Rolling Stones – Front Row II (Golden Circle 55000)

Front Row II (Golden Circle 55000)

Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan – March 24th, 2006

Disc 1:  Opening, Start Me Up, It’s Only Rock N Roll, Oh No Not You Again, Bitch, Tumbling Dice, Worried About You, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, Midnight Rambler, Gimme Shelter, band introductions, This Place Is Empty, Happy

Disc 2:  Miss You (B-stage), Rough Justice (B-stage), You Got Me Rocking (B-stage), Honky Tonk Women (B-stage), Sympathy For The Devil, Jumping Jack Flash, Brown Sugar, You Can’t Always Get What You Want,  (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.  Bonus tracks, rehearsal at Tokyo Dome – March 22nd, 2006:  She’s So Cold, Wild Horses

Golden Circle 55000 is a specialty label releasing superb stereo DAT audience recordings of the Rolling Stones’ last tour of Japan.  The first release, Front Row (named for where the taper was sitting), documents the April 5th show in Nagoya.  Limited to only two hundred copies it sold out within a week and is one of the most scarce Rolling Stones titles to surface from the A Bigger Bang tour. 

Front Row II is obviously the second of a series that is supposed to cover all five nights from similar sounding tapes.  The sound quality of this release is extremely good.  It probably isn’t from the front row since there is some distance from the stage and there is the occasional audience interference.  It is good but is a notch below the audience source that surfaced on Complete Toyko Dome Two Days on New Tattoo recently.

That doesn’t mean this isn’t a great title because it certainly is.  It captures the warmth of the show perfectly and has tremendous presence.  This is the third time hearing the show and it confirms in my mind it is the better of the two Tokyo dates.  

I can’t decide if “Start Me Up” or “Jumping Jack Flash” is the better opener, but on this date it is definitely the former as it sets the mood perfectly.  The scarcely played “Bitch” is played after “Oh No Not You Again” (introduced very abruptly by Mick) and the show doesn’t calm down until “Worried About You”. 

“Gimme Shelter” has a mind (and ear) blowing solo by Lisa Fischer before the introductions and Keith’s set.  “You Got Me Rocking” is an interesting addition to the b-stage and the finale of the show has the expected classics.  The encores are also the usual “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Satisfaction” with the backing singers taking the lead in the latter.

Of particular interest on this release are the two bonus tracks from the Stones’ rehearsal on the afternoon of the first Tokyo Dome show on March 22nd.  It is an amateur source that sounds very good and clear albeit boomy as per the acoustics of the venue.  It is interesting to hear them play through “She’s So Cold” and “Wild Horses”.  

This has already been superseded by the Dog N Cat release A Bigger Bang In Saitama (DAC-50-11/12) which has a much longer version of the tape including  “She’s So Cold”, “Rain Fall Down”, “Wild Horses”, “As Tears Go By”, “Going To A Go Go”, and “Back Of My Hand”. 

The latter two tracks are most interesting since they weren’t played in Japan.  The packaging is very nice with several pictures from the actual gig and tasteful layout on the back. 

Front Row II just like the first is limited to only two hundred copies.  This might be worth finding if one is interested only in having an audience source of the second show.

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