Champagne, Reefer And A Red Headed Woman
(Godfather Records GR 832/833)
O2 Arena, London, England – November 29th, 2012
Disc 1 (74:45): Video screens intro., show intro., Get Off Of My Cloud, I Wanna Be Your Man (The Beatles cover), The Last Time (first time live performance since July 18th, 1998), Paint It Black, Gimme Shelter (with Florence Welch), Lady Jane (first live performance since April 17th, 1967), Champagne And Reefer (Muddy Waters cover)(with Eric Clapton), Live With Me, Miss You, One More Shot, Doom And Gloom, It’s Only Rock’n Roll (with Bill Wyman), Honky Tonk Women (with Bill Wyman)
Disc 2 (70:20): Band introduction, Before They Make Me Run (Keith), Happy (Keith), Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor), Start Me Up, Tumbling Dice, Brown Sugar, Sympathy For The Devil, You Can’t Always Get What You Want (The London Youth Choir), Jumping Jack Flash, Satisfaction
Four days later The Rolling Stones played their second London gig. Before a sell-out crowd on November 29th, they play a show very similar to the first. Champagne, Reefer And A Red Headed Woman documents the entire gig sourced from an IEM / audience tape matrix edit. Both editing and sound quality are excellent.
At the start is the video and the musical introductions before the band come onto the stage. On this night they start off with “Get Off Of My Cloud,” a much better opener, followed by a more polished performance of “I Wanna Be Your Man.”
Afterwards Jagger jokes “that was a pretty old number, ‘I Wanna Be Your Man,’ it is pretty ancient. One of our very first … from the early sixties. Blimey, I dunno. Back in those days a pint of milk was two pence and a loaf of bread was six pence and the price of a concert ticket was …. I better not go there!”
Charlie Watts emphasizes the joke with a slam on the drums and Keith starts with the riff to “The Last Time.” An older tune, this is the first time they’ve played the song since the Bridges To Babylon tour in Vigo, Spain. Before “Paint It Black” Jagger continues the high ticket price joke motif by telling the audience they’ll have a better time in this show than the Sunday night concert “because we’re more relaxed and do the whole set. I mean, we had to pay a $100,000 fine because we went on too long. I mean, that’s like ten seats!”
On “Gimme Shelter” Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine sings the female lead. Her vocals are weaker than Mary J. Blige’s contribution in the Sunday night show, but the Stones enjoy promoting younger acts and giving them publicity. It also helps that Florence is very attractive.
“Lady Jane” replaces “Wild Horses,” its first live performance in forty-five years. Afterwards Jagger tells a story about how Eric Clapton used to dance in front of the stage when the Stones played in the early days. Clapton joins the band for a cover of Muddy Waters’ “Champagne And Reefer.” Unlike Jeff Beck, who was a guest in the November 25th show, Clapton has joined the Stones onstage many times in the past fifty years. This is only the second live appearance of the year for Eric (the February 24th Hubert Sumlin benefit is the other).
“Out Of Control” is dropped and replaced by “Live With Me” from Let It Bleed. “Miss You” fares much better than in the Sunday show and also includes the Darryl Jones bass solo. The two new songs “One More Shot” and “Doom And Gloom” are followed by the two song Bill Wyman set “It’s Only Rock N Roll” and “Honky Tonk Woman.”
Mick serenades Ron Wood about his upcoming nuptials while introducing the entire set of musicians on the stage. Keith is very disarming in his self-depreciating humor, cutting into himself for his longevity. “Before The Make Me Run” and “Happy” are Richards’ two songs, the same as the other London show.
Mick Taylor comes onstage for a twelve minute version of “Midnight Rambler.” It lacks the spook and violence of the early seventies performances, but does benefit from Taylor’s lyric turns in his sparring with both Richards and Wood. Jagger thanks and praises him as he leaves the stage.
The final songs run by in a blur with no comment from Jagger. “Start Me Up,” “Tumbling Dice,” “Brown Sugar” and an excellent “Sympathy For The Devil” close the show. The final number has a surprisingly strong Chuck Leavell presence on the piano and comes close to turning the song from a wild jam session into a honky tonk jamboree.
After several minutes of audience cheering the opening choir for “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” sneaks upon the stage. It’s played straight, lacking the thunderous guitar histrionics from past tours. “Jumping Jack Flash” and a third encore “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” close the long night.
The performance on November 29th is a great improvement over the 25th and just as interesting and exciting. Champagne, Reefer And A Red Headed Woman is packaged in a tri-fold gatefold sleeve with a similar design to Everybody Rattle Your Jewelry. It also contains a fold out insert with detailed liner notes and two mini posters featuring the GRRR gorilla. These are both the recommended silver pressings of the London shows and are worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)