a thoroughly enjoyable gig. The gig from Leeds' Roundhay Park is also available but it is the same set, apart from Angie being played at Leeds, and no Waiting On A Friend.

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STILL LIFE (1982)

1. Intro
2. Under My Thumb
3. Let's Spend The Night Together
4. Shattered
5. Twenty Flight Rock
6. Going To A Go-Go
7. Let Me Go
8. Time Is On My Side
9. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)
10. Start Me Up
11. Satisfaction
12. Outro                                                                        

Not really the best of the any Stones live albums, to be honest.

There are many more superior live albums out there. With regard to the material on this album, the concert that most of it is derived from - Hampton Coliseum 1981 is now available in full concert for on the DVD/CD series From The Vault titled Hampton Coliseum 1981. On this you get the full concert and in vastly superior sound too. Yes, it is good to hear rarities like Twenty Flight Rock and Going To A Go Go and numbers like Under My ThumbShatteredLet Me Go and Time Is On My Side do not often get an outing. Good to hear them all here, of course, and great if you want a bite-sized bit of live Stones but there is much better available.

That said, it is still an invigorating enjoyable forty-five minutes or so of a listen.

I would recommend:-

1969 - Get Your Ya-Ya's Out
1971 - Sticky Fingers Deluxe Live From Leeds University
1973 - The Brussels Affair
1975 - L.A. Forum
1977 - Love You Live
1978 - Some Girls Live
1981 - Hampton Coliseum

These would serve the 1970-1981 period much better than this.

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FLASHPOINT (1990)
 

1. Start Me Up
2. Sad Sad Sad
3. Miss You
4. Rock And A Hard Place
5. Ruby Tuesday
6. You Can't Always Get What You Want
7. Factory Girl
8. Can't Be Seen
9. Little Red Rooster
10. Paint It Black
11. Sympathy For The Devil
12. Brown Sugar
13. Jumpin' Jack Flash
14. Satisfaction
15. Highwire
16. Sex Drive                                                        

An official live release of material selected from various gigs in the late eighties, although it plays like one gig. It has a great sound quality - clear, thumping and deliciously full of bass attack. Notable inclusions are an effervescent, rocking Sad Sad Sad complete with horn section backing; a bluesy, acoustic-driven Factory Girl; an also acoustic Ruby Tuesday; Keith's gently appealing Can't Be Seen (given a pulsating rock groove here); the authentic blues of Little Red Rooster (not often played)*; the late eighties synthy Rock And A Hard Place and the sixties romp of Paint It, Black.

Jumpin' Jack Flash is played with an addictive energy and enthusiasm and Start Me Up is a rousing, crowd pleasing opener. Satisfaction, at the very end, is played with a breakneck punky intensity. It has a real live, improvised appeal, with its "can you hear me one time, two time, three times, four time..." call and response part. Sympathy For The Devil is barnstorming too.

The album suffers just a tiny bit from not being a full concert, but it it functions with more continuity than did "Still Life".

Interesting studio cuts included on the CD are the energetic, rocking and riffy political single, Highwire and the dance-ish and leery Sex Drive.

Little Red Rooster features Eric Clapton on guitar here and a mighty performance it is too.

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TOKYO DOME (1991)

 

A fuller, full flowing gig from the tour that the Flashpoint material came from and, to be honest, it is a better listen, with more live atmosphere and live continuity. The sound is probably the most muffled all the From The Vault Archive releases, but it is certainly not bad. Maybe it is just down to the synthesised nature of the early nineties instrumentation. Highlights are Harlem Shuffle , Keith's Can't Be SeenMixed Emotions, the lovely Almost Hear You Sigh, and, memorably, 2000 Light Years From Home, making a rare appearance.

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VOODOO LOUNGE UNCUT (1994)

  

** this review is for the music only, not the DVD **

Yes, this is another Rolling Stones live album, with many of the same songs on the set list, and, although, it is marketed as Voodoo Lounge Uncut, there are actually only four songs from that album on here - You Got Me RockingSparks Will FlyI Go Wild and Keith Richards' The Worst. Much of the rest of the set is made up, as I said, from the "usual suspects".

