Rolling Stones – Pave Boulder ’81 (no label)

Pave Boulder ’81 (no label)

Folsom Field (University Of Colorado), Boulder, CO – October 3rd, 1981 

DISC 1 [63:44]

1. Radio Report  2. Under My Thumb  3. When The Whip Comes Down  4. Let’s Spend The Night Together  5. Shattered  6. Neighbours  7.  Black Limousine  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. Tops

The 10-3-81 show is the first of two back to back Colorado concerts. The above no-label show, however, has not to the best of my knowledge ever surfaced on CD on original silver label issue in its complete format, until now. One website lists the ‘Welcome To Boulder’ Empress Valley release for the same 10-3-81 date and that is incorrect. EVSD 383-384 encompasses the subsequent 10-4-81 concert in its entirety and states so on the back insert of that excellent title.

Following a brief “Radio Report”, The Rolling Stones blast into “Under My Thumb” to a howling and cheering audience that never lets up. The track here reminds me of T. Rex’s “Bang a Gong” (Get It On). The Stones steamroll very effectively through a solid “When The Whip Comes Down” with Jagger quickly addressing the wild crowd: “Thank you everyone from Boulder”. The fidelity wavers intermittently on “Let’s Spend The Night Together” with this bright and, at times, flat sounding source leveling off to a very good audience feed. One thing became rather apparent to me while taking in “Black Limousine” and from my collective listening effort of this concert up to this point. I miss Bill Wyman on bass as he sounds real good so far. This infamous rhythm section keeps chugging along on “Just My Imagination”. The beat doesn’t have any quit in it. Jagger asks the audience after “Let Me Go”: “Let me ask you something. How many of you were here in 1978” leading right into “Time Is On My Side”. Keith’s harmonies add so much to this track. Listen to the guitar take off at about the 1:40 minute mark. The Stones have the beat down once again as they really nailed this track with Jagger stating: “You look so beautiful out there. I want to take you home”. The Stones, or better yet Jagger, took 45 seconds to “perfect” the intro to “Beast Of Burden” and replicate, more or less, the swagger of this 6 minute track. Jagger sang “I’m not waiting on a sweetheart” twice throughout “Waiting On A Friend” and then stated: “Yeah, we all need someone we can lean on” as they break into “Let It Bleed”.

Now people, lock up your children and crank up the next track, “Tops”. Listen to Jagger count in 2 – – 3 – – on this one. It sounds, well, I would at this point recommend picking up this release just for this track alone and to hear “Tops” in the context of this complete show. 3:44 minutes of pure genius to close out the first disc. VGP-291 includes “Tops” as a bonus track for their 10-4-81 (2 CD) set for what it is worth. “Tops” was rarely ever played live.

DISC 2 [60:18]

1. You Can’t Always Get What You Want  2. Tumbling Dice  3. Little T & A  4. She’s So Cold  5. All Down The Line  6. Hang Fire  7. Star Star  8. Miss You  9. Start Me Up  10. Honky Tonk Women  11. Brown Sugar  12. Band Introduction  13. Jumping Jack Flash  14. Satisfaction

Jagger is right on key for “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. The fidelity here improves as well, especially the bass. The crowd is really into this track as they keep howling throughout most of it. All the Stones carry their weight and then some on this 7:10 minute version. Charlie is so sharp on the 4:07 minute “Tumbling Dice”. This version is unusually upbeat and definitely another one of the highlights of this concert. A little bit of additional lead guitar at the end of “Little T & A” hits the spot. The fidelity improves once again on “Hang Fire”. The energy that the Stones produce and maintain is incredible. It’s really something to hear the cat calls from the audience at the end of this number. One cannot help but notice the immediacy and freshness of “Start Me Up”. The spacing is perfect. We get a 48 second build-up to “Honky Tonk Women” as the track finally kicks off, the way it should. Mick’s mike was either off or buried way down in the mix for the first 1:25 minutes of “Brown Sugar”. This is different. But it worked. “Band Introductions” was hardly a lengthy affair as the Stones were only supported, thankfully, by Ian McLagan on keyboards and vocal, Ian Stewart on piano and Lee Allen on saxophone. “Jumping Jack Flash” was guitar driven and mean and ferocious sounding with a 6:16 minute “Satisfaction” closing out the set.

This was a great concert to listen to for any number of reasons. The musicianship was steady and solid throughout. The audience was exuberant and vibrant from start to finish. The Stones sounded fresh and invigorated on many of these tracks. The song sequencing worked very well. I chose to simply listen to the concert in one listen without knowledge of the track list ahead of time. I just wanted to take it in and hopefully be surprised. This is a very good audience feed with the sound quality improving on several tracks and sounding flat on others. Charlie’s cymbals are always heard, a bit bright as they may be. The gain is quite decent and I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable listen and highly recommend it, if simply, for “Tops”…

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