In 1971, before the overblown stage sets and oxygen tents backstage, before the Stones were a tribute to their past with no hope for the future, The Rolling Stones were probably the most exciting and visceral band in the world.

They played this set for a TV special after a UK tour that covered the whole country with premium tickets (at London’s Roundhouse) for £1 – not £100 – and a venue such as Greens Playhouse in Glasgow at (modern equivalent) 70p. Included in the specially invited audience were Eric Clapton , Ric Grech, Jimmy Page and Andrew Oldham and following the show they decamped to France for tax security.

At this point The Rolling Stones were playing with a fire and a sense of soul that no other band in the world was capable of. Mick Taylor was at his peak and Keith Richards was benefitting by playing with a mischievous touch, knowing that Taylor had the solo lines covered. Jagger was the total front man, all over the stage, clapping songs in, waggling his tush and the tiny stage was filled out with Wyman and Watts – the perfect rhythm section for mayhem – Bobby Keys on sax, Jim Price on horns and Nicky Hopkins and Ian Stewart on keys and piano.

This was a month before the ‘Sticky Fingers’ album was released and so the set still included a great version of ‘Satisfaction’ along with a Chuck Berry classic, ’I Got The Blues’, ‘Bitch’ and ‘Brown Sugar’ from the new album and a breathtaking ‘Midnight Rambler’.

Opener ‘Live With Me’ warms them up nicely, all about Keith’s choppy rhythm guitar and Bobby Keys sax with Taylor’s guitar making an appearance on ‘Dead Flowers’ backing up Jagger & Richards harmonies and then into a gorgeous picked solo.
‘I Got The Blues’ is a wonderfully sloppy and louche number and leads into Berry’s ‘Let It Rock’ which brings the band alive, Richards ripping out those chiming chords and all driven by Ian Stewart’s piano in the back.
‘Midnight Rambler’ is just awesome with the band driving along and Jagger reminding us that he is a fine harp player. The middle section has Richards and Taylor duelling with Jagger’s harp and Watts/Wyman keeping the whole thing rock solid on the rails.
Those familiar chords lead into ‘Satisfaction’ which has taken on the new sound of the Stones and lost a little of the desperation of the original.
‘Bitch’ is just plain nasty, belting along with Jagger spitting out the vocals and all too soon they are pounding into ‘Brown Sugar’ with Jagger dancing and Taylor playing a delightful solo under all the mayhem.

As ever, there are ‘bonus tracks’ including ‘Brown Sugar’ from TOTP but the main show stands on its’ own and, frankly, makes the current bloated show look sad.

LATEST REVIEWS