1. Not Fade Away
2. Tumbling Dice
3. You Got Me Rocking
4. Rocks Off
5. Sparks Will Fly
6. Live With Me
7. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
8. Beast Of Burden
9. Angie
10. Dead Flowers
11. Sweet Virginia
12. Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)
13. It's All Over Now
14. Stop Breaking Down?
15. Who Do You Love
16. I Go Wild
17. Miss You
18. Honky Tonk Women
19. Before They Make Me Run
20. The Worst
21. Sympathy For The Devil
22. Monkey Man
23. Street Fightin' Man
24. Start Me Up
25. It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)
26. Brown Sugar
27. Jumpin' Jack Flash

That said, there is a looseness and energy to this live performance that separates it slightly from some of the many Stones live albums available. It is quite difficult to explain but Mick Jagger's vocals seem more improvised, Richards' guitar similarly so. Check out the rhythmic groove of Beast Of Burden. Just something about it. A few subtle set list changes too, such as Satisfaction appearing seventh track in. There is also quite a lot of Jagger "chat" with the audience. There are a few rarities too - superb blues covers of Stop Breaking Down (with Robert Cray) and Who Do You Love (with Bo Diddley) ; welcome appearances for Not Fade AwayIt's All Over NowDoo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) (which sounds great) and Dead Flowers (sung acoustically, along with Angie). There is a beauty to both of these latter performances. Cheryl Crow also guests on vocals on Live With Me, successfully.

  

The sound quality is excellent and I am finding that I am enjoying this one a lot. There is an energised freshness to the delivery that is discernible, to someone who has all their live recordings, at least, and that is pretty much who this will appeal to.

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STRIPPED (1995)
 
1. Street Fighting Man (Live In Amsterdam)
2. Like A Rolling Stone (Live In London)
3. Not Fade Away
4. Shine A Light ( Live In Paris)
5. The Spider And The Fly
6. I'm Free
7. Wild Horses
8. Let It Bleed (Live In Paris)
9. Dead Flowers (Live In London)
10. Slipping Away
11. Angie (Live In Paris)
12. Love In Vain
13. Sweet Virginia
14. Little Baby   

This, the original release of Stripped was not a full live album. It was a mixture of six live tracks and eight studio re-workings of earlier Rolling Stones songs. Later editions under the Totally Stripped and Stripped Live titles are made up solely of live recordings from AmsterdamParis and London in 1995.

It, for me, is an interesting album and it benefits from having a full, muscular, bassy sound, the power of which is really impressive.                                              

The live cuts are from the smaller venues that The Stones had been playing (Paradiso in Amsterdam, Brixton Academy in London and L'Olympia in Paris). They have an appealing intimacy that stadium versions slightly lack. I reiterate, the sound is superb. Check out those crystal clear acoustic guitars on Street Fighting Man. Their version of Dylan'Like A Rolling Stone has been criticised by some, but I, as a Dylan fan as well, have never had a problem with it. It has always annoyed me that it misses one verse out though. All the live cuts are impressive.

Not Fade Away is give an excellent new makeover, full of verve and rhythm. The Spider And The Fly has a big, pounding beat plus some bluesy guitar. Another one from the mid-sixties, I'm Free has a solid drum/organ interplay. None of these tracks have changed noticeably, they just have a fuller, better sound. Wild Horses is pretty much faithful to the original. The same can be said of Keith Richards' laconic, sleepy Slipping Away. The bluesy Love In Vain from 1969's Let It Bleed features some razor sharp acoustic guitar from Richards before the drums kick in and Ronnie Wood's slide guitar arrives. The original is great but this one is too.

The country romp of Sweet Virginia is as harmlessly singalong as it originally was. The previously unrecorded Little Baby is the album's hidden gem, an upbeat blues cover of a Willie Dixon song.

  

While not quite as world-shattering as it may have been in that the re-recordings do not deviate too much from the originals, and much of the live stuff had been performed and released many times before, I still find it an enjoyable album, largely because of that big, punchy sound.

