Temperature Rising (SODD-059)
Kooyong Tennis Courts, Melbourne, Australia – February 17th, 1973 (early show)
Brown Sugar, Bitch, Rocks Off, Gimme Shelter, Happy, Tumbling Dice, Love In Vain, Sweet Virginia, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Honky Tonk Women, All Down The Line, Midnight Rambler, band introduction, Bye Bye Johnny, Jumping Jack Flash, Street Fighting Man
After the success of the North American tour, the Stones originally planned their first tour of Japan and the far east along with a visit to Australia in the early months of 1973. After the Nicaragua benefit in Los Angeles on January 18th, a five date tour of Japan was scheduled. Those shows, and a planned show in Hong Kong, were cancelled after Mick Jagger’s visa application was denied. They did commence with their tour of Australia and these shows are very well documented both with excellent quality soundboards and audience recordings.
The tape for the afternoon show at the Kooyong Tennis Courts in Melbourne first surfaced in the nineties with the release of Temperature Rising (Red Hot RH 002) and its clone 125 Degrees In The Shade (Montserrat Records BRCD 1915). It is a very clear recording, but both of these titles run too fast. These were followed by Melbourne All You Can Eat (Vinyl Gang VGP-149) and Sweet Victoria (Akashic Records AHA 22) which run closer to the correct speed.
Temperature Rising on SODD is the latest silver title to offer this tape. This runs at the correct pitch and is has excellent sound quality throughout the entire performance It is musically complete with a tape flip between “Sweet Virginia” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
They played nine shows in their first tour of Australia in seven years including three in Melbourne. The previous two tours came through St. Kilda to the south of the city, but this is their first concert actually in Melbourne.
The press were very enthusiastic with Jenny Brown writing, “The stage is skirted by a fall of buttercup yellow and white stripes, big orange beach umbrellas mushroom up angular where the sun-roof fails to shade. At 2:30 pm the grounds are gorged and the show begins. Only the Stones could pull twelve and a half thousand people thrice in three days – something like one in fifty of the total Melbourne population – and show every sign of being able to pull more.” Michael Gawanda in the February 19th issue of The Age observes, “He feels their excitement, feeds on it and ‘Midnight Rambler’ is a high point as he takes off his belt and holding it in his arms, sprawls on the stage. At first gentle, subtle, tender, suddenly he is pounding the belt against the floor, each crack of the leather on the wood sending shock waves through the crowd.”
The set list didn’t materially change from the previous tour with the same songs and sequences being used on these dates. The tape begins right on the opening notes of “Brown Sugar” and right away the band are dealing with the heat and humidity of Australia in the middle of the summer.
“Thank you very much, it sure is hot. It’s hot man. It’s hot down there and it’s hot up here” Mick Jagger says before “Bitch.” There is a short delay after “Rocks Off” since the humid weather caused the guitars to go out of tune and after a scorching version of “Gimme Shelter” Jagger says, “Well I suppose I should say something, ahhhhh all right. It’s nice to see you back in Melbourne and getting a nice dose of sun and don’t get sunstroke, I know that you’re used to it, that’s why we got this thing up here. It keeps us from falling over. I know it’s too hot to dance for you…”
It is interesting he says this since reviewers point out that people were indeed dancing in the aisles. “Sweet Virginia” is introduced as “an acoustic number” and the humidity damages the reed on Bobby Keyes’ saxophone producing an awful squeaking sound during the sax solo. Gawanda is correct in pointing out “Midnight Rambler” for particular praise. This version is only nine minutes long but is very dramatic and powerful.
The final two songs of the set are “Jumping Jack Flash” and a delirious version of “Street Fighting Man.” No encore was played at this show and one guesses that, as good as this show was, they were conserving their energy because of the heat and the scheduled second show of the day at the same venue.
Temperature Rising is packaged in a single jewel case with several black and white photos from the Nicaragua benefit the month before. This show was professionally recorded and filmed and “Bitch” appears in a documentary broadcast on Australian television. One hopes that would surface someday, but the audience recording is still a perfectly enjoyable document.