The Rolling Stones – Brixton Academy 1995 (No Label)
Brixton Academy, London, England – July 19th 1995
CD1 (60:05) 1. Honky Tonk Women, 2. Tumbling Dice, 3. You Got Me Rocking, 4. Live With Me, 5. Black Limousine, 6. Dead Flowers, 7. Sweet Virginia, 8. Far Away Eyes, 9. Love In Vain, 10. Meet Me At The Bottom, 11. Shine A Light, 12. Like A Rolling Stone
CD2 (63:58) 1. Monkey Man, 2. I Go Wild, 3. Miss You, 4. Band introductions, 5. Connection, 6. Slipping Away, 7. Midnight Rambler, 8. Rip This Joint, 9. Start Me Up, 10. Brown Sugar, 11. Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Stones fans have been blessed in the last couple of years with a cornucopia of official pro recorded archive audio/ video, and SB quality bootleg releases (from Wolfgang’s Vault) but no bootleg was more anticipated and caused as much excitement as the announcement that Rattlesnake was going to treat fans to the 1995 Brixton Academy show in SB quality.
While the Rattlesnake version was the first SB release of this show this concert has been released before in a VG-EX audience recordings by the Vinyl Gang Products title “Welcome to Brixton” (VGP-094) and a No label title “Brix95”.
A 2-DVD video title “Midnight at Brixton” was released by the Way of Wizard (WOW-47) and is said to be a VG audience shot video which included a second DVD containing the Stripped TV, special taken from American TV, and Voodoo Lounge CD-ROM.
In addition to the original Rattlesnake label title I found a recent alternate SB release titled “Welcome to Brixton” on the FTV label (001) which claims to be “digitally remastered”. According to the excellent dbboots database this is also missing the band introductions so I am guessing this may be a straight copy of the Rattlesnake title but it does have 3 bonus tracks from the “Stripped” live release. Since I don’t have a copy I cannot verify if this label corrected the reversed channel issue.
This new No Label release appears to be a direct copy of the excellent Rattlesnake release, with no remastering I could detect, but has been improved with the left and right channels being swapped so Ronnie (left) and Keef (right) now appear in the correct channels as would be heard from the audience. The missing band introductions, in VG quality, from the circulating audience recording have also been seamlessly spliced in so the concert is now complete.
This is a rumoured video soundtrack from a VHS source and if it is the video source it is low gen as the sound quality is an excellent well mixed pro stereo recording. I did not detect any dullness or muting of the top end that you get from high gen recordings.
It has a wide stereo soundstage with all the instruments well balanced with the guitars upfront, Keef in the right channel and Woody in the left, and slightly dominant in the recording but they do not overwhelm the other instruments and vocals. Definitely a recording for the guitar lovers in the crowd.
If I was to nitpick I would say Charlie’s drums, especially his bass drum, get lost in the mix at times but it is hardly noticeable as Darryl’s bass fills in nicely giving the recording a satisfying bottom end.
There is a nice mix of audience in the recording which keeps it from being flat and dry like some SB recordings tend to be.
As with the Rattlesnake release the recording is mastered hot so you don’t have to crank up the volume before it gets loud but there is no overloading or distortion as a result that I could hear.
The performance is simply one of the best of the tour and finds the band very relaxed and sounding like they were really enjoying the intimacy of the small venue. Mick even jokes that after playing Wembley the band was doing Brixton for some laughs.
One of the things that makes this concert so special IMHO is the varied setlist, which relies less on the old warhorses, and mixes in a nice collection of rarely played songs this tour like “Dead Flowers”, “Sweet Virgina”, “Far Away Eyes”, and “Love in Vain” which are played together in what I like to call the cowboy set based on some of Mick’s between song comments. Other rarities include “Rip This Joint”, “Meet Me at the Bottom” and “Connection”. In addition we get the tours only rendition of “Black Limousine”. For a blow by blow account of the songs performed see Stuart’s excellent review of the Rattlesnake release of this concert.
The No Name label comes in the usual slimline double cd jewel case with glossy inserts and a sticker with a limited edition number. If you already have the Rattlesnake release this title is not a must have but if the swapped channels and missing introductions bother you this is a nice alternative as it can be found at a very attractive price from Japanese vendors. If you don’t already have this show the No Label release offers you the chance to get the complete concert as this SB recording is a must have in any fans bootleg collection.
As a side note, as mentioned above, the speculation is this SB audio came from a VHS video source and rumour has it we may even see a release of a proshot video of the show on DVD before too long. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)The Rolling Stones - Brixton Academy 1995 (No Label),