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TOTALLY STRIPPED (1995)

  


This coffee table book edition is nicely presented and has some excellent photographs plus three whole concert DVDs  dating from 1995 in AmsterdamParis and London. All are outstanding in both sound and picture quality. Very atmospheric. There is also a watchable documentary showing backstage stuff and The Stones at work/rehearsals/comments and the like. The music CD you get is a compilation of tracks from all three shows.

It is the music that is the most important thing to me, and initially I was frustrated that the full concerts were available on DVD but not on CD, which has always been a problem with the Forty Flicks and The Biggest Bang DVD material. However, the concerts are now available digitally as individual downloads, which suits me fine. The sound quality on them is excellent, the live atmosphere palpable and there are a few live rarities in each concert, although, obviously, much of the material is the same at each show.

Highlights are The Spider and The FlyConnectionThe WorstDown In The BottomI Go WildBlack LimousineMonkey ManFaraway EyesSweet Virginia and Shine A Light. These are all tracks that don’t get as many live airings as many of the usual suspects that have been populating The Stones’ live sets for years. This is The Stones at their live best from the 90s/00s period. Energetic, enthusiastic and exhilarating.

The best thing to do is get hold of both the DVD set and the individual downloads.

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NO SECURITY (1998)

  

1. Intro
2. You Got Me Rocking
3. Gimme Shelter
4. Flip The Switch
5. Memory Motel
6. Corinna
7. Saint Of Me
8. Waiting On A Friend
9. Sister Morphine
10. Live With Me
11. Respectable
12. Thief In The Night
13. The Last Time
14. Out Of Control                          

A little mentioned Stones live album, which includes showcased material from Bridges To Babylon. There is excellent sound quality and some interesting highlights are a cover of the blues song Corinna Corinna; the rousing, rocking Flip The Switch; the moody Saint Of Me; Keith's plaintive Thief In The Night and, ending with The Last Time, which is nice to hear.

The atmospheric, mysterious Out Of Control is fantastic also, possibly out-doing its studio version, to be honest. There is a good live atmosphere on it too, with the audience's clapping audible. When it kicks in to the full band's part, the power is impressive, as too is the tenor saxophone solo. Jagger's vocal is outstanding on this as well.

There are not too many You Got Me Rocking live cuts, strangely enough, so it is a pleasure to hear it here, delivered so powerfully.

There is not really a full concert feeling to the collection, of course, as there are only fourteen tracks on it. Overall, though, it is a most underrated live album. I enjoy listening to it every now and again because of the different material on it.

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BRIDGES TO BUENOS AIRES (1998)

  

Recorded live on 5th of April 1998 in Buenos Aires, Argentina

After the recent release of Bridges To Bremen from September 1998, from the Bridges To Babylon tour, this would seem to be a pretty superfluous follow-up. It is taken from five months earlier and is performed in front of the usual raucous, ridiculously enthusiastic Latin American crowd in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The set lists do not differ much (both 22 songs) other than we get a comparative live rarity in Sister Morphine from Sticky Fingers, a cover of Chuck Berry's Little Queenie, and When The Whip Comes Down from Some Girls. The sound quality is excellent and the band seem loose, relaxed and enthusiastic. One amusing moment is at the beginning of When The Whip Comes Down when Jagger sings "well now we're respected in society...", which is, of course, the first line of Respectable. He instantly acknowledges his mistake, laughs, and the begins the song again.

I guess the real highlight is the fact that Bob Dylan joins them for Like A Rolling Stone (he had played a set beforehand). He is also present on Jumpin' Jack Flash and You Can't Always Get What You Want but unless you watch the DVD you couldn't tell. His performance on Like A Rolling Stone is suitably shambolic, but it has an obvious appeal. He sees to be enjoying himself when you see the performance, though, which is always nice to see.

So there you go, yet another Rolling Stones live album. I now have so many I've lost count. It is a good one though, but aren't they all?

1. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
2. Let's Spend The Night Together
3. Flip The Switch
4. Gimme Shelter
5. Sister Morphine
6. It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)
7. Saint Of Me
8. Out Of Control
9. Miss You
10. Like A Rolling Stone
11. Thief In The Night                       12. Wanna Hold You
13. Little Queenie
14. When The Whip Comes Down
15. You Got Me Rocking
16. Sympathy For The Devil
17. Tumbling Dice
18. Honky Tonk Women
19. Start Me Up
20. Jumpin' Jack Flash
21. You Can't Always Get What You Want
22. Brown Sugar   

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BRIDGES TO BREMEN (1998)

  

Recorded live in Bremen, Germany in September 1998

1. Satisfaction
2. Let's Spend The Night Together
3. Flip The Switch
4. Gimme Shelter
5. Anybody Seen My Baby?
6. Paint It Black
7. Saint Of Me
8. Out Of Control
9. Memory Motel
10. Miss You
11. Thief In The Night
12. Wanna Hold You
13. It's Only Rock 'n' Roll
14. You Got Me Rocking
15. Like A Rolling Stone
16. Sympathy For The Devil
17. Tumbling Dice
18. Honky Tonk Women
19. Start Me Up
20. Jumpin' Jack Flash
21. You Can't Always Get What You Want
22. Brown Sugar

Another year, another Stones live album that fans such as myself get, despite there being nothing much new! This one dates from The Stones' tour of 1998 and, as usual, features many of the usual tracks that appear in all Stones live sets. So, I will concentrate on those that are more unique to this period. There are five tracks from the Bridges To Babylon album - the rocking Flip The SwitchSaint Of Me, Out Of Control, Keith's evocative Thief In The Night and Anybody Seen My Baby?. The first four all feature on the previously available No Security live compilation from the same tour. Anybody Seen My Baby? is the only one not available on an official live album thus far, along with Keith's "Wanna Hold You" from 1983's Undercover album.

Also making a rare appearance is the group's cover of Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone, which had appeared on the 1995 Stripped live material. It is nice to hear Memory Motel given a run-out, although this is also available on No SecurityPaint It Black makes an appearance, although it has done so on many other live albums.

So there you go, nothing new here. If you are a fan you will get it anyway, if you haven't got many Stones live albums, this isn't a bad one to get. The sound quality I have to say, is excellent - full, powerful and muscular and the band's performance similar. It goes without saying that I like it, but it is in no way essential.

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LIVE FROM SAN JOSE (1999)

 

Recorded in San Jose, California, in 1999, this is the seventh in this excellent “From The Vault” series of live recordings from The Stones. As always, the sound quality is superb. It rocks, big time, from beginning to end - with a full, brassy, bassy and punchy sound. The band are at the top of their game throughout. Mick Jagger not quite so much on a few notable occasions, however.

1. Jumpin' Jack Flash
2. Bitch
3. You Got Me Rocking
4. Respectable
5. Honky Tonk Women
6. I Got The Blues
7. Saint Of Me
8. Some Girls
9. Paint It Black
10. You Got The Silver
11. Before They Make Me Run
12. Out Of Control
13. Route 66
14. Get Off My Cloud
15. Midnight Ranbler
16. Tumbling Dice
17. It's Only Rock 'n' Roll
18. Start Me Up
19. Brown Sugar
20. Sympathy For The Devil

Jumpin' Jack Flash is the usual strong opener and Bitch is great, as is Respectable but, my goodness, what has happened to Jagger’s vocal on You Got Me Rocking? Now, I know Mick can slur his words considerably, on many occasions, but this is the worst I have ever heard him. "You Got Me Yocking” is repeated every time. It is bizarre. He sounds completely out of it. Drunk as a skunk. I have several recordings of the song and this is by far the worst. The band, throughout, are on top form. Jagger, unfortunately, not so. Honky Tonk Women suffers similarly also, but not quite so bad. There is great piano solo bit on Honky Tonk from Chuck Leavell that raises things up a bit, and the horns are punchy too.

I Got The Blues however, is superb. He redeems himself a little on this one. Just wonderful, throbbing bass on it. Great to hear it performed live again, although the 1971 live performances are much better. There is a killer organ solo in this track. Saint Of Me is funkily played, with some swirling organ and acoustic guitar, and Jagger is not so bad on it, either. Underneath all his performances at this gig, however, is an underlying sloppiness that is certainly not there on many other live performances over the years. The 1998 No Security performances are much better, in places, in delivery but not in sound quality.

