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The Rolling Stones – The Brussels Affair ’73 (RS731017)

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The Brussels Affair ’73 (RS731017)

Forest Nationale, Brussels, Belgium – October 17th, 1973 (1st & 2nd Show)

(79:33):  Opening, Brown Sugar, Gimme Shelter, Happy, Tumbling Dice, Star Star, Dancing With Mr. D, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker), Angie, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Midnight Rambler, Honky Tonk Women, All Down The Line, Rip This Joint, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Street Fighting Man

The Rolling Stones have finally begun to assemble and release their vast archives.  Setting up The Official Rolling Stones Archive online, their first release is The Brussels Affair ’73 which ranks among their greatest live performances.  Past releases on vinyl and CD focused upon the KBFH tapes which edited the Brussels shows with the September 9th, Wembley show in London.  The latest unofficial release, Bunnies, Bombs, Busts & A Princess on Halcyon, focus solely upon the early show in Brussels.  

The official Brussels release takes a slightly different tact.  Instead of offering the KBFH broadcast or an individual show, it is an edit of the two Brussels shows on October 17th.  Since it’s using a previously unheard show, there is much material absolutely unique to this release including the two songs from the set which were never broadcast, “Star Star” and “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker).”

The way this breaks down is that of the fifteen songs three, “Brown Sugar,” “Midnight Rambler” and “Street Fighting Man” were previously heard on the KBFH tapes. 

Six songs from the 2nd show have been available from the soundboard on unofficial release such as Back To The Graveyard (Dog n Cat DAC-113):  “Gimme Shelter,” “Happy,” “Tumbling Dice,” “Star Star,” “All Down The Line,” and “Rip This Joint.”  The other six, “Dancing With Mr. D,” “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker),” “Angie,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “Honky Tonk Women” and “Jumping Jack Flash” all come from the evening show and have been previously unreleased.

Assuming this is a loss-less download, the sound quality should be identical.  Regardless, it is in fantastic stereo and has professional level sound.  A further credit is the light studio tweaking.  Unlike their other official live releases, they didn’t see the need to fix every little imperfection in the music.  The only overdub is found in “All Down The Line” where Mick Taylor’s guitar solo from the early show was overdubbed into the late show. 

Also, in general, the guitars were raised higher in the mix and the auxiliary instruments, the piano, keyboards and horns, were mixed lower.

Although this is certainly exciting, the Stones’ management offer this only as downloads from the website.  In the spirit of satiating collector’s appetites, The Brussels Affair ’73 (RS731017) offers the download on a silver disc for the collection.  The label is not identified, but the artwork looks like Idol Mind of recent vintage.  The artwork is printed on only one side and the front cover is the graphic from the website associated with this release.  The packaging is very basic but the music is fantastic.

According to the website, “The new edition, pulled exclusively from the two Brussels gigs, was taken from the original multi-track masters recorded by Andy Johns on the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. Longtime Stones collaborator Bob Clearmountain applied the final mix.”  

“Brussels was the penultimate stop on a European tour that the Stones embarked upon in the autumn of 1973 to promote the album Goats Head Soup. At the time, the Stones were by far the biggest stars on the planet, and the 21-city tour was met by ecstatic crowds, causing the band to frequently perform two shows a day, as they did at the Forest National arena in Brussels. Despite the frenetic pace, the road trip yielded some of the band’s greatest music on stage.

“Although the Stones began readying a live album of the show for commercial release, the idea was ultimately shelved – a tragedy given the ferocity of the set and the definitive live versions of Stones classics that it presents. Fortunately, that has all changed today. If there was one Rolling Stones bootleg that needed to find its way into the mainstream, Brussels ’73 was it.”

Early copies of The Brussels Affair ’73 come with a bonus CDR with the KBFH broadcast with material from both Brussels and London.  Other copies lack the bonus.  This is a good release for those of us who like our music on physical media, something which the Stones don’t seem to want to do.  It is worth having for filling that niche.   

