Have You Seen Keef (Standing In The Shadows)? (Dog N Cat DAC-086)
Earls Court, London, England – May 26th, 1976
Disc 1 (64:29): Honky Tonk Women, If You Can’t Rock Me-Get Off Of My Cloud, Hand Of Fate, Hey Negrita, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, Fool To Cry, Hot Stuff, Star Star, You Gotta Move, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Band introduction, Happy, Tumbling Dice, Nothing From Nothing, Outa Space
Disc 2 (54:11): Midnight Rambler, It’s Only Rock’n Roll, Brown Sugar, Jumping Jack Flash, Street Fighting Man. Bonus tracks from the soundboard: Hand Of Fate, Hey Negrita, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, Fool To Cry, Hot Stuff, Star Star
The Rolling Stones played only a handful of shows in United Kingdom when they toured Europe in 1976. There were three shows in Glasgow, two in Leicester and two in Stafford before scheduling three shows in Earls Court in London. With over one million applications for tickets, three more shows were added for a total of six shows in the capital. Have You Seen Keef (Standing In The Shadows)? documents the fifth of the six nights. The audience recording is good to very good but very flat sounding and lacking in significant dynamics. The vocals and guitar are emphasized over the drums and bass. Ten tracks from this tape were released on the vinyl release Have you seen Keef standing in the shadow? The show was professionally taped for the live album Love You Live and, although none of the songs from this show made the album, six songs from a raw, muddy and hissy soundboard tape also exist and were previously released on We Hope Ya Like Dis One (VGP 235) with other soundboard fragments from the tour.
Dog N Cat collect both documents together with the audience recording of the whole show and the soundboard fragment. Although some labels would have edited the soundboard recording into the audience, DAC thankfully didn’t do that. Rather, they present both sources complete and form a little compendium of all of the sources related to this show in one collection. The sound quality probably isn’t improved over the older releases but they are both very good and enjoyable tapes. The audience recording is musically complete but with small a cut after “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” eliminating some of Mick Jagger’s band introduction. The label also includes small news sound bites relating to Keith Richards. Before “Honky Tonk Woman” is a short BBC news clip about his accident after a show in Stafford, and at the end of disc two, right after the soundboard “Star Star” there is a ten second fragment of an interview where, when asked if he’s killing himself with dope replies, “I wish there was some around to get high.”
Their first foray into live performance without the significant contributions of guitar virtuoso Mick Taylor was tinged with uncertainty about musical direction. Even the latest album Black And Blue represents the Stones stripped down to fundamentals that made them great. The album is a collection of songs that emphasize grooves in one way or another. It is their medium and they are the master. Many complain that their live performances seemed rushed and sloppy on this tour. There is some weight to this, point out Jagger’s slurred vocals and Ronnie Wood’s strange guitar solos.
The setlist for the penultimate Earls Court gig is the same as the others except they didn’t perform “Sympathy For The Devil.” The opener “Honky Tonk Women” moves around the stage followed by the short medley “If You Can’t Rock Me” and “Get Off Of My Cloud.” The pairing of these two songs were played on both the 1975 Tour Of The Americas and the 1976 European tour, never to be resurrected afterwards. “If you can’t rock me then somebody will” sounds like a cry of rock star bravado and arrogance displayed in unbridled libido. They play the first verse and mix the second and third together before going into the older song which, if taken as a response which its position suggests, is a wholesale repudiation of the first with the refrain “Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd!”
The audience sounds very muted on the recording but it seems they were extremely quiet at the beginning. Jagger asks, “Can you hear anything? Can you hear something?” he says before introducing “Hand Of Fate” and complains about the loud echo before “Hot Stuff.” The new songs from Black And Blue were bunched up in the first half of the show, almost as if they wanted to get them out of the way early so they can concentrate on the classics. The common complain about this tour is the “rushed” feel to the setlist and creating the set this way lends that judgment some weight. They are however very exciting to hear on stage in general and “Hot Stuff,” with one of their most twisted and sleazy rhythms, in particular.
Ron Wood takes over the guitar solo in “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” His playing is interesting but disjointed, lacking the dramatic crescendo associated with Taylor’s. Keith sings “Happy” before “Tumbling Dice,” already by this time a Rolling Stones classic. Billy Preston has his two numbers in the middle of the set before they hit the classics starting with “Midnight Rambler” (lacking the dynamics of previous tours). Keith drops out in the beginning of “Brown Sugar” but soon recovers. Mick affects a southern intonation in keeping with the spirit of the song, singing “you’ll should have heard them just before midnight.” The show ends with “Jumping Jack Flash” and “Street Fighting Man,” two songs from their most dangerous period. The bonus tracks are a nice touch, being a good addition to this release. Although this isn’t the best recording from the Earls Court gigs it is enjoyable to have. Dog N Cat replicate the famous LP cover on the inside insert and use thick color glossy paper for the artwork.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)