The Golden Era 1969-1974 Vol. 1 (SODD-092/093)
Stadthalle, Vienna, Austria – September 1st, 1973
Disc 1 (40:40): Brown Sugar, Bitch, Gimme Shelter, Happy, Tumbling Dice, 100 Years Ago, Star Star, Angie, Sweet Virginia
Disc 2 (45:50): You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Dancing With Mr. D, Midnight Rambler, Silver Train, Honky Tonk Women, All Down The Line, Rip This Joint, Jumping Jack Flash, Street Fighting Man
The Golden Era 1969-1974 Vol. 1 is the strange name for SODD’s latest pressing of The Rolling Stones’ opening night on the 1973 tour of Europe. They use the very good sounding and complete tape that has been issued before on first on 100 Years Ago (VGP 09 0501W 1/2) and remastered on Goodnight Vienna (VGP 009).
Scream All Night In Vienna (Exile Records EXCD-014/15) followed and with the heavy handed remastering by the label producing the loud and annoying metallic sound ranks among the worst efforts by the label. Finally last year Godfather released Complete ‘73 Affair (Godfather Records GR334/335) in late 2008 to much discussion on this website.
SODD by contrast sounds closer the the Vinyl Gang than the other recent efforts. Although there are signs of remastering it is never distracting and sounds really nice.
The show is interesting not only for the excellent performance during one of their many peaks but the inclusion of two rarities, “100 Years Ago” and “Silver Train.” Both numbers would be dropped later never to return to the set.
Rocker’s observations about the show written for the Godfather release apply when he states: “The Stones open up their first 1973 European Tour Date in Vienna with “Brown Sugar”. The recording source sounds compressed with the treble accentuated amidst intermittent pulsating bass lines which initially borders on harshness contributing to producing listening fatigue and painful with the volume turned up.
The source improves, however, with “Bitch” which offers deep defined bass lines although the treble is still annoying. I was able to focus more on the performance as the source wasn’t as distracting with “Bitch” offering an excellent and invigorated track. The horns, unfortunately, sounded bright.
“Taylor offered nice guitar work that absolutely captivates the listener along with a robust + driven finish that earned a rousing crowd applause. After Jagger introduced Keith to sing “Happy”, Keith started tuning his guitar with a few chords that mirrored “You Gotta Move”. “Happy” was delivered initially in a great frenzied manner with Keith’s vocals buried in the mix lending to more emphasis on the band’s strong instrumentation. With a blues inspired “Tumbling Dice.”
I found that I was able to separate the strength of the performance from the treble lead source. The Stones sounded good with a solid and restrained interpretive lead into Taylor’s sizzling guitar flight with “100 Years Ago” where the Stones literally exploded and tore into a collective extended jam capping off this 4:39 piece of ecstasy. “Star Star” offered a welcome and intermittent and more pronounced throbbing bass. Charlie was dead on with his ever steady beat. The source appears to change at 3:04 in the track with much deeper bass and reduced treble contributing to this tremendous rendition.
“The first notes of “Angie” sounded sweet with Jagger slightly off key for a few seconds. Charlie joined in with melodic and infectious piano accompaniment. The Stones sounded right in their element. The organ bridge was piercing in a good way. Jagger’s voice was an instrument unto its own with Taylor contributing his masterful fluid guitar lines. The Stones were just dead on here recognized by strong crowd applause. Jagger sounded gruff on “Sweet Virginia”.
Bobby Keys took over at the bridge inspiring Jagger who let out a few cat calls. The crowd let out an enthusiastic roar after hearing the first few notes of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. The Stones played a strong intro to this track with the crowd clearly getting into it as Jagger was feeding off the crowd. The rhythm section was strong enhanced by Taylor’s magical blended notes.
The vocal harmonies distorted a bit but Taylor amps up the ante wailing away furiously on his guitar as the Stones achieve and sustain cruise control. The organ and lead guitar(s) were feeding + bouncing off of each other naturally.
“Jagger stated: “We’re gonna do another new song for you now” leading into “Dancing With Mr. D” played a bit up tempo with Taylor comfortably firing away. An aggressive intro for “Midnight Rambler” bode well for the direction the track would take. The organ and guitar(s) traded leads with the harmonica joining in as Charlie was firing on all cylinders until they all decompressed to a slow crawl.
Blues fueled licks followed along with Jagger’s repeated cat calls as they proceeded to grind and grind out their measured notes with Richards shining through until they cranked it back up to a frantic pace to close out this 9:43 minute track to sustained and enthusiastic applause. With “Silver Train”, deep bass notes lead this gem accompanied by rich organ leads and blazing guitars.
Richards can be heard harmonizing softly in the background. The audience easily got into the long intro of “Honky Tonk Women” with Richards once again lending effective vocal harmony in the background. The Stones sounded like a well oiled machine jamming furiously on “All Down The Line”. The fidelity, unfortunately, did not allow for much instrument separation although Taylor is heard making his mark throughout with Bobby Keys letting it all out.
The Stones, coincidentally, were letting it all out up to this point as they tore into “Rip This Joint” literally ripping this joint as they took off here in reckless abandon. After an aggressive “Jumping Jack Flash”, the Stones concert culminates with “Street Fighting Man” as they are on high octane finishing off as only they could way back then.”