Gimme Shelter (Godfather GR378/379)
Altamont Speedway, San Francisco, Altamont, December 6. 1969
CD 1 [41:56]: 1 Jumping Jack Flash 2 Carol 3 Sympathy For The Devil I 4 Sympathy For The Devil II 5 The Sun Is Shining 6 Stray Cat Blues 7 Love In Vain 8 Under My Thumb I 9 Under My Thumb II
CD 2 [41:26]: 1 Brown Sugar 2 Midnight Rambler 3 Live With Me 4 Gimme Shelter 5 Little Queenie 6 (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction 7 Honky Tonk Women 8 Street Fighting Man
Feast your eyes on the astounding, meticulous and brilliant packaging of G.R. 378/379…
“Jumping Jack Flash” takes us right into the hub of the audience as Jagger postulates: “There’s so many of you, just be cool out there in the front end – don’t push around…” The Stones blast into a classic “Carol” with Charlie heard pushing the pulsating beat intermittently. “Sympathy For The Devil I” offers a great intro and, of course, ends at 1:44. How many times have the Stones started and restarted tracks in one concert…A fan is heard saying: “Get me outta here” and another fan replies: There’s nowhere to go”. A blistering 7:33 minute “Sympathy For The Devil II” follows. which, In my opinion, is one of the greatest live versions of this track. The Stones sounded like a carefully manicured R & B band. “Love In Vain” is rich with bluesy crafted textures. 44 precious seconds of “Under My Thumb I” are followed by my all time favorite “Under My Thumb II”. The eerie transformation of “Under My Thumb II” as compared with its predecessor is indicative of what transpired and how, I believe, it directly impacted the Stones.
“Brown Sugar”, according to Jagger, was played for the very first time and it is one of the best renditions of this track. The 8 minute “Midnight Rambler’ is a slow and deliberate burn with the spacing working so effectively. The stage banter between just about every track adds so much to this show and takes us through a virtual “play by play” through Jagger’s eyes. It’s too bad that some of the fans couldn’t restrain themselves throughout certain moments of the show. “Gimme Shelter” is vintage and classic Stones on the mark and never quite eclipsed again. Some of the fans just couldn’t contain or restrain themselves given their close proximity to the stage and experiencing the wonder of the Stones in full force. “Little Queenie” is sizzling. The Stones exhibited effortless performances that came naturally to them tonight. “Satisfaction” is riveting and Jagger comments afterwards: “Well, there have been a few hang-ups but generally you’ve been beautiful, you’ve been beautiful”. Little did he know…
Godfatherecords used the same source as “Altamont 1969” The Killer festival [VGP-113] which, in my opinion, was previously the best original silver label issue released to date of this concert. The most recent version of this concert was titled “Altamont Speedway Free Festival” on the TARKL label [TCD-001 1/2] which, according to gsparaco’s CMR review of 2-18-08, “isn’t an upgrade over the Vinyl Gang version of the show that came out more than a decade ago, but this is another opportunity to find this tape”.
G.R. 378/379, however, has reduced some of the tape skips and drop outs in the above Vinyl Gang Product source without sacrificing any of the music in the process. The gain is comparable to VGP-113. Some of the isolated screams have been turned down and the levels of some of the passages have been raised slightly when the taper seemed to be covering his tape machine. My feeling is that G.R. 378/379 has cleaned up and tweaked the existing source admirably.
Kudos to Godfatherecords for releasing, without question, the absolute definitive version of “Gimme Shelter” ever. Their legendary trifold packaging is one piece of gorgeous art form capturing the spirit of this performance and includes an informative insert highlighting detailed background information, with another colorful insert depicting exquisite and colorful graphics and period newspaper clippings. And to top it off, believe it or not, they have included yet a 3rd insert which is a pristine 2-sided poster.
Feast your eyes once again on the astounding, meticulous and brilliant packaging of G.R. 378/379…If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)