The Rolling Stones

Sample this concert
  1. 1Let It Rock02:44
  2. 2All Down The Line04:02
  3. 3Honky Tonk Woman04:04
  4. 4Star Star04:36
  5. 5When The Whip Comes Down05:07
  6. 6Lies04:54
  7. 7Miss You08:08
  8. 8Beast Of Burden06:55
  9. 9Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)07:01
  10. 10Shattered05:45
  11. 11Love In Vain05:51
  12. 12Tumbling Dice05:24
  13. 13Happy03:16
  14. 14Sweet Little Sixteen03:57
  15. 15Brown Sugar04:02
  16. 16Jumpin' Jack Flash07:04
Liner Notes

Mick Jagger - vocals; Ian McLagan - organ, keyboards; Keith Richards - guitar, vocals; Ian Stewart - piano; Charlie Watts - drums; Ron Wood - guitar; Bill Wyman - bass

In the last 20 years, The Rolling Stones have done their legacy something of a disservice. Swaddling the back-alley, whiskey-and-opium menace in Vegas-style pomp and gloss has tarnished the memory of the Stones in their prime. And not in an "I-can't-believe-they're-still-at-it-at-their-age-how-embarrassing" sort of way, either; the dismissive ageism is a crutch for those jealous that a bunch of sexagenarian Englishmen are having more fun than they are. What's missing is that element of chance - that harrowing feeling that the whole thing might just crumble before your very eyes - for it was on this precipice that the Stones staked their claim as The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band in the World.

In a career spanning four decades, losing the plot is nothing new. The Stones first began to stagnate following a series of classic albums in the early '70s. Curiously, it was the New York City club scene that brought them out of this slump. 1978's Some Girls was a timely release, reclaiming some of the glitz and grit missing from their mostly forgettable mid-'70s efforts. Mick's boogie nights at Studio 54 translated into a massive chart triumph when combined with the sleazy blooze bravado of the prototypical Bowery punks, Keef and Ronnie, and the ensuing tour may have been the last time the band married a creative peak to commercial success.

This show, recorded during the '78 tour, is a reminder of how it should be. The Stones' strength is making a 4,000 seat theatre feel like a sweaty, smoky, beer-soaked juke joint, and they achieve it here. At times it's loose and ugly, but that just makes it so much sweeter when they get it together. The more "modern" likes of "Miss You" and "Shattered" stand up against classic material such as "Tumbling Dice." If Mick sounds a little out of breath, just picture him shimmying back and forth across a 100 foot stage and ask yourself if you could do the same and stay in key. This ain't the opera - this is rock 'n' roll at its raw and bloody essence!

The Stones' are still great, still packing in massive venues around the world, but their enduring success is built on an unsteady foundation of rough-hewn and raggedly perfect music. For all the rollicking, shambling glory, minus the smoke and mirrors, listen here.