Rolling Stones – Light Up The Town

Light Up The Town

Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego, CA – October 7th, 1981

DISC 1 [71:59] 1. Take The A Train   2. Under My Thumb   3. When The Whip Comes Down   4. Let’s Spend The Night Together   5. Shattered   6. Black Limousine   7. Neighbours   8. Just My Imagination   9. Twenty Flight Rock   10. Let Me Go   11. Time is On My Side   12. Beast Of Burden   13. Waiting On A Friend   14. Let It Bleed   15. You Can’t Always Get What You Want   16. Little T & A

The front of this no-label release mentions that this is the first night-time outdoor show of the ’81 tour. Regardless, this is the first complete original silver label issue of this concert on CD. This is a very good vibrant audience recording that, for the most part, exhibits some reduced gain throughout the first disc. We are treated to a a fine 4:10 minute rendition of “Under My Thumb”.

Charlie produces good energy on “Let’s Spend The Night Together”. The fidelity lends itself to a very listenable but bland sounding recording that did not afford this writer the ease with which to pick up on nuances of this performance for comparative purposes, generally speaking. Charlie’s chops stand out at roughly the 4 minute mark  on “Just My Imagination”. The gain inexplicably improves on “Little T & A” with a completely energized performance from Keith.

DISC 2 [55:33] 1. Tumbling Dice   2. She’s So Cold   3. Band Introduction   4. All Down The Line   5. Hang Fire   6. Star Star   7. Miss You   8. Start Me Up   9. Honky Tonk Women   10. Brown Sugar   11. Jumping Jack Flash   12. Street Fighting Man   13. The Star Spangled Banner

Amazingly, the fidelity holds its own through a great 4:12 minute version of “Tumbling Dice”. The bass was defined and proper gain was sustained with the crowd buzz heard below the band instead of above it, as before. With “She’s So Cold”, however, the recording seemed to revert back to the vibrant audience fueled source on disc one.

The only difference was that the gain improved a bit. Jagger couldn’t seem to remember the name of his saxophonist with “Band Introduction” but he did acknowledge: “On saxophone – Ernie Watts” after introducing Ronnie Wood. I found the rest of the performance to sound somewhat flat but the energy of the band was increased. We hear a stale guitar note or two on “Street Fighting Man” but I am always glad to hear this track included in the set list for the ’81 tour.

I am not sure, frankly, if it is fair to attribute my critique of this release to the very good sounding but somewhat flat audience source. It occurred to me at various points of listening to this concert that the Stones just might have produced a rare bland performance in their otherwise highly successful and incredibly juiced-up ’81 tour run.

It seemed that it was much easier, just the same, to get into the concert when listening to “Little T & A” and “Tumbling Dice”. So much for my theory. The crowd was energized throughout the show and actually, to me, sounded more excited than the Stones. I am always excited when a new Stones concert is unearthed and this release was no exception. If anything, it fills in the gap and contributes to the countless ’81 tour releases which have been produced to date to capture the spirit of this unique tour.

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