Can’t Forget The Motor City (Vintage Masters Premium Series VM-005A/B)
Masonic Temple Theater, Detroit, MI – July 6th, 1978
Disc 1: Introduction, Let It Rock, All Down The Line, Honky Tonk Women, Star Star, When The Whip Comes Down, Lies, Miss You, Beast Of Burden, Just My Imagination, Shattered
Disc 2: Love In Vain, Tumbling Dice, Happy, Sweet Little Sixteen, Brown Sugar, Jumping Jack Flash. Bonus tracks, Capitol Theater, Passaic, NJ – June 14th, 1978: Respectable, Far Away Eyes, Street Fighting Man Will Rogers Auditorium, Fort Worth, TX – July 18th, 1978: Introduction, Let It Rock, Miss You, Just My Imagination, Respectable, Far Away Eyes, Tumbling Dice Mid-South Auditorium, Memphis, TN – June 28th, 1978: Hound Dog
So far, after Wolfgang’s Vault posted a more complete tape of the Stones’ July 6th Detroit show, three unique silver releases have surfaced and each has a unique way to handle the eighty minute tape. Rolling Stones ’78 is a no label release and is a single disc. It contains the sixteen songs on the original tape as posted on the site.
The last three songs, “Sweet Little Sixteen”, “Brown Sugar” and “Jumping Jack Flash” come from July 19th Houston soundboard which isn’t noted on the website, but the no label release do point out. The second title to be released was Keeping It Simple by the Empress Valley people under the White Widow label with the complete tape spread over two discs. It contains no filler of any kind and presents the excellent sounding tape as it is.
Finally Vintage Masters Premium issued Can’t Forget The Motor City on a nice silver release. This too contains the complete tape but the label includes bonus material from the old Handsome Girls box set to fill out the second disc. (A fourth release on DVDR-Audio called Masonic Hall Detroit 07/06/78 was released last week on the Ameriquest label.)
This is an excellent and well-balanced professional recording on par with the quality of other recordings from the DIR and Wolfgang’s Vault. Can’t Forget The Motor City, compared to Keeping It Simple, sound a bit more compressed but has more clarity and punch in the lower end. Determining which one might be better is dependent only upon one’s preference.
Six of these songs have been in circulation since the release of Handsome Girls many years ago, but this is the first time almost all of the show has been available. The review from the website states: “This show, recorded during the ’78 tour, is a reminder of how it should be. The Stones’ strength is making a 4,000-seat theatre feel like a sweaty, smoky, beer-soaked juke joint, and they achieve it here. At times it’s loose and ugly, but that just makes it so much sweeter when they get it together. The more “modern” likes of “Miss You” and “Shattered” stand up against classic material such as “Tumbling Dice.” If Mick sounds a little out of breath, just picture him shimmying back and forth across a 100-foot stage and ask yourself if you could do the same and stay in key. This ain’t the opera – this is rock ‘n’ roll at its raw and bloody essence!”
While it isn’t the best show from this tour, and definitely not as good as Fort Worth, it is important to place this show in its proper context. This is the show following the July 4th Independence Day show in Buffalo which is on the whole very lackluster, uninspired and one of the low points of the summer tour. This show shows the band with much more enthusiasm.
It sounds like the audience were volatile enough for Jagger to scold security before “When The Whip Comes Down” by saying, “I just have a few words to say to security. I know you’ve got a job to do. I know you have to keep the aisle clear. But one thing that is never going to work if you keep telling people who are standing up to sit down.”
It’s puzzling why all but two songs, “Respectable” and “Far Away Eyes”, were posted on the vault. It’s unreasonable to think they were not recorded at all since they fall in the middle of the show. It may be a tactic on the part of the site that, knowing this tape would be booted, to preserve something for when, or if, they release this show officially.
The bonus tracks on disc two contain nothing that hasn’t been released many times before. In the first three tracks they present the two missing songs “Respectable” and “Far Away Eyes” from the Passaic, New Jersey soundboard. This recording is very deep and heavy but clear.
The third Passaic track, “Street Fighting Man”, is an edit of the soundboard with a good audience recording. This song was only performed three times on this tour and is a rarity from the Some Girls era. Following those three are six songs from the Fort Worth soundboard. There is no logical reason for these particular six songs to be presented but they are all great performances from the hot show.
The label use a high generation copy of the tape and the sound quality is far below No Flash No Gimmicks on Halcyon and Handsome Girls: Definitive Version on Devil Productions. The final track is “Hound Dog” in excellent quality from the Memphis show. Most Stones collectors will already have this material in much better sound quality.
But this release is almost a miniature two-disc summary of the famous box set. Can’t Forget The Motor Cityis a solid silver release among countless cdr titles being produced by this label and is worth having.