The Original Hold On Tight (no label)
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – June 27, 1975
Disc 1: Fanfare For The Common Man, Honky Tonk Women, All Down The Line, If You Can’t Rock Me – Get Off Of My Cloud, Star Star, Gimme Shelter, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, You Gotta Move, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Happy, Tumbling Dice, It’s Only Rock’n Roll, Band Introductions, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo
Disc 2: Fingerprint File, Cherry Oh Baby, Angie, Wild Horses, That’s Life, Outa Space, Brown Sugar, Midnight Rambler, Rip This Joint, Street Fighting Man, Jumping Jack Flash, Sympathy For The Devil (encore : Guest Carlos Santana)
The Rolling Stones’ final show in New York on the Tour Of The Americas ’75 has seen multiple releases. Preserve For Future (Northern Records 1501) has the first half of show and Discover New York (Northern Records 1502 A/B) last half. Vinyl Gang reissued these two on Welcome Back To New York Part 1 Preserve The Future (VGP 013), Welcome Back To New York Part 2 Discover New York (VGP 014), Welcome Back To New York (Golden Stars LACD 1036) is excellent quality but has only nine songs. This title was re-released on Welcome Back To New York 1975 (Live Storm 51036). “Sympathy For The Devil” found on I Never Talked To Chuck Berry (part 2), and five songs, “Cherry Oh Baby,” “Fingerprint File,” “Wild Horses,” “That’s Life,” and “Outa Space” on Rock N Roll Goes On The Road Again (Hot Lips Records) with the June 28th Detroit show. Finally Hold On Tight (VGP 255) contains the complete show.
The Original Hold On Tight contains the first tape source that has only been available on vinyl. It is almost complete with very clear, excellent sound quality. It sounds as if it were taped very close to the stage and captures all of the dynamics of the performance. The Billy Preston songs “That’s Life” and “Outa Space,” “Brown Sugar,” “Midnight Rambler” from 4:30 to 4:37, and “Jumping Jack Flash” come from the second tape source available on the other compact disc releases. There are some minor cuts in the tape after “You Gotta Move,” “Cherry, Oh Baby,” at 12:46 in “Midnight Rambler,” before “Street Fighting Man” and before the encore “Sympathy For The Devil.” The label did little in the way of mastering and this is probably simply a copy of the tape posted online last month but on two discs instead of three. Regardless it is great to have this tape on a silver disc in such great sound quality.
June 27th was the final night of the six night run of shows at the Garden in the middle of the Tour Of The Americas. Wanting to impress the New York crowd, the band invested these shows with tremendous amount of energy and each of the nights included the special encore of “Sympathy For The Devil.” The strain from the week shows with Jagger’s raspy vocals and subdued theatrics. The tape cuts in right at the beginning of the “Fanfare For The Common Man” introduction leading into “Honky Tonk Women.” Of course the audience cheers loudly at the mention of New York City. “This one’s good. If you can’t rock me…” Jagger says before “If You Can’t Rock Me/ Get Off Of My Cloud” and again the transition from the new song to the older one is flawless and a point of tremendous excitement. Jagger introduces “Star Star” by saying, “Welcome to the Garden and to New York. We’re gonna do this song about a girl from New York.”
The audience become very rowdy during “It’s Only Rock And Roll” with several firecrackers exploding by the stage. Before introducing the band a nervous sounding Jagger says, “Watch out with the cherry bombs, lads. We had two girl’s asses get burned off with cherry bombs last night so don’t throw cherry bombs at girls asses, okay?” Keith interjects by saying, “If you got to fuck them, fuck them.” After excellent versions of “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo” and “Fingerprint File” the band become adventurous and introduce a new song that hadn’t been recorded yet. “Does anybody like reggae music? I mean do you really like it? Because if you do we’ll do some. If you don’t like it we won’t do it. Keith wrote this song that we do which we’d like to do, we’ll do it for you if you want. It’s got a laid down and laid back feeling and it’s really nice if we get it together. We don’t know how to end it, so forgive the ending part. You can end it yourself.” This is only the second and final performance of the Black And Blue track on this tour.
The new song is followed by the “sad song” set and is followed by Billy Preston bringing down the house. The intensity builds with one of the more diabolical versions of “Midnight Rambler” on record. At about nine minutes into the track Jagger lets out a blood curdling scream which bounces off the walls of the Garden. He didn’t usually use machines to help him perform vocal tricks (like Freddie Mercury and Robert Plant did in the seventies) so it could be a genuine effect. Regardless, in this excellent sounding recording it has a powerful effect on the audience. There is a giant explosion at the beginning of “Rip This Joint” which seems to distract the singer since he misses his opening cue. Finally Carlos Santana joins the Stones and the Steel Association for a raucous version of “Sympathy For The Devil.”
This version is much tighter than the first night in New York with Eric Clapton and instead of offering a duplicate of the studio solo Santana plays riffs that blend nicely with the steel drums. The Original Hold On Tight comes is limited to two hundred copies. The inserts are printed on thin paper with an interesting shot of the lotus petal shaped stage on front, in the dark with lights highlighting the shape. On the insert there are six more photographs of the stage in the Garden with the petals folded up, hiding the band. These are great panoramic shots of the famous stage set up and including them on the artwork is a nice touch, giving an idea of the enormity of the event. The bottom line is this is an amazing sounding audience recording and is one of the best from this tour making this an essential title to own.