I’m still in a Stones zone (I’m even wearing a t-shirt with their logo on it, as I type this).
This time, we’re in 1998, and it’s another live album. I remember buying this in Toronto (probably at Sam’s) when I was in Taranna to visit my lovely girlfriend (now my lovely wife) one weekend. We’ve known each other since we were 5, so she’s long known about my love of the Stones. This purchase was no surprise to her.
Let’s see what’s here!
This record comes hot on the heels of the previous years’ Bridges To Babylon, and documents the subsequent tour. An audience intro track takes us into You Got Me Rocking, a decent version with a great Ronnie Wood guitar solo deep in the track. Up next is Gimme Shelter, which might seem an odd choice for second song on a live set, but nevermind. This is a great version. Lisa Fischer nails it again, she can really wail, and she does that sexy dance…
Ahem, where were we? Right, the live record. Focus, Aaron, focus! Up next is Flip The Switch, which rocks along happily. Don’t miss the occasional Chuck Berry guitar flourishes in the background. Then it’s (relatively obscure) Memory Motel, with Mick on keys. It’s a pretty 70s ballad, and hey! That’s Dave Matthews on vocals too! I’d forgotten he was on here! He does a good job. Cool beans.
Next guest up is Taj Mahal, playing the classic Corinna at a lovely, leisurely pace. Lots of harmonica all over it, and Taj’s silky voice. Loved it. Up next is the current single Saint Of Me, in full bluesy gospel mode. I’d swear Keef wrote the lyrics of this one (“you’ll never make a saint of me” hahaha). Love the huge audience singlong at the end, they keep singing along even after the song’s over! Beautiful.
Waiting On A Friend waltzes in and it’s perfect. Listen to this one on the good headphones, and marvel at how all the players add their own flavours to it but never once step on each others’ toes! Now this is a band meant to be together! Glorious sax solos from Bobby Keys, too. And then it’s a favourite track of mine, cool to have a live version… Sister Morphine, from Sticky Fingers! I’m thrilled it’s in the set list. What a superb tune, and this is a haunting version for sure.
Mick tells the crowd they blew the dust off this next one and, frankly, after Memory Motel and Sister Morphine, what could it be? Live With Me! Nice one. It’s a great little rocker where guitars and pianos play back and forth beautifully. Then we launch into Respectable, a fun barroom brawler of a rock tune that has more than a little Chuck Berry feel to it. Holy crap this disc is great fun.
Thief In The Night (also from Bridges…) is next, Keef’s obligatory turn at the mic, which he introduces as a “new song, old story,” after his usual one-liner about it being good to be anywhere. You know the song, it’s a sweet, mellow groove that still manages to pull you along and hold your ear. Maybe not the best Keef track in the list of Stones songs he’s sung, over the years (The Worst, from Voodoo Lounge, is a fave of mine from the later years), but he could sing the phone book and it’d still hold attention, so there ya go.
Then it’s The Last Time, a true oldies for the band. It’s not a bad version, but I prefer when Mick sings it closer to the original. This one’s a little flat, but the guitars save it. They let the crowd sounds bring us out, but then as an encore, finally it’s Out Of Control. Nice that they end the disc with a track from the (then) new record. It’s slinky and funky and full-on. I love the trumpet bit… of course I do, I always cheer for the horns! They rock it out for 7 minutes, then it’s another minute of crowd noise and fireworks, and then we’re done.
I really like this set. It hasn’t get the head-on energy of Flashpoint, but it’s a well-balanced disc between fast and slow songs, as well as oldies and brand new songs. Right freakin’ on.