Sympathy For Slowhand (Dog N Cat DAC-075)
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – June 22nd, 1975
Disc 1: Fanfare For The Common Man, Honky Tonk Women, All Down The Line, If You Can’t Rock Me / Get Off Of My Cloud, Star Star, Gimme Shelter, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, You Gotta Move, You Can’t Always Get What You Want/Band introduction, Happy, Tumbling Dice, It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo. Bonus track: Carnival To Rio
Disc 2: Fingerprint File, Angie, Wild Horses, That’s Life, Outa Space, Brown Sugar, Midnight Rambler, Rip This Joint, Street Fighting Man, Jumping Jack Flash, Sympathy For The Devil. Bonus track: Brown Sugar
Sympathy For Slowhand features the new tape source for the Stones’ June 22nd, 1975 New York tape. Taped by the prolific Joe Maloney and posted online last summer, it is a very good, clear and well balanced recording. Sympathy For The God (Tarantura TCDRS-5 – 1,2) was the first silver release of this recording, but the mastering of the high end made it a bit crunchy and obscured the middle frequencies making it difficult to really enjoy.
Dog And Cat, which usually likes to emphasize the lower end, make this sound more fat and lively emphasizing the natural sound inherent in the original recording and is better sounding than the source used on earlier releases including Tour Of The Americas 75 (75-HH-90581), M.S.G. 75 (With Eric Clapton) (VGP-029), Devil (Mid Valley 057/058) and Eric Clapton And His Rolling Stones (VGP – 315).
This is the first of six nights at the Garden in New York and this run of shows is the longest prolonged engagement of the tour (followed by five in Los Angeles and several cities where they played two consecutive nights). This is the first tour with then replacement guitarist Ron Wood (who wouldn’t become a Stone until December), and the first where they adopted an arena rock mentality. Instead of playing for seventy minutes, these shows regularly reached two hours long.
And although the material emphasized newer material (Beggars Banquet to It’s Only Rock And Roll with a nod to the past with “Get Off Of My Cloud”), the range of styles was quite divers. The Charlie Watts designed lotus petal shaped stage that opened and closed on cue, gave Jagger ample opportunity to be the showman and these turned out to be some of the greatest mid seventies arena-rock extravaganzas with something for everybody.
Billy Preston offered his style of soul music for the fans and for the New York shows the Stones even added “Sympathy For The Devil” as an encore with the The Steel Band Association of America thrown in for good measure. Copeland’s “Fanfare For The Common Man” starts things off and the stage opens with “Honky Tonk Women” and after “All Down The Line” Jagger taunts, “Are you feeling good? We’re gonna do something, if you can’t rock me, somebody will.” “Star Star” is about “a young lady who got herself in trouble.”
They were really up for playing in New York and deliver one of the best shows of the entire tour, except for the encore. “Sympathy For The Devil” hadn’t been performed live since Altamont six years before. Although it looked like a good idea to bring it out for shows in the big cities, this is the first performance for a long time and it shows.
Keith switches to bass for the track, and the results are a mess. Jagger forgets almost all of the vocal cues and is out of sync with the rest of the band, and the rhythm section get lost several times during the jam. Clapton plays a solo identical to the studio version, something rarely heard live.
The first bonus track is “Carnival To Rio,” a song Clapton recorded with the Stones and his own touring band at the time right after this show between June 25th and 30th at Electric Lady Studios in New York. This is a seven minute jam session with Clapton singing the first verse, Jagger singing the chorus, and long guitar solos. Clapton even throws in “Stormy Monday” for good measure. The sound quality is excellent and it is a shame this version wasn’t released due to contractual obligations.
The second bonus disc is the original take of “Brown Sugar” recorded a week after Altamont in London. Clapton adds his guitar lines in an excellent version which again wasn’t released because of contractual conflicts. DAC place the first bonus track at the end of disc one and the second track at the end of disc two.
While this is a nice touch, it is really stupid of the label to not place them both at the end of the second disc because “Carnival To Rio” breaks the flow of the concert. Nevertheless, this is a great sounding document and (so far) is the preferred silver version of the Maloney tape.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)