Saturday, July 28, 2018


Here's the latest in the on-going From The Vault series, which has seen a bunch of live Stones shows from several different tours made available. You get the whole show, on two discs audio and one disc video, then you get to compare 76 different versions of Brown Sugar from over the years, and the increasingly leathery texture of Keith's skin.

I mock, only because I love. But it was quite the conglomerate they had going at this point. They put out an album in 1997, Bridges To Babylon, then did a year-long mega-tour in support of it, then released a live album from the tour (No Security), then did a six-month tour in 1999 in support of the live album. That's when this San Jose show happened, during the No Security tour supporting the live album (whew!), if you follow all that. Anyway, the good thing about the second tour was that they stripped things down a bit, moving from stadiums to arenas under 20,000, scaled down the sets and costumes, and concentrated more on the music than the showbiz. Even Jagger chose t-shirts for the most part.

Even so, the band always ends up playing mostly huge songs, afraid of disappointing the general audience, so as usual, it's late '60's to late '70's favourites, including Jumpin' Jack Flash, Honky Tonk Women, Tumbling Dice, It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, Start Me Up, Sympathy For The Devil and, you guessed it, Brown Sugar. There's the obligatory recent cuts, in this case Saint Of Me and Out Of Control from Bridges, neither memorable hits but the latter is a good concert number. You Got Me Rocking, a very good song from the underrated Voodoo Lounge album has by this time made its way into the regular lineup, and it is probably the best later Stones song from the post-1989 period, so always welcome. The biggest surprise of this tour, and one that makes for the best footage, is when the group moves to the second, smaller stage, just the core four members plus bassist Darryl Jones and keyboard player Chuck Leavell, doing a mini-set of blues versions of their old fave cover Route 66, Get Off Of My Cloud and Midnight Rambler. When Jagger lets lose on harp on the latter tune, the old spirit comes right back, the vastness of their empire falls away, and we're left with a brief but shining reminder of the real magic, so impossible to capture on the giant stage. Ah, but then it's back to the business of being The World's Greatest Rock'n'Roll Band. Cue Tumbling Dice.

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