Rolling Stones – The Stars In The Sky They Never Lie (Dog N Cat DAC-100)

The Stars In The Sky They Never Lie (Dog N Cat DAC-100)

Grugahalle, Essen, Germany – October 10th, 1973

Disc 1 (42:13):  Gimme Shelter, Happy, Tumbling Dice, Star Star *, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo *, Dancing With Mr. D., Angie, You Can’t Always Get What You Want (*Hamburg, West-Germany, Ernst-Merck-Halle 2 October, 2nd Show)

Disc 2 (72:35):  Brown Sugar, Gimme Shelter, Happy, Tumbling Dice, Star Star, Dancing With Mr. D., Angie, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Midnight Rambler, Honky Tonk Women, All Down The Line, Rip This Joint, Jumping Jack Flash, Street Fighting Man

The Stars In The Sky They Never Lie is one of the ultimate documents from The Rolling Stones’ 1973 tour of Europe.  It has been in constant circulation for almost thirty-seven years in one form or another on vinyl and compact disc.  The earliest incarnations of this appear on the bootleg LP The Stars In The Sky They Never Lie (Caution ASTS 197810) originally released in Germany in the mid-seventies.  This contains six songs, “Gimme Shelter,” “Happy,” “Tumbling Dice,” “Dancing With Mr. D,” “Angie” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” from the October 10th show in Essen and two tracks, “Star Star” and “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo” from the October 2nd, Hamburg second show. 

A couple of 1CD versions surfaced in the late eighties.  The Stars In The Sky They Never Lie (ASTS 197810) is a straight copy of the LP including surface noise.  The Stars In The Sky They Never Lie (PKO CD 9306) is a reissue of the same.  In 1997 The Stars In The Sky They Never Lie (Midnight Beat MBCD 141) came out with the eight songs from the LP plus “Brown Sugar” from the September 28th Munich show, five songs from the October 17 Brussels show (without “Tumbling Dice” but with “All Down The Line” twice), and “Street Fighting Man” from the September 30th Frankfurt show.

A more complete version of the Essen show can be found on the second disc of The Stars In The Sky They Never Lie (Caution Records ASTS 197810).  This release utilizes not the LP source but the alternate sounding fair to good recording.  It is more complete than the first tape but “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “All Down The Line” and “Rip This Joint” are cut and incomplete.

Dog N Cat is the first release of both sources for the Essen show.  The first disc comes from what sounds like a virgin copy of the original LP including the two songs from Hamburg.  CD releases use a needle drop transfer because the master tape used for the Caution LP release have never surfaced.  However, there is no evidence of surface noise. 

The sound quality of this tape is excellent.  It’s so good that it has been mistaken for a soundboard recording.  The only slight criticism is that it’s too biased to the upper end and sounds a bit tinny in parts.  It is a shame thought that only part of the show exists from this tape.  Otherwise it would be a true jewel of a recording from this tour.  All of the songs are from the first half of the show, ending with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”  Jagger’s comments about shining a light on the audience, which occur in the show after “Rip This Joint” are edited in afterwards. 

On disc two is the second tape source for Essen.  This is a fair to good but distant sounding recording.  It’s not nearly as enjoyable as the LP source, but is good enough to enjoy the show’s buzz.  And unlike the Caution Records CD release, DAC’s has a complete “All Down The Line” and “Rip This Joint.”  “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” has several seconds of the LP sourced edited in for the final note and Jagger’s “thank you” to the applause.

Essen is about a week before the ending of the tour and it’s very energetic.  They all seem to be in a good mood and deliver a tight, powerful performance with several surprises thrown in starting with perfect performances of “Brown Sugar” and “Gimme Shelter.”  Jagger introduces Keith Richards so he can sing “Happy,” played so early in the set. 

The new song are played together after “Tumbling Dice.”  After a particularly effective “Angie” Jagger introduces “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” as another sad song.  Mick Taylor usually took over this song with a tremendous solo, but in Essen he is upstaged by Trevor Lawrence on saxophone, who plays an especially melancholy melody in his short solo.  Even Billy Preston takes a short solo in the song, making this an extraordinary group effort. 

Preston continues to assert himself by participating in a duel with the guitarists in “Midnight Rambler.”  One of the virtues of this show is the powerful version of “Rip This Joint.”  This is one of the heaviest and nastiest versions caught on tape.  Afterwards Jagger thanks the beautiful audience and tells George the light guy to shine a light on them.  George isn’t paying attention and Jagger has to repeat this several times.  Preston again contributes substantially, this time in “Jumping Jack Flash” and “Street Fighting Man” closes the show.

Dog N Cat package this in a double slimline jewel case with thick glossy inserts and they duplicate the front cover of the old Caution LP on the front cover.  There are pictures of Mick on the back and insert too from the European 1973 tour.  There are many great shows from this tour and this is among them.  While the second source is listenable, it’s certainly not as good as the LP source nor as good as other shows.  Nevertheless the quality of the performance makes this worth having.   

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