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The Rolling Stones - The Brussels Affair '73 (RS731017), 4.3 out of 5 based on 3 ratings

21 Comments

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  1. Profile photo of busenagee
    busenagee says
    July 29, 2012, 7:57 pm

    Turboholic: The title is Nasty Music The Lost Live Album 1973. The label is Mayflower.

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    Turboholic says
    July 29, 2012, 6:21 pm

    busenagee:

    What is the title and label of the release you’re referring to? Thanks.

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    busenagee says
    July 6, 2012, 6:18 pm

    I was finally able to get this show as part of a silver 3 cd set. CD 1 & 3 are a redo of most of the Rattle Snake Brussels Definitive Edition and the 2nd cd is the release reviewed above. It is no suprise why this stuff gets released over and over. The Stones certainly deserved the title of World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band. Keep rock’n everyone.

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    James says
    April 4, 2012, 1:10 am

    nevermind Sunday 13 July 1975 “LA Friday” Forum show now available for download it would appear

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    James says
    April 3, 2012, 2:45 am

    Kads im confused now, have they released a 3rd download to supplement Brussels and Hampton?

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    gsparaco says
    April 2, 2012, 3:43 pm

    What DAC version? Is that the Naker Naker one?? I’m a bit confused.

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    kads says
    April 2, 2012, 3:28 pm

    @lordbud…so much better? What’s wrong with Brussels Affair? It’s an amazing download, aswell as Hampton 81 and just got L.A. Friday in which blew me away! So what could be better? There will be 6 releases and the first 3 are killer in my opinion. Ofcourse we all knew this stuff but NOT in this stunning quality.

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    Lordbud says
    March 31, 2012, 8:17 pm

    Well I finally shelled out and got the unbranded/unnumbered DAC version of the Brussels download. The Rolling Stones Corporation could do so much better. Put me in charge of what to release for the fans/archives.

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    James says
    February 22, 2012, 1:47 pm

    Hopefully this opening of the vaults might encourage Ron Wood to offically release the Barbarians MSG gig that ive been waiting the last few years for!!

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    kads says
    February 9, 2012, 1:14 pm

    @lorbud. The Stones know that Europeans go for quality so we get the option FLAC or MP3. Just my 2 Cents! ;-)

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    pookie says
    February 3, 2012, 6:44 pm

    What a can of worms; we have opened here!! As far as talent goes: Brian Jones was far superior to Woody & Taylor.
    The bulk of Stones live shows to this day still are comprised of many songs from the Brian era.
    The melodic influences he gave the band have been sorely missed; never replaced.
    Taylor is an excellent player although woody fits the band much better. Just my 2 cents worth.

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    Lordbud says
    February 3, 2012, 1:09 pm

    All the comparing of apples and oranges aside, the flac download of the Brussels material on the official site is NOT available to those of us living in the U.S. period. I don’t do MP3 period. Only alternative I have is to buy the bootleg. Either open the archives or don’t. Don’t open them half-*ssed like this. Make available entire concerts to all fans.

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  13. Profile photo of classicrawker
    February 2, 2012, 8:47 am

    I agree with you bim in that IMHO the Mick T era produced some of the most dynamic performances in the Stones long and storied history but I don’t think Woody era live shows were bland by any means. Woody brought a different dynamic to the band and I feel he actually meshed with Keef’s playing better.

    And GS I have to disagree that Mick T’s playing was soul less. For example, his solos in YCAGWYW and Midnight Rambler are full of soul and feeling and are some of the best versions of those songs the Stones ever played are with Mick T. IMHO.

    I think we are splitting hairs here and there is no right or wrong as it is all just opinion after all. I am just happy the Stones are finally opening the vaults and I will take any live shows they are willing to share.

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    gsparaco says
    February 2, 2012, 7:12 am

    Your original points … fair enough … but why did you bring up Ron Wood?

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    bim says
    February 2, 2012, 2:01 am

    I come back to my original points:-

    1. recordings from the Rolling Stones Classic Live period deserve to be treated with more respect than downloads.