Some Girls is excellent and effervescent, suitably seedy. Jagger seems to have got his act together by now. It does seem to have been that one odd aberration. The “Chinese girls” bit is reassuringly leery. Paint It, Black has a slightly different, extended bit near the end. Keith’s I Got The Silver is bluesily appealing, as you would expect, and Ronnie Wood comes up with a stonker of a guitar solo in Before They Make Me RunOut Of Control is moody and menacing. Very atmospherically delivered, a highlight of the album. Then we get a sightly slower pace version of Route 66 and a superbly rocking, energetic Get Off My Cloud. Jagger is owning it by now, so all is forgiven!

Midnight Rambler is as gloriously rumbling as it always is, then it is Tumbling Dice and the usual encore suspects. Overall, this is a great Stones live album because of the sound quality and the power of the band. Another good one.

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LIVE LICKS (2004)

  

1. Brown Sugar
2. Street Fighting Man
3. Paint It Black
4. You Can't Always Get What You Want
5. Start Me Up
6. It's Only Rock 'n' Roll
7. Angie
8. Honky Tonk Women
9. Happy
10. Gimme Shelter
11. Satisfaction
12. Neighbours
13. Monkey Man
14. Rocks Off
15. Can't You Hear Me Knockin'
16. That's How Strong My Love Is
17. The Nearness Of You
18. Beast Of Burden
19. When The Whip Comes Down
20. Rock Me Baby
21. You Don't Have To Mean It
22. Worried About You
23. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love                     

This was a 2004 live double album from The Rolling Stones. The sound quality is excellent throughout and, while it is an obviously commercially-motivated "tour tie-in" release, there is some interesting material on it. It is basically an album of two distinct parts. Disc One contains all the "usual suspects" - Brown Sugar; Start Me Up; Satisfaction etc, but even on this there are some gems - Sheryl Crow duetting with Mick Jagger on a vibrant Honky Tonk Women; Paint It, Black; an emotive Angie and a Lisa Fischer-inspired vocal masterclass on Gimme Shelter.

It is on Disc Two, however, where the real treasure trove is to be found - Monkey Man; Rocks Off; Can't You Hear Me Knocking; a wonderful Jagger vocal on That's How Strong My Love IsKeith Richards singing/croaking Hoagy Carmichael's The Nearness Of YouB.B. King's Rock Me Baby; Richards' reggae of You Don't Have To Mean It; Jagger's slow keyboard build-up on Worried About You and Solomon Burke joining them for Everybody Needs Somebody To Love.

These are live cuts not usually included on the many Rolling Stones live albums, and it is their presence with renders it a useful one to own, if indeed you like amassing a collection of Rolling Stones live performances of different songs, as I do.

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LIVE FROM TORONTO (2005)

 

Excellent sound quality and a barnstorming rocking attack from The Stones as the warm up for their Bigger Bang tour in Toronto, as had became traditional, for some reason. Good to hear material from the new album played - a rocking, great to hear Rough Justice, the delicious blues of Back Of My Hand, the energetic and mildly amusing Oh No Not You Again. There is also an airing for The TemptationsAin't Too Proud To Beg, Keith's laid-back, melodic Infamy and interesting covers of Otis Redding's Mr Pitiful and Bob Marley & The WailersGet Up, Stand Up. The latter is played extremely convincingly, given that many bands can't get reggae to sound authentic.

Live With Me features some superb Bobby Keys saxophone and is played with a real energy, even after all these years, something that never ceases to amaze me when listening to The Stones' live material. You would think it was a new track.

19th Nervous Breakdown gets a rare airing too, as does She's So Cold19th is played at a slowed-down, lazy, grinding soulful tempo. It is good to hear old tracks like this given a new, slightly different sheen. Personally, I actually prefer this version. Daryl Jones still gets the bass run at the end right, though. Dead Flowers still gets the cod-country accent from Jagger, though. Some things just don't change. I often wonder how it would sound if he sang it "straight".

This is a highly recommended one. There is a real "beginning of the tour" enthusiasm to it.

