Rolling Stones – Still Life (American Concert 1981)

Here it is Monday morning and I’m still at it. This isn’t even a Stones run, anymore, folks. It’s a goddamn Stones binge.

I love it.

Well holy hell, here we go with a classic. How many times have I played this one? Who’s counting?

We start with style, and that good ol’ Take The A Train intro that break into the crowd screaming as the band rips into Under My Thumb. It’s a long intro, must’ve taken Mick a while to get to the mic, hahaha. This version is ingrained in my brain, those guitars always sounded that little bit off, distorted but in a good way. No matter, they’re on good form out of the gates.

Mick hopes everyone watching at home has a few beers and some joints to enjoy the show, saying why don’t we Let’s Spend The Night Together. Oh Mick. This rocker has a cool, sassy energy, mainly powered by the metronomic drumming of my main man, Charlie Watts. Up next is Some Girls’ Shattered, again with those warbly guitars. I’ve owned this CD for years, and always thought maybe something was wrong with my copy, maybe something in the transfer to CD. But it has to be the way it sounded, and it’s alright by me these days. It’s a rocking, almost 70s lite-punker version.

Eddie Cochran’s Twenty Flight Rock is next, practically a standard in the songbook, by now. Holy fuck I love their take, here. It’s short, but it gets the job done. It’s like Mick’s best Elvis impersonation, at times, and the band is right there with him. The Stones do rockabilly? Fuck yes.

The Miracles’ Going To A Go-Go thumps its way into the setlist next, and it’s a weird one (for the band) that I love. It feels out of left field, probably because it is, but despite that, they make it their own and Bobby Keys puts his inimitable sax stamp on it, so it’s all good.

There’s a fade-out here, I don’t know what happened, maybe just a break in recording of the show. Emotional Rescue’s Let Me Go is next, and it’s a full-tilt boogie in that classic old style that’ll rock yer socks off. Goddamn. This show is a frickin’ party, dammit. Get up and dance!

Now it’s time for a beautiful, late-night slow dance trip though Time Is On My Side. I’m sure the cigarette lighters were waving back and forth for this one, as it throbs and wheels its way to a gorgeous close. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) is next, full of soul and a bit of the blues and still remembering they’ve just entered a new decade (the 80s). It’s a perfect storm.

Start Me Up starts off thin on that single guitar line until Charlie’s bass drum drops and the rest of the band crashes in. It’s a pretty straight-forward take on this classic, after that. The ending is cool, that guitar note briefly hanging as the band stops abruptly. Man, the crowd’s in a frenzy now. The band likely was too.

And good thing, because they’re storming through a fast and vicious (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. Wowzers, talk about a blast-off late in the show. Proof this band has what t takes! All it needs is fireworks and topless dancers shaking their moneymakers… Mick would agree! And as an outro, it’s the Star Spangled Banner and ah, there’s the fireworks! It’s been a while since I ran through this disc but I knew they were here!

Final Note:

There were claims that this record was too slick, too polished. Worse, some complained that Just My Imagination was edited and therefore this is somehow invalid yada yada. Folks, this record rocked, and all the nit-pickers can go get lost. The rest of us will turn it the hell up!

In Sum:

Fuckin’ A. Stones live in 1981. Any questions? I didn’t fuckin’ think so!

PS If you demand more, here’s the Wiki.

8 thoughts on “Rolling Stones – Still Life (American Concert 1981)

    1. keepsmealive says:

      Thanks J.! I’m having a blast going through all of this stuff I’ve played for ages.

      The cover art made you not buy a Stones record? Error 404! Does not compute! Haha forget the cover, man, it’s a solid live record. Get you some!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. J. says:

        I’m a sucker when it comes to cover art! Can make all the difference, y’know! I’ve actually seen this a couple of times quite cheap, so I’ll pick it up next time!


          1. J. says:

            All the records in Kerching are cheap! I’m heading down there just now … 🙂

            … and thanks! That’s my ‘blue steel’ pose. Haha!


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