    2. If exclusively downloads they should be complete as possible recordings for collectors

    3. It is perfectly clear on the evidence of surviving 1969-73 recordings why these performances are so dynamic in comparison with what came afterwards.

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    gsparaco says
    February 2, 2012, 12:49 am

    I’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is, Mick Taylor’s talent as a guitarist AND his contribution to the Rolling Stones’ sound, especially when compared to Ron Wood, is grossly exaggerated. While I generally enjoy Taylor’s soloing, I find the high pitched tones he often chooses to be whiny and unpleasant. Not to mention his playing is often technically proficient, but lacks any kind of soul.

    Ultimately, I find all these comments about Taylor’s superiority in the Rolling Stones compared to Wood to be idiotic and, ultimately, useless. They each brought their own talent to the dynamic of the band. Ron Wood, after being in the band for almost forty years, should be given SOME credit.

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  17. Profile photo of bim
    bim says
    February 2, 2012, 12:40 am

    gsparaco’s comments miss the point;
    I’m not comparing Taylor with the Rolling Stones, I’m comparing his contribution to Woods. Woods lack of ability resulted in a loss dynamism. I cannot recall other guitarists playing backup with the Stones between 1969-73, because Taylor’s playing ability enabled them to deliver live performances that the Stones have never subsequently surpassed. Just listen to his crunching Gibson in the film Gimme Shelter against the thin tinny repetetive playing of Wood.
    Vintage recordings with Taylor deserve better than downloads. Taylor is a superior player and contributed more to the Stones live than Ron Wood is capable of.

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    solly says
    February 1, 2012, 8:15 pm

    The Stones have now released the rarely heard 1981 PPV concert from Hampton Roads Virginia as their next download. For anyone wanting a nice Ron Wood era 1981 boot, The Ride like the Wind box from Rattlesnake is a great sounding set and has just one track from Hampton.

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    gsparaco says
    February 1, 2012, 6:52 pm

    yeah right. When Mick Taylor left the Stones, he went on to sell multiplatinum after multiplatinum album and a string of sold out tours and redefined the rock and roll artform as we know it.

    Meanwhile the Rolling Stones lapsed into relative obscurity with new guitarist Ron Wood, never producing any meaningful music again. They sometimes tour to play some of their old hits, but can only sell out smoked filled bars and only the diehards really know about it.

    Mick Taylor was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame on the first ballot and is regularly named top guitarist in polls, routinely beating out Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.

    Do I have the history right? Did I leave anything out?

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  20. Profile photo of classicrawker
    February 1, 2012, 6:43 pm

    Agree with you I wish the Stones would have released this on silver disc, and I grabbed a copy of this and can live with the minimal packaging, but to be honest it is more cost effective for them to offer this as a download so while I was dissapointed I am just happy they are finally opening the vaults for us fans. Hopefully we will eventually get a complete 69 and 72 tour show..

    That being said IMHO you are being a little hard on Woody as, he may not have been as talented as Mick Taylor but, he was more than adequate and he also played intruments, pedal steel for instance, Mick did not. He also was the perfect complement to Keef and was the band diplomat. I would welcome some official bootlegs from the 75/76, 78 and 81/82 tours with Woody

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    bim says
    February 1, 2012, 12:31 pm

    You could have added that collectors are once again at the mercy of poorly packaged boots if they want this in silver.
    Its difficult to understand the Rolling Stones’ thinking. The recording has obviously had attention paid to it by editing two performances and adjusting the sound. This suggests it might have been considered as an official release. Whilst we should be grateful for this download, why isn’t it being made available on an official silver?. Alternatively, if it is strictly download, why didn’t they release both Brussels performances complete. This would have been a more attractive proposition for the kind of people who will want this download.
    1969-73 contain the greatest, most defining performances by the Stones that deserve to be appropriately packaged and released to the public.
    Instead, the marketplace is crowded by a succession of lavishly packaged progressively bland CD/DVD and 4DVD box sets featuring Ron Wood whose lack of ability is plainly and painfully apparent. It would be better to make stuff like Love You Live downloadable rather than anything with Mick Taylor on it.

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