Rolling Stones – L.A. Connection (Exile EXCD-043A/B)

L.A. Connection (Exile EXCD-043A/B)

Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA – October 9, 1981
Disc 1: Introduction / Take The A-Train, Under My Thumb, When The Whip Comes Down, Let’s Spend The Night Together, Shattered, Neighbours, Black Limousine, Just My Imagination, Twenty Flight Rock, Let Me Go, Time Is On My Side, Beast Of Burden, Waiting On A Friend, Let It Bleed
Disc 2: You Can’t Always Get What You Want, the band introduction, Little T & A, Tumbling Dice, She’s So Cold, All Down The Line, Hang Fire, Star Star, Miss You, Start Me Up, Honky Tonk Women, Brown Sugar, Jumping Jack Flash, Street Fighting Man

Bonus dvdr :
JFK Stadium, Philadelphia – September 25th: Under My Thumb, When The Whip Comes Down, Neighbours, Just My Imagination, Shattered, Let’s Spend The Night Together, Black Limousine, She’s So Cold

Rich Stadium, Buffalo, NY – September 27th: Opening Sequence, Under My Thumb, When The Whip Comes Down, Let’s Spend The Night Together

Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX – November 1st: Take The A-Train, Under My Thumb, When The Whip Comes Down, Let’s Spend The Night Together

Madison Square Garden, NY – November 12th: Take The A-Train, Under My Thumb, When The Whip Comes Down, Let’s Spend The Night Together

Pontiac Silverdome, MI – November 30th: You Can’t Always Get What You Want pt.1, interview pt.1, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, interview pt.2, stage setup / backstage, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, interview pt.3, Waiting On A Friend, interview pt.4, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, interview pt. 5 / after the show

L.A. Connection utilizes the soundboard for the Stones’ first Los Angeles show on October 9th. This tape is the first of many soundboards released by the Dog N Cat label last year on Never Too Old To Rock And Roll (DAC-011). All of the soundboard tapes that have been released over the past year are very good to excellent documents and this one sounds very much like the Buffalo soundboard. It is very well balanced and powerful but sounds a bit dull like someone put a blanket over the speakers.

The mix is mostly very good but there are times when instruments drop out and are buried beneath the bass and there is a loud buzz in the PA that wavers in volume throughout the entire show. The tape is complete except for a thirty second gap in the beginning of “Let It Bleed” where the audience tape is used. The set list is typical of the tour with no rarities or surprises but despite these deficiencies this is a very good tape that captures a wild show in LA.

The band is plagued by faulty equipment and a rowdy audience. The guitars cut out twice during the second number “When The Whip Comes Down” (Los Angeles, it’s beautiful to be here even if we have no electricity. I have electricity in my brain” Jagger ad-libs during the track) “Can you keep the electricity on, Showco?’ he asked afterwards. The volume in the microphone becomes lower and Mick asks if he can be heard before “Shattered”.

He also gives the first of several exhortations for the front of the crowd to move back. “Los Angeles, city of the shoes. Please don’t throw bottles at me because they hurt when they hit me” he says before “Black Limousine”. (Does he really say shoes??) “Time Is On My Side” is introduced as some “sweetness” and seems to calm the crowd down a bit and is followed by several more relatively more mellow songs “Beast Of Burden”, “Waiting On A Friend”, “Let It Bleed” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”.

The versions of the latter track by this point in the tour were terrific with Ernie Watts’ saxophone solo replacing Ron Wood’s guitar solo from previous tours. He had just joined the band the previous show in San Diego and plays a great jazzy riff which is unfortunately buried too far in the mix to be enjoyed. The show picks up again with “Little T & A” and someone actually throws a gift to Mick on stage. “What’s this? Grass, pills, acid, my goodness everything in one package” before “Tumbling Dice”.

Afterwards Mick is ready for “Hang Fire” but the band launch into “She’s So Cold” instead, a moment of either pure spontaneity or miscommunication. Again Mick wants “Hang Fire” but gets “All Down The Line” instead. “Starfucker” contains amended lyrics with Jagger singing: “Jimmy Page, not quite her age / I never knew the reason why”. “ Miss You” is for some reason very sloppy on this tour and this show is no exception. “Start Me Up” was the big hit at this time and is played flawlessly. The band is able to finish the set with the classics without further incidents.

Fifty copies of this release are a “special edition” that has slightly different artwork (blue background instead of white) and the dvdr with various video clips from the tour. Exile is advertising this as having television clips but that applies only to the final fifteen minutes from the Pontiac Silverdome. The other clips are from audience members with camcorders taping the concerts. The first part, lasting about a half hour, is from the opening concert in Philadelphia.

The taper was way up in the bleachers but was able to capture some good shots of the stage. Since the show was in broad daylight there are no lighting problems. The sound on this segment is dubbed from the excellent soundboard that was released by Vinyl Gang on Rock And Roll Animals (VGP 374). The Buffalo tape is also an audience member’s video tape and is situated also in the nosebleed section of Rich Stadium but is able to capture some impressive footage of the band coming on stage and Jagger tripping and falling.

The Dallas tape is the best of the lot. It looks like a news crew did it professionally since it looks like they are in the photographer’s pit stage right. The prevalent footage is of Jagger’s left with the massive stadium as a background. It is startling footage along with the close-ups of Ronnie and Keith singing behind Mick. The Madison Square Garden is an audience videotape made from the floor several rows back from the stage. Since this is the only indoor venue the colors are very vibrant and clear and except for the bobbing heads in front is very good.

The most interesting part of the dvd is the segment from “Television: Inside & Out” which was a short lived hour long program hosted by Hollywood gossip columnist Rona Barrett and broadcast on December 5th, 1981. The fifteen-minute segment contains footage from the Pontiac gig plus interview segments with Mick. This news report was produced because of the up coming pay-per-view telecast which, Barrett says, will revolutionize the concert experience.

None of the musical excerpts are complete but they are professionally filmed. The interview with Jagger is interesting, answering questions about his motivations and life on the road. Barrett asks him “first impressions” of names like Ronald Reagan (should have had a stronger conclusion to this Thanksgiving speech), Bob Dylan (a religious nut but writes beautiful songs), and Margaret Thatcher (iron knickers).

They discuss the meaning of the latest single “Waiting On A Friend” and show both live footage and an excerpt from the video before closing with Jagger leaving the building. It is a fascinating time capsule. Since the soundboard recording of the L.A. show has been released before the special edition with this dvd is worth having. The song selection, especially with the middle three video fragments, is very repetitive. Exile could have improved the dvd with a more inclusive cross section of material, but what is here is very interesting to see.

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