Monday, May 07, 2012

Rolling Stones Open Bootleg Archive

The Rolling Stones are making some of their most popular bootlegged shows from the 70s and 80s available for $5 a pop at

So far there are only three available but you'd be hard pressed to find better recorded live Stones gigs outside of Get Yer Ya Ya's Out.

The oldest is from October 1973 and is called The Brussels Affair.

This is a hot night on the Goats Head Soup tour so we get mainly classic Mick Taylor era tunes like Brown Sugar, Rip This Joint, Street Fighting Man, Happy, Tumblin Dice and one of the most raw and vibrant versions of Midnight Rambler to grace the transom.

You can hear Jagger grunting through the harmonica as he rips out heavy distorted blues riffs, and the speedy jam section is proof of why the Stones were once rated as once of the best live bands out there.

Of course we get incredibly underrated Goats Head Soup material as well. Dancing With Mr D live? Get the hell outa here!

The band actually played (and recorded) two shows on this day in Brussels. This release is the best songs from both gigs. But you can find bootlegs of both shows (search for 'The Complete Brussels Affair') and it's cool to hear the two complete concerts with different set lists.

The second release is from a Los Angeles gig in 1975 and is from the tail end of Ronnie Wood's first tour with the band. This is the tour where they had a bunch of side guys on horns and percussion and also Billy Preston was with them.

You can hear live versions of a lot of these songs on Love You Live from the same tour but because the band didn't know they were being recorded in LA for official release, these versions on the bootleg are more raw and real.

The guitar interplay between Richards and Ron Wood is much tighter. It's like one guitar player, really. Very intertwined. Where Mick Taylor did more soloing over Keith's groove.

Having listened to a lot of Love You Live growing up, it's interesting to hear the songs the Stones played on this tour that were left off that album, like All Down The Line, Angie, an almost eight minute very bluesy Wild Horses and of course Gimmie Shelter. Cool to hear Wood's take on Taylor's parts.

This release, called LA Friday, was really recorded at a Sunday concert. You get the whole thing here - 25 songs including two Billy Preston tunes from when they'd turn the spotlight on him briefly each night.

After this tour the band went to Paris to record Some Girls, so you can imagine the group getting tighter every night on this tour, gearing up for that.

The third release is from the 1982 tour where the Stones officially jumped the shark for me and became a stadium band with huge props and stages and balloons and shit.

Still worth a listen but my least favorite of the bunch.

Mick and Keith talk about these bootlegs in the below videos from the band. As usual Keith has better things to say.

His thoughts on Mick Taylor versus Ronnie Wood and his own role playing with each is really telling. He has great respect for both guitarists and of course has really unique perspectives on each. Some great sound bites there. Enjoy!

One caveat on actually getting these releases off the web: the experience of downloading these songs is not seamless. The Stones partnered with Google in the U.S. and the process of pulling the songs off the Web is not as intuitive as iTunes. Not a deal breaker but something to note.

I had all of these shows on unofficial bootlegs and the sound is far superior as expected on these official releases. In some cases there are more songs and a different order. It's nice to hear these as the Stones meant them to be heard. I hope they continue to issue more shows. At $5 a pop I'd probably buy them all!

1 comment:

Hank said...

Although inn a different vein, They released a video from a small-club show from the 1978 some girls tour that is just smoking, too. Definately worth buying, without question.