One Before The Last (Exile EXCD-05/06)
Coliseum, Hampton Roads, VA – August 6th, 1975
Disc 1 (60:15): Opening, Honky Tonk Woman, All Down The Line, If You Can’t Rock Me / Get Off Of My Cloud, Star Star, Gimme Shelter, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, You Gotta Move, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Happy, Tumbling Dice, It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll
Disc 2 (55:53): Band Introductions, Fingerprint File, Wild Horses, That’s Life, Outa Space, Brown Sugar, Midnight Rambler, Rip This Joint, Street Fighting Man, Jumpin’ Jack Flash
One Before The Last contains the penultimate gig on the Stones’ 1975 Tour Of The Americas, two days before the massive Buffalo show on August 8th. Exile use a good audience recording of the entire gig. There is some distance in the recording, is very top heavy and has time when it suffers from distortion when the music becomes too loud.
While Exile didn’t attempt to fix the tape up and it thankfully lacks the metallic crunch present on some of their releases, there are bumps between the opening songs. They disappear early on but are a distraction when they do occur. There are several minor cuts between some tracks but no music is affected, so the complete show is present.
About thirty seconds of the “Fanfare For The Common Man” introduction is present before “Honky Tonk Women” crawls on stage. There are some nights when this song sets a dramatic mood while the audience get theirs first glimpse of the band (on the lotus shaped stage), in Hampton it seems to crawl across the stage. The band seems to sense this too because the second song “All Down The Line” is played fast and aggressive.
The aggressiveness continues into “If You Can’t Rock Me” and the turn into “Get Off Of My Cloud” provides a very dramatic moment in the earl part of the show. Ron Wood has his showcase in “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” which reaches eleven minutes. Jagger complains about the mic stand before bringing Keith up to sing “Happy.” The following song “Tumbling Dice” sounds devastating in this recording. The echo of the venue provides the weight obviously but it is an interesting effect on an otherwise joyful song.
After an alluring “Fingerprint File” Jagger says that it’s “really great to be here back in Virginia. How many came last time to Norfolk Scope?” referring to their last show in Virginia on July 5th, 1972. “Wild Horses” is then introduced as the “romantic” part of the show, and not the “sad song” part of the show which is how Jagger more commonly introduces the number.
Billy Preston’s two song set “That’s Life” and “Outta Space” follow and get the audience riled up as usual. The audience’s enthusiasm carries into the next song “Brown Sugar” which, at this point in the Stones’ live career, went from a mid-tempo heavy blues into a fast-paced crowd-pleasing rocker. Preston’s keyboards are all over the song as well diminishing the song’s original intention.
The thirteen minute “Midnight Rambler” is the final Stones excursion into the grave and serious. A very fast “Rip This Joint” segues into “Street Fighting Man.” Closing the show is a six and a half minute version of “Jumping Jack Flash.” The audience’s cheering comes close to obscuring the song. Between each verse there are long instrumental breaks where Keith and Woody duel it out on the guitars. It all speeds up until coming to a crashing halt.
Since One Before The Last is the only silver edition of the show it is definitive by default. It is recommended to Rolling Stones collectors since it is enjoyable on many levels.