Live In Helsinki 1970 (Dog N Cat DAC-095)
(66:30) Olympiastadion, Helsinki, Finland – September 2nd, 1970: Introduction, Jumping Jack Flash, Roll Over Beethoven, Sympathy For The Devil, Stray Cat Blues, Love In Vain, Prodigal Son, You Gotta Move, Dead Flowers, Midnight Rambler. Baltiska Hallen, Malmö, Sweden: Live With Me, Let It Rock, Little Queenie, Brown Sugar, Honky Tonk Women, Street Fighting Man
The Rolling Stones show in Finland was the second of the twenty-one date tour of Europe. This was their first European tour in three years and the presented a setlist very similar to the one used in 1969. The show at the Olympiastadion in Helsinki was a total mystery for almost forty years since no tape source ever circulated. Recently about two-thirds of the show surfaced in a fair to good recording. It is thin sounding and was probably taped very close to the stage and often suffers from distortion in louder parts and is surprisingly listenable and enjoyable.
Dog N Cat are the first silver label to come out with an edition of this new tape on the simply named Live In Helsinki 1970. Not having heard the torrent makes it difficult to compare, but since this was advertised as having poor sound it’s hard to think DAC is any worse than what was posted.
The tape picks up with the Sam Culter introduction before the Stones hit the stage with “Jumping Jack Flash” and what is immediately obvious is the band retains the energy level from the opening night. The opening songs fly by in a blur. “Sympathy For The Devil” is excellent with Taylor playing a bizarre abstract second solo by the end of the piece.
“We’d like to say it’s a gas to be in Finland and we’d like to do ‘Stray Cat Blues'” are Jagger’s first words to the audience. It’s on this song where their new brass section of Bobby Keys on saxophone and Jim Price on trombone first make their presence heard by adding to the harmony. The track still retains its swagger however and is very effective.
Afterwards Mick tells the audience: “We’re gonna slow it down a little for you, we’re gonna do some blues. We’re gonna do three blues songs. I hope you dig it.” When “Love In Vain” was played on the US tour the previous year it was unfamiliar until the release of Let It Bleed in December, 1969. The brass section again plays an important part but the guitars still carry the piece.
“We’re gonna do … we’re gonna sit down” Mick says before the two song acoustic set, “Prodigal Son” and the still unreleased “You Gotta Move.” It sounds as if Richards has given up on the metal National resonator and gone to wood body acoustic producing a more natural and organic timbre to the pieces. Another unreleased song “Dead Flowers” follows in a slow tempo and the Helsinki tape ends with a furious, nine minute “Midnight Rambler.”
DAC complete the disc with six songs taken from the previous evening in Malmö, Sweden, the opening night of the tour. The label picks up not with “Gimme Shelter,” which probably wasn’t played Helsinki anyway, “Live With Me.” The sound quality is definitely worse than Helsinki and is pulled straight from the Vinyl Gang release Made In Sweden (VGP-105-1/2/3), a three disc set with all three Swedish shows.
It is nice they include this material to offer a “complete” show, it really is unnecessary because the focus of interest is the Helsinki tape. Live In Helsinki 1970 is packaged in a standard jewel case with a plan looking front cover and pictures from the tour on the artwork. This is a good release by DAC who really bombed on their prior release, and is worth having for the those who love the 1970 tour.