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Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers Reissue & Live In Minneapolis 6/3/15

June 12, 2015

stickystones zip mick and keef
Mick Jagger is a freak of nature. He rocked his ass off in Minneapolis.  How a guy in his early 70s can rock like a teenager is beyond comprehension. The band legitimately defended their title as the “world’s greatest rock and roll band” and they did not even seem like they were trying that hard.

My wife and daughter accompanied me to the show and one of the cool features that it rained all day and we stressed all day about a wet show.  Just as warm-up act Grace Potter started her set, the rain cleared and it was a dry evening for the rest of the show.  A great memory for me will be my young adult daughter discovering the quintessence of rock and roll in Keith Richards.  She was mesmerized by his multitasking (cigarette in is pick hand).

Set list:

Jumpin’ Jack Flash / It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It) / All Down the Line / Tumbling Dice / Doom and Gloom / Bitch / Moonlight Mile / Out of Control / Honky Tonk Women / Before They Make Me Run (Keith Richards on vocals) / Happy (Keef again) / Midnight Rambler / Miss You / Gimme Shelter (with opener Grace Potter as guest vocalist) / Start Me Up / Sympathy for the Devil / Brown Sugar  ENCORE: You Can’t Always Get What You Want (with Minneapolis choral group VocalEssence) / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Less than a week later it was time to check out the Sticky Fingers reissue. What a deal Target has: the two CD edition with a copy of the LP mailed to your house for $20 (in 4 to 6 weeks – good to lower expectations – I was delighted when it showed up in 10 days).

Sticky Fingers is a an absolute classic. I can’t declare a favorite Stones album but Sticky Fingers is right there in the mix and “Can’t You Here Me Knocking” is my favorite Stones song.

The album flies out of the starting block with a rock and roll classic “Brown Sugar.”  I never realized what a fucking depraved song it was until I heard Ryan Adams cover it as dirge in concert many years back. Who but the Stones would juxtaposition fun rollicking music with lyrics about the slave trade?

“Sway” Slows things down with a nice drunken blues.  The rhythm of the song has a gorgeous inebriated sway – quintessential Keith Richards.  This is a fine setup pitch for the next song.
Legend has it that “Wild Horses” was influenced by the Stones hanging out with Gram Parsons – who could arguably be the first cosmic cowboy. Parsons deeply understood country music and taught the Glimmer Twins its beauty.  “Wild Horses” is the Stones take on country music and like their blues and rock and roll, they made it uniquely theirs – reverent and heretical at the same time.
“Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” is my favorite Stones song of all time. It shows off Richard genius of writing great riffs and Mick Taylor’s more sophisticated take on blues guitar. One thing the Stones are brilliant at is incorporating horns into their arrangements and this song has one of the great sax solos in rock.  This is close as the Stones get to jam rock.
Side one ends with some nice greasy acoustic blues with “You Gotta Move.”  I love the combination of jangle and slide. Jagger puts on his black county drawl that is so unconvincing that it is brilliant.
Side two opens with “Bitch” which has a wonderfully dangerous sound. Stinging guitar and a horn section. Keef and Taylor have a nice little duel with their snarling guitars.
“I Got The Blues” is Jagger the soul singer over the band’s simmering blues ballad stew.  Jagger testifies in his typical sacrilegious way.
If any band can speak honestly about drug use it is the Rolling Stones.  “Sister Morphine” is their acknowledgment  that drugs are not all fun and games.
“Dead Flowers” is more country Stones.  An elegant flip off.
“Moonlight Mile” is one of the great beauties of the Stones catalog.  Perfectly capturing the moment before you nod off from a night of partying – the fine line between comfortably numb and blacked out.  One of the great ambitious arrangements in the Stones catalog.
Sticky Fingers is the Stones at their best: rock roll hits, exploring various genres, great arrangements and poker face that makes you wonder if they are being ironic or honest.
The deluxe edition has a second CD of alternate takes and live cuts from the period.  As mentioned earlier you should purchase the deluxe edition from Target (at no additional cost) as it comes with a well mastered and pressed LP (and yes it sounds better than the CD).
The alternate take of “Brown Sugar” feature guitar god Eric Clapton’s slide guitar.  This is an example of what great editors Jagger and Richards are.  The version is cool to hear, but ultimately Clapton clutters up the track. The original version was the right choice.
If the alternative of “Brown Sugar” is too busy, the alternative of “Wild Horses” is too sparse. Again it is fun to hear this version, but the album version was the better choice.
“Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”is a more primitive version than the LP version and gives you a sense of the creative process. It is fun to see behind the curtain and see how the sausage is made. Ultimately this song derails before the famous break.
“Bitch” is pretty close to the LP version – it is merely extended.
Jagger sounds positively disinterested in this version of “Dead Flowers” – not even exquisitely bored, just bored.
“Live With Me” starts out the live section of the deluxe version. The Stones have always been a great live band and these give you a peek at the boys when they were at the hight of their creative powers.  Mick Taylor was the most technical advanced of the Stones guitarist and it is enjoyable to hear him flex his muscles live.
“Stray Cat Blues” is one of great raw blues rock tunes in the Stones catalog and Taylor is pretty damn brilliant.
“Love In Vain” displays what a great story-teller Jagger can be.  When I saw him recently I was reminded that he is the greatest rock and roll front man of all time and this live cut gives you a sense of how great he is – especially when he testifies.
One of the great rock and roll pleasures is when Mick whips out the mouth organ.  This cut starts with Mick grinding on the harmonica on the opening of “Midnight Rambler.”  This song has been a staple of their live shows and it always rocks. It is great to hear when the song was relatively fresh in their repertoire.  This song was designed to be live.  Jagger is absolutely brilliant here.  Pure seduction – sex on a stick.
The Stones have so many great riffs and “Honky Tonk Women” opens with one of the great ones.   The song has always had a wonderfully boozy sloppy swagger and this live version is extra sloppy – and like a good hot dago that is the preferred way to serve it.
Between seeing the boys live recently and this reissue there is no question (like there ever was) that this is the greatest rock and roll band ever.

 

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2 Comments
  1. “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” is my all-time fav Stones song, too, by far.

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