Got Live If You Want It!: Five Great Live Rolling Stones Albums
Rolling Stones fans across the country are hoping that the band’s “50 And Counting” tour will extend to more dates in 2013. But as of now, their U.S. dates are limited to this past Saturday’s concert at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, and this week’s shows at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. So if you can’t make it to the New York area for the shows (or you can’t afford the ticket prices, which are now well into the thousands of dollars), here are a few live Stones albums you can rock for a lot less money.
Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!: Recorded in 1969 and released in 1970, this was from the band’s first tour with guitarist Mick Taylor. Though the departure (and subsequent death) of original guitarist Brian Jones rattled the Stones, they were in peak condition on this recording, coming off of 1968’s classic Beggar’s Banquet album and about to release 1969’s Let It Bleed. The version of “Midnight Rambler” on this album is the definitive version; “Rambler” is the song that Taylor played with the Stones when he recently jammed with them at their recent UK shows. The slow version of “Stray Cat Blues” is also amazing. We know you’re on a budget, but splurge for the deluxe box set version, which includes a disc of songs not included on the original, as well as the opening sets by B.B. King and Ike & Tina Turner.
Shine A Light: Recorded in 2006 at the end of the A Bigger Bang tour at a pair of shows at New York’s intimate Beacon Theatre, this is the soundtrack to the Martin Scorsese concert film of the same name. The Stones and their formidable support musicians (including sax player Bobby Keys, bassist Darryl Jones and keyboardist Chuck Leavell) were in peak condition – which shows. The tile track really did shine, and the rarely-played “Shattered” and “She Was Hot” rocked (arguably) more than their studio versions. The collaborations were truly inspired: “Loving Cup” with Jack White of The White Stripes, Muddy Waters’ “Champagne And Reefer” with Buddy Guy, and “Live With Me” with pop singer Christina Aguilera. Again, we’ll encourage you to splurge: get the two-disc version instead of the single CD version, which doesn’t even include the title track.
Live Licks: Recorded on various dates on their 2002-2003 tour for Forty Licks celebrating their 40th anniversary. Disc one has live versions of many of their greatest hits, but the real fun begins on the second disc, which features an incredible version of “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’,” a fan favorite which doesn’t make the set lists often enough. Other deep cuts include “Neighbors,” “Monkey Man,” “Rocks Off” and “When The Whip Comes Down.” It also includes covers of “That’s How Strong My Love Is,” a soul classic popularized by Otis Redding in the ’60s, and B.B. King’s “Rock Me Baby.”
Some Girls: Live In Texas ’78: As the title suggests, this was recorded in Texas, in 1978 on the Some Girls tour. Fifteen years into their career, the band was really clicking with newly-minted guitarist Ron Wood. “Miss You” has been a staple of the Stones’ set for decades, but when they play it here, as a eight-minute plus jam, it’s their new hit single. Arguably, this show captures the best live performance on this list.
Flashpoint: Recorded on their 1989-1990 tour for Steel Wheels, which marked their return to the road (they hadn’t toured for their prior two albums). Not their best live album, but they reclaimed their throne as the biggest and the best on this tour. It was also their last with bassist Bill Wyman. Besides several Steel Wheels tracks and greatest hits, they also played the rare “Factory Girl.” Before they played it, Mick Jagger asked, “Which album was this from, Bill? He doesn’t know!” The version of “Little Red Rooster” – with Eric Clapton – is worth the price of admission alone.
Sadly, there are no albums featuring original guitarist Brian Jones on this list. His lineup is represented on Got Live If You Want It!, recorded in 1965-1966, but was released without the band’s permission, and has two studio recordings with audience noise overdubbed to make it sound “live.” And Rock And Roll Circus was recorded in 1968 but not released until 1996, probably because (a. Jones was at the end of his rope at this point (obvious to anyone who watches the film) and (b. the album includes the other artists who performed at the Stones-curated event, and it’s well-acknowledged that The Who blew them away with their performance of “A Quick One (While He’s Away).” But the album is worth having: John Lennon‘s “Yer Blues,” featuring Clapton on guitar, Keith Richards on bass and Mitch Mitchell from The Jimi Hendrix Experience on drums rivals The Beatles‘ original. (Fun fact about Rock And Roll Circus: Jethro Tull‘s set was their only one with Black Sabbath‘s Tony Iommi on guitar. But he’s only miming – the band played to a pre-recorded track, with Ian Anderson singing live.
– Brian Ives, CBS Local