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The Rolling Stones – Return To Liver (no label)

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Return To Liver (no label)

Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, CA - July 24th, 1978

Disc 1 (46:56):  Opening, Let It Rock, All Down The Line, Honky Tonk Women, Star Star, When The Whip Comes Down, Beast Of Burden, Lies, Miss You

Disc 2 (57:19):  Just My Imagination, Shattered, Respectable, Far Away Eyes, Love In Vain, Tumbling Dice, Happy, Sweet Little Sixteen, Brown Sugar, Jumping Jack Flash

The final days of The Rolling Stones’ Some Girls tour in the summer of 1978 were two shows in southern California in Anaheim and a final massive date in Oakland.  Return To Liver is the second of the two Anaheim dates.  It was first released in the seventies on a 2LP Return To Liver (Atomic Records AR727) and On Tour (Phoenix 44773). 

The only CD release is Return to Liver (VGP-292) utilizing an alternate tape source.  The newly released  no label is the first pressing of the LP tape.  The sound is thin and top heavy (as many shows from this tour are), but is quite tolerable.  It certainly gives more than enough detail to enjoy the show.  There are several cuts between numbers, but none lose music or are too destructive.

In the July 23rd show the Stones delivered a lazy and lackluster performance.  But they made up for it the following day with a tight, energetic and fun show that ranks among the best of the tour.  They were also joined by two special guests, Bobby Keys on saxophone and Nicky Hopkins on piano.  Both have long associations with the band, so it’s strange to call them “guests.”  But the Stones were touring pretty much solo, and these are among the very few shows with the additional musicians included.

The show starts off with a tremendous amount of energy with “Let It Rock” and “All Down The Line.”  Mick Jagger flirts with everyone in the stadium even saying that “the people I can’t see up there are beautiful.”

Honky Tonk Woman” has a very long introduction since Jagger either  misses a cue, or his mic wasn’t working.  The middle of the show is particularly effective with scorching versions of “Beast Of Burden” and “Miss You.”  Bobby Keys tries hard to duplicate the Mel Collins saxophone break in the latter and turns it into a raucous cabaret number. 

Nicky Hopkins’s presence is felt in the latter half of the show, jamming on “Shattered” and “Respectable.”  He also adds a strange piano and what sounds like organ to the slower paced “Love In Vain,” contributing to a unique performance of the piece. 

It’s also at this point when the audience start throwing their shoes on stage en mass.  First they throw flip flops and sandals, but eventually sneakers and boots come flying to the stage.  After Shattered Jagger tells the audience “I got eighty-four pairs of shoes now.  That’s enough!”

That doesn’t help stop the onslaught, so Jagger decided to encourage the behavior after “Far Away Eyes.”  He tells the audience, “I want everybody’s shoes” and is pelted throughout the song.  He’s hit once, forcing a short delay afterwards so security can clean up the mess.  It’s such a memorable event that Jagger mentioned in in Los Angeles years later and Ron Wood stated he’s still looking for a matching boot to the one that hit him.

“You get  me all horny, I’ll tell you that” Jagger tells them before “Brown Sugar.”  Keys contributes loudly to both that and, quite unusually, the final song of the set “Jumping Jack Flash.”  It’s unusual to hear a saxophone in that particular song. 

Return To Liver is a bit misnomer since it’s referring to Live’r Than You’ll Ever Be, the 1969 show in Oakland in northern California.  It is a very good release to have both because it is a great performance and for being the famous shoes concert.  The no label people utilizing a slim double case and duplicate the old AR vinyl release artwork including a newspaper article detailing how well behaved the crowd was (obviously about the July 23rd show!) 

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The Rolling Stones - Return To Liver (no label), 2.5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

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