The Rolling Stones, “All Meat Music” Winter Tour 1973 (No label)
Intro / Brown Sugar / Bