5th Night At MSG 1975 (no label)
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – June 26th, 1975
Disc 1 (70:41): 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 And Roll, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)
Disc 2 (49:50): Fingerprint File, Angie, That’s Life, Outa Space, Brown Sugar, Midnight Rambler, Rip This Joint, Street Fighting Man, Jumping Jack Flash
After announcing the Tour Of The Americas in midtown Manhattan by playing “Brown Sugar” on the back of a flatbed truck on May 1st, the Stones returned to New York for six sold out shows. They were booked at Madison Square Garden from June 22nd to June 27th, and all but the fifth night has had complete recordings.
An incomplete tape, running from “It’s Only Rock And Roll” to “Jumping Jack Flash” has been circulating and was pressed on Welcome Back To New York (Vinyl Gang VGP 039) and on disc two of Missing Jewels (Rattlesnake RS 025/026/027/028). Recently the first half of the show surfaced.
The tape is fair to good with noticeable levels of distortion. There are various little cuts scattered between songs, and two bigger ones, between 3:05-3:22 in “Angie” and at the end of “Midnight Rambler” from 11:50 to the end and both are filled with another tape source. Finally, the encore “Sympathy For The Devil” is missing.
Of all of the New York shows, this is the most obscure and low key. There are no celebrity guest stars like Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana and the band get down to business by hitting a very nice groove early on. The tape begins with the opening notes of “Honky Tonk Women” (missing the opening “Fanfare For The Common Man.”) Jagger is having some problems with the microphone at the very beginning and doesn’t come in at the right time.
He has the same problem in the middle of “Star Star” forcing Keith and Ronnie to extend the instrumental in the middle. The issues with the tape strangely enhance the apocalypticism of “Gimme Shelter,” making it sound as if God’s judgement is raining down on the spectators.
“You Gotta Move” sounds dispirited, but the transition into “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is one of the more clever adaptations in this set list. The distortion becomes almost unbearable during “Happy” and “Tumbling Dice” but improves a bit for “It’s Only Rock And Roll.”
The bass is loud in “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo” leaving the listener with the pounding rhythm section. The audience cheers loudly after the first line (“The police in New York City / chased a boy right though the park.” New Yorkers like hearing the city mentioned in song and it doesn’t matter if the song is about a grave error committed by the NYPD.)
“Fingerprint File” is nine minutes of pure funk but the recording, emphasizing the lower end, loses the fun of the song. Billy Preston’s set raises the audience’s enthusiasm as expected and the Stone come back and deliver the strongest part of their show.
“Midnight Rambler” sounds particularly gloomy and violent when they speed up the tempo in the middle and the tape ends with a bone-crushing rendition of “Jumping Jack Flash.” It is shame that “Sympathy For The Devil” wasn’t recorded since it would have sounded interesting on this tape.
Since 5th Night At MSG 1975 is the only silver pressed edition of this more complete tape, it is recommended for being a good document of one of the strongest segments of the Tour Of The Americas. There is good use of period photos on the artwork as well.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)