Rolling Stones – Sweet Charlotte (Exile-2008EXA001)

Sweet Charlotte (Exile-2008EXA001)

Coliseum, Charlotte, NC – July 6, 1972

Bitch (cut in), Rocks Off, Gimme Shelter, Happy, Tumbling Dice, Love In Vain, Sweet Virginia, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, All Down The Line, Midnight Rambler (cut in), band introduction, Bye Bye Johnny, Rip This Joint, Jumping Jack Flash, Street Fighting Man

The Rolling Stones’ concert in Charlotte occurs right in the middle of their triumphant return to the touring circut in the summer of 1972.  This tape has been in constant circulation on vinyl and CD for more than thirty years and remains one of the best recorded documents of the era.  The SODD label released this tape last year on Going Back To 1972 in an excellent sounding edition.  The Exile label, after being inactive for close to two years comes back with their edition of this popular show on Sweet Charlotte  The volume was turned down a bit, but otherwise this is identical to the SODD.  There is a slight manufacturing fault with “Bye Bye Johnny” and “Rip This Joint” being tracked together instead of seperately as indicated on the artwork.  However Exile avoid the excessive mastering and annoying metallic sound that is found on some of their earlier titles.

This was the Stones’ first ever concert in Charlotte and was a sell out.  There was considerable violence with thirty-one arrests throughout the show according to the press reports.  It is a shame “Brown Sugar,” half of “Bitch” and the beginning of “Midnight Rambler” are absent from the recording.  The tape picks up halfway through the second song in the set “Bitch.” There is a bit of tape flutter, which soon clears up, and he thankfully captures a blistering Mick Taylor guitar solo at the song’s end. After a quick intro the band rip into “Rocks Off” and with Mick singing “headed for an overloooaaad” it is apparent this will be a special night. The out-of-tune horns do not even sound so offensive.

Jagger whispers the introduction to “Gimme Shelter” and they deliver another classic version of one of their greatest live pieces. “Love In Vain” is introduced as a “blues” and deliver one of the more majestic versions of the piece and following Jagger says, “We’re gonna do an acoustic song for you now. I mean a song played on acoustic instruments. This is one we wrote especially for you.” “Sweet Virgina” is the lone holdover from the previous tour’s two song acoustic set (“Prodigal Son” and “You Gotta Move”) and is nice break.

As was apparent at the Zeppelin concert the previous month the Charlotte crowd had little patience for the acoustic numbers and want simply to rock.  He continues the mysterious dedications following the song by saying mysteriously “keep cuddling. Cuddle your young loved ones.”  “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” starts mellow but builds in intensity. Thankfully nine and a half minutes of “Midnight Rambler” are still present on the tape and Charlotte is a particularly violent version before a stunned audience.  Things thankfully lighten up a bit during the band introduction and the fast numbers “Bye Bye Johnny” and “Rip This Joint.” The final song of the evening is “Street Fighting Man” with no encore.  This is a great show to have and is worth having.

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