Live At The Tokyo Dome First Night (Silver Discs SD-003A/B)
Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan – March 15th, 2003
Disc 1 (70:31): Introduction, Brown Sugar, Start Me Up, You Got Me Rocking, Don’t Stop, Rocks Off, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Bitch, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, Tumbling Dice, band introduction, Slipping Away, Before They Make Me Run
Disc 2 (66:28): Sympathy For The Devil, It’s Only Rock And Roll (b-stage), Little Red Rooster (b-stage), Midnight Rambler (b-stage), Gimme Shelter, Honky Tonk Women, Street Fighting Man, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Although The Rolling Stones’ Licks tour was planned to mix up stadium, arena, theater and club dates, in Japan they didn’t follow that pattern. Instead they played in the big arenas. The first Tokyo show was at the Budokan on March 10th and captured in a beautiful audience recording. The other two Tokyo shows were in the much bigger Tokyo Dome, a venue holding 50,000.
Live At The Tokyo Dome First Night is a very clear and energetic recording of the entire show. Dean Goodman, who provided the review on the IORR site and which is reproduced on the liner notes, states that the sound was excellent close to the stage but opinies that the sound must be bad higher up and “I’m sure the bootlegs that will inevitably be on sale in Tokyo stores on Sunday will reflect this.”
The recording was made down close to the stage. It has great detail and balance in the music and is highly enjoyable with none of the concerns expressed in the review. The chatty audience members can be heard speaking between songs but are never too much of a distraction. It’s also interesting to hear the amount of American accepts around the recorder.
Among Goodman’s other observations are that this show is “Big, boisterous and almost half-an-hour longer than the Yokohama set. The Rolling Stones kicked off their two-night stand at the Tokyo Dome on Saturday by dusting off their stadium set for the first time since, I believe, Houston…. The pace just would not let up, and they left the best song till last – a rockin’ version of ‘Satisfaction’ that was almost 10 minutes long….Overall, a much better night than Yokohama, indicating just how maddeningly inconsistent the band can be. If the usual rule applies and the second show at a venue goes even better, then we’re in for a magnificent night.”
“Brown Sugar” sounds out of balance at the very beginning but things tighten up real quick. The first half hour is a summary of their great “starting” or “introductory” numbers, all touching upon a similar theme of commencment such as “Start Me Up,” “You Got Me Rocking” and “Rocks Off.”
The set is comprised of mostly common songs. “Bitch,” at twenty-five times and “Little Red Rooster” with seventeen are the rarest songs played in this set. “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin'” sounds tremendous in this recording however, and by this point in the tour includes Jagger adding his harmonica to the fun and frenzy at the end.
Jagger takes almost five minutes to introduce everyone on stage and when Richards introduces “Slipping Away” someone in the front row says something to him. “I’ll write a letter to my mother and tell her that” is his response.
On the b-stage they start with “It’s Only Rock And Roll.” They follow with a sleazy version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Little Red Rooster” and end with a ramshackle, sloppy version of “Midnight Rambler” which Goodman calls “a trainwreck, though I imagine it was probably mindblowing to people a little farther back.”
A scorching version of “Gimme Shelter” has Jagger acknowledging the talent and efforts of Lisa Fischer afterwards. The show ends with a long version of “Jumping Jack Flash” and ten minutes of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” as the encore with a fireworks display at the end. The only other two releases that have this are discs five and six in the fourteen disc boxset Licks Japan Tour 2003 Complete Box (Out of Control Records OOC 005/006) and on discs five and six of the twelve disc boxset Front Row (VGP-330). The Silver Discs label is an ad hoc label set up to press and release the Japan shows on the Licks tour. This is an excellent, inexpensive way to get this show on silver discs.