Monday, April 9, 2012

The Rolling Stones' Hampton Coliseum and L.A. Friday reviews

So far, this year has seen the release of two more additions to the Rolling Stones’ bootleg series on the Google/Android music store. In November 2011, The Brussels Affair was released and was indeed an impressive release. The next two live albums/bootlegs are fantastic.

 The Rolling Stones - Hampton Coliseum (Live 1981)
The Rolling Stones
Hampton Coliseum (Live 1981)
Rating: ****

Hampton Coliseum is a nice follow up to The Brussels Affair. The show was recorded in Virginia on December 18, 1981 as the Stones’ last stop for their 50 gig US tour for their latest album, Tattoo You. The show has been available for years and years. In fact, the show was filmed and can now be seen for free on Wolfgang’s Vault. While I prefer The Brussels Affair, Hampton Coliseum is still a great show. The band runs through 25 songs in just two hours. Unlike The Brussels Affair, Hampton Coliseum has a more wide selection of tunes from the band’s first 20 years. I personally love the performances of the material from the 1960’s, including “Under My Thumb”, “Let’s Spend the Night Together”, “Time Is On My Side”, and even “Let It Bleed”. The band also plays a couple of song off of Tattoo You. The rendition of “Waiting on a Friend” for this show is very different from the one on Tattoo You, which is just great. It was also Keith Richards’ 38th birthday and during the band introductions track, Mick Jagger and the audience sing “Happy Birthday” to Richards before Richards goes into “Little T&A”.

 The Rolling Stones - L.A. Friday (Live, 1975)
The Rolling Stones
L.A. Friday (Live 1975)
Rating: **** 1/2

 L.A. Friday might be the title of the third bootleg but the show was recorded on Sunday July 13, 1975. The Rolling Stones were performing a series of gigs at the L.A. Forum and the show on Sunday is the one heard on L.A. Friday. These shows are an important part in the band’s history as it was their first tour with new guitarist Ronnie Wood. The band is also backed up with a few other musicians, including Billy Preston on keyboards. L.A. Friday has this very raunchy sound, much like The Brussels Affair, which I like (Hampton Coliseum, while great, is a little too polished). The band performs 24 songs in an astounding two and a half hours. The performances of “Gimme Shelter”, “Star Star”, and “Heartbreaker” are amazing as always. The band even manages to crank out 15 minute jam versions of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Midnight Rambler”. Billy Preston also gets to perform two songs, “That’s Life” and “Outta Space”. The Stones even play “Sympathy for the Devil”, which they had begun playing again after a five year hiatus from the band’s setlist. Some believe it was because it was the song the band had played at Altamont when Meredith Hunter was killed, but this is false (it was after “Under My Thumb”).

Both shows are fantastic and a must have for all Stones fans. Once again, each album is on Google Play for the low price of $4.99. It’s a no brainer: get them. 

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