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SHINE A LIGHT (2007)

  

1. Jumpin' Jack Flash
2. Shattered
3. She Was Hot
4. All Down The Line
5. As Tears Go By
6. Some Girls
7. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)
8. Faraway Eyes
9. Tumbling Dice
10. You Got The Silver
11. Connection
12. Sympathy For The Devil
13. Live With Me
14. Start Me Up
15. Brown Sugar
16. Satisfaction
17. Paint It Black
18. Little T&A
19. I'm Free
20. Shine A Light

Recorded as a Martin Scorsese-directed movie capturing The Stones in concert. The sound quality is truly excellent, as you would imagine. Full, strong, powerful, clear and bassy. Just as it should be. Rarities highlights are She Was Hot, As Tears Go By, Keith's authentically bluesy You Got The SilverConnection (from Between The Buttons) with Keith on vocals, Live With Me, I'm Free and Shine A Light.

Personally, I love the version of All Down The Line - rocking, throbbing, with clear keyboards, horns and guitars. Jagger is on good form on this and throughout. I guess knowing he was being filmed by Scorsese helped in that respect.

I'm Free sounds great - good to hear it given a contemporary airing. The bass on it is rumbling and melodic and there is a great guitar solo (Ronnie?) in the middle, there is some swirling organ too. It is a real highlight. Start Me Up rocks, big time as does Satisfaction and Brown Sugar. Keith supplies an enthusiastic T&A as well.

The film, as you would expect, is outstanding, with a real up-close intimacy to it. It is The Stones doing what they do best, on demand, for the movie. No curveballs, no real surprises. For that reason I return to other live albums before this one, which is a tad harsh as the atmosphere and sound are excellent.

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SWEET SUMMER SUN IN HYDE PARK (2013)

  

1. Start Me Up
2. It's Only Rock 'n' Roll
3. Tumbling Dice
4. Emotional Rescue
5. Street Fighting Man
6. Ruby Tuesday
7. Doom And Gloom
8. Paint It Black
9. Honky Tonk Women
10. You Got The Silver
11. Before They Make Me Run
12. Miss You
13. Midnight Rambler
14. Gimme Shelter
15. Jumpin' Jack Flash
16. Sympathy For The Devil
17. Brown Sugar
18. You Can't Always Get What You Want
19. Satisfaction

Recorded on the hottest day of the year in London's Hyde Park in 2013, this is a high quality full concert issue, with superb quality sound. Despite the unadventurous set list, this is still one of my favourite Stones live albums. As for the few unusual tracks played, they include Ruby Tuesday, the rocking new track Doom And Gloom and Keith's Before They Make Me Run, but that is pretty much it. The rest of the material is decidedly well-known, however. Energetically played, though, with a good, tangible live atmosphere. Check out the funky, upbeat Miss You and its sublime guitar licks, crowd energy, great bass from Daryl Jones and top notch vocal. Lisa Fischer adds her incredible vocal assistance to a wonderful, rocking, vibrant Gimme Shelter.

Tumbling Dice is as magnificent as it always is. I always find it amazing that they play these songs year in, year out, yet the are always played with the same levels of enthusiasm. One that is not played so much, though, is Emotional Rescue, and they do a stonking version here, with a huge throbbing bass line (plus groovy bass solo), thumping beat and Jagger's high pitched vocal. Great to hear this one. The same is true of Paint It, Black, full of sixties atmosphere. Mick Taylor on Midnight Rambler is a real treat, of course. The quality of these performances make this one of my favourite Stones live albums. The fact it is a full concert with true continuity is in its favour too.

A real highlight is You Can't Always Get What You Want which features an introduction from large female voice choir and immaculate horn parts. Jagger's vocals on this is as good as they have been, leading the crowd effortlessly, and the sound is superb - crystal clear guitars, keyboards and drums. This is definitely one of the better later era Stones live albums. The band sound like anything but going through the motions. They are hot as the sticky midsummer air on that steamy London night. Even the closing Satisfaction is dynamic and still effervescent even at the end of a long hot night. The video/DVD to it is excellent too, either on DVD or as a download.

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STICKY FINGERS LIVE AT THE FONDA THEATRE (2015)

 

1. Start Me Up
2. When The Whip Comes Down
3. All Down The Line
4. Sway
5. Dead Flowers
6. Wild Horses
7. Sister Morphine
8. You Gotta Move
9. Bitch
10. Can't You Hear Me Knockin'
11. I Got The Blues
12. Moonlight Mile
13. Brown Sugar
14. Rock Me Baby
15. Jumpin' Jack Flash
16. I Can't Turn You Loose

An excellent, ballsy performance of the legendary album by The Stones, the only time they have done so. They do not play it quite in the original album order, however, moving a few things around. Brown Sugar comes at the end, for example. There are a few other non - Sticky Fingers tracks included at the beginning and end, including a magnificent, bluesy, horn-driven cover of Rock Me Baby. One of the real highlights of the album, despite not being a Sticky Fingers track. Check out that guitar solo, marvellous. This is The Stones playing the blues as they have always done so well.

It is a convincing performance, despite the time that has eclipsed between 1971 and 2015. Just check out the stunningly good take on Can't You Hear Me Knocking, which is breathtaking. The mournful Moonlight Mile is given a massive, powerful new life too. Very impressive, I must say. Just a superb performance. Just listen to the sombre Sister Morphine - very hard-hitting. I have always liked I Got The Blues and it is played here just as bluesily as it was back in 1971.

The sound is outstanding as well, very powerful, clear and bassy. I love them when they sound like that.

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HAVANA MOON - LIVE IN CUBA (2016)

  

1. Jumpin' Jack Flash
2. It's Only Rock 'n' Roll
3. Tumbling Dice
4. Out Of Control
5. All Down The Line
6. Angie
7. Paint It Black
8. Honky Tonk Women
9. You Got The Silver
10. Before They Make Me Run
11. Midnight Rambler
12. Miss You
13. Gimme Shelter
14. Start Me Up
15. Sympathy For The Devil
16. Brown Sugar
17. You Can't Always Get What You Want
18. Satisfaction

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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HONK COMPILATION (LIVE TRACKS)

  

LIVE TRACKS

1. Get Off My Cloud
2. Dancing With Mr. D
3. She's A Rainbow
4. Wild Horses
5. Let's Spend The Night Together
6. Dead Flowers
7. Shine A Light
8. Under My Thumb
9. Bitch

This is yet another Rolling Stones compilation, this time covering their post-1971 "colour TV" output. The tracks take in all their studio albums from 1971's Sticky Fingers to 2016's Blue And Lonesome. Of course, the tracks are superb, that goes without saying and there are some good choices but aficionados such as myself have all the tracks anyway, so the release has not too much appeal for me, apart from the ten live tracks that are included on the deluxe edition. So, forgive me, but they are all I am going to talk about.

Even then, though, there are not too many that have not been included on many previous live albums. It is great to hear a wonderful performance of She's A Rainbow on an official live album for the first time though. A barnstorming Dancing With Mr. D makes its only live appearance sine 1973's Brussels Affair. We also get a loose, stirring Get Off My Cloud and a seriously good Wild Horses (featuring Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine). Her vocal makes for an interesting version. I really enjoyed this one.

Similarly, Let's Spend The Night Together, full of female backing vocals, is given a slightly different, slightly slowed down and soulful makeover. Keith's guitar on Dead Flowers is superb and the song is delivered with conviction and enthusiasm the belies the fact they do this stuff year-in, year-out. I even found myself enjoying Jagger's silly cod-country voice for once. There is definitely a verve and vitality about these contemporary live performances that simply do confound the band's age. It is nice to hear an old favourite in the soul/rock of Shine A Light get an appearance. Lovely piano from Chuck Leavell on this one. Under My Thumb is played in the laid-back fashion that it was on 1982's Still Life. I always love Bitch and it burns as brightly here as it always did, no going through the motions here. Dave Grohl of The Foo Fighters shares lead vocals, suitably energetically.

So, there you go, some great live tracks. as for the studio material, well you can't argue with it, but I and any others already have it. Personally, I would sooner have had a new live compilation with more quality contemporary live tracks such as we are given here. That said, I have really enjoyed playing the whole lot recently.

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