Rolling Stones – The Great Licks Live At MSG 2003 (Rocks Off RO-001/2)

The Great Licks Live At MSG 2003 (Rocks Off RO-001/2)

Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – January 18th, 2003

Disc 1 (69:48):  Street Fighting Man, Start Me Up, If You Can’t Rock Me, Don’t Stop, Monkey Man, Angie, Let It Bleed, Midnight Rambler, Tumbling Dice, introductions, Thru And Thru, Happy

Disc 2 (67:20):  Gimme Shelter, You Got Me Rocking, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, Honky Tonk Women (with Sheryl Crow), Satisfaction, It’s Only Rock’n Roll, When The Whip Comes Down, Brown Sugar, Sympathy For The Devil, Jumping Jack Flash

No Rolling Stones tour would be complete with various television broadcasts, and early on Licks tour they televised the second Madison Square Garden gig on HBO, one of the oldest cable stations and with one of the biggest home audiences.  Televised gigs frequently produce many different titles to choose from in excellent quality.  This broadcast was included in the Four Licks DVD release through Best Buy along with shows in London and Paris.

Unofficial audio releases can be found on New York’s Alright If You Like Saxophones (Glimmer Twins Records G.T.-024/25), Weekend Shuffle 2003 (229902/3), HBO Special (LICK-005 DCD), Ronnie Be Goode (VGP-328), discs three and four of Live on HBO (VGP-363) and We are Looking Younger than Ever (no label). 

The Great Licks Live At MSG 2003 is manufactured by the one-off Rocks Off label.  They utilized and excellent copy of the broadcast in stereo with no mastering to boost the effects.  It is an excellent, cheap and available way to own this show. 

The setlist was similar to the first MSG show on January 16th, but the Stones rise to the occasion and deliver a tight, hot and exciting show for the massive audience watching.  Like the previous New York show “Street Fighting Man” is the strange choice for a set opener followed by the more standard “Start Me Up.”  What is surprised in just how potent “If You Can’t Rock Me” sounds in this show.  It was resurrected after being ignored for almost thirty years and it burns the stage with incredible intensity.

Afterwards Jagger plays to the audience, saying:  “It’s great to see you here looking really beautiful, all dressed up.  You think you’re on TV or something?  I mean, I know we’re on TV tonight, we’re on HBO tonight right?  So we gotta look our best.  This isn’t the usual thing you see on HBO really.  Oh, maybe it is the kind of thing you see on HBO.  I mean, the Rolling Stones is like a family.  But it’s not quite The Sopranos.  And we’re not ‘Six Feet Under.’  But tonight is ‘Sex In The City’ right?” before playing “Don’t Stop.”

After “Monkey Man” and “Angie,” they perform another short Let It Bleed set.  They played the title track and “Midnight Rambler” but not “Love In Vain” or “Live With Me.”  After the introductions Richards sings his two song set.  Instead of “Slipping Away” and “Before They Make Me Run,” which he played the previous show, he chooses “Thru And Thru” (an appropriate choice for television, given all the expletives) and “Happy.”

After “You Got Me Rocking” Jagger said “I read in the papers today… this will probably be the last Stones show at Madison Square Garden….. I don’t think so.”  A raucous “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” follows in the set.  Sheryl Crow came up on stage to do “Honky Tonk Women” with them, arriving during the “I laid a divorcee in New York City…” part of the song and Mick was all over her.

Unusually, the show ends with the B-stage set.  This evening they play “When The Whip Comes Down,” which was played on the B-stage the previous New York show and is the only song from Some Girls finding itself in the setlist.  Since that LP is as much about New York City as it is the Stones, it would have been natural for them include “Miss You,” “Neighbours” and especially “Shattered.”

“Brown Sugar” is the set closer for this show and the first encore is a six minute version of “Sympathy  For The Devil,” followed by “Jumping Jack Flash.”  The artwork on this release is a bit pedestrian and dull, but the sound quality is very good for such an affordable set.      

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