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Rolling Stones – Executive Action (Dog N Cat DAC-022)

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Executive Action (Dog N Cat DAC-022) 

Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX – October 31st & November 1st, 1981

Disc 1 October 31st, 1981: Take The A Train, Under My Thumb, When The Whip Comes Down, Let’s Spend The Night Together, Shattered, Neighbours, Black Limousine, Just My Imagination, Twenty Flight Rock, Let Me Go, Time Is On My Side, Beast Of Burden, Let It Bleed

Disc 2: You Can’t Always Get What You Want, band introduction, Little T & A, Tumbling Dice, She’s So Cold, All Down The Line, Hang Fire, Miss You, Start Me Up, Honky Tonk Women, Brown Sugar, Jumping Jack Flash, Star Spangled Banner

Disc 3 November 1st, 1981: Take The A Train, Under My Thumb, When The Whip Comes Down, Let’s Spend The Night Together, Shattered, Neighbours, Black Limousine, Just My Imagination, Twenty Flight Rock, Let Me Go, Time Is On My Side, Beast Of Burden, Waiting On A Friend, Let It Bleed

Disc 4: You Can’t Always Get What You Want, band introduction, Little T & A, Tumbling Dice, She’s So Cold, All Down The Line, Hang Fire, Miss You, Start Me Up, Honky Tonk Women, Brown Sugar, Jumping Jack Flash, Satisfaction

Executive Action pairs together two soundboard recordings from the Stones’ long weekend in Dallas in one stunning package. Each of the two shows were afternoon affairs beginning at twelve noon. With this being their first trip to “the big D” (in Mick’s words) since 1975 and occurring over the Halloween weekend with audience members in costume, the band were determined to have fun. Although neither of the shows contain any of the rarities from this tour (no “Tops”, “Mona”, “Down The Road Apiece”, or “Going To A Go-Go”) their passion more than carries them through and they deliver outstanding concerts.

Much like the other Tattoo You boards, these are excellent sounding, dynamic and very vivid documents. The October 31st show is complete and the November 1st is virtually complete. A fair to good audience recording from the second show is used to fix the gaps at the beginning (“Take The A Train” and the first thirty seconds of “Under My Thumb”) and the first two minutes of “Beast Of Burden”. Waiting On A Dallas Friend (AM Productions 261081) is a previous release of the second show and this is the debut for the Halloween performance.

The first two discs documenting the Saturday show is the more interesting of the two. It must have been a bizarre sight to see audience members dressed in Halloween costumes and Mick praises them several times throughout the show. “We’re gonna spend the night trick-or-treating in the lobby of the hotel, so if anybody who wants to come is welcome. You know which hotel it is anyway. What’s the matter Keith? You lost your guitar” he says before “Let’s Spend The Night Together” and trying to explain the delay. It’s at this point where the rains begin and continue throughout the afternoon. “We play rain or shine so get your umbrellas out” Mick laughs.

“You are sweet and beautiful. And so well dressed. There are some fucking nice costumes out there I tell you” before inviting the audience to sing the chorus to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. I think the arrangement of this track, with Ernie Watt’s saxophone replacing the guitar solo, is a big improvement. Throughout the years they experimented with horns and it really works on this tour. It adds a midtown Manhattan nightclub feeling which is really fun and are not intrusive or out of tune like in 1972-73 (where “Gimme Shelter” is ruined).

The band continue despite concerns about the equipment: “I hope this equipment lasts…She’s so cold and I’m so wet” Mick says before “She’s So Cold.” Before the final song “Jumping Jack Flash” he says, “At least we get a bath”. The final encore “Satisfaction”, along with “Waiting On A Friend” earlier in the set, were dropped probably because of the weather.

It’s an interesting and dramatic performance with the poor weather bringing out the best in the band which carried over into the Sunday show which is equally as effective if devoid of the drama. The weather behaves this time and the show goes off without a hitch with the full set list. All around Executive Action is an absolutely stunning release. It comes packaged with the thick cardboard inserts, several pictures from the event and copies of the tickets on the back cover. It clearly says “Rain or Shine” on them and Mick meant it!

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Rolling Stones - Executive Action (Dog N Cat DAC-022), 2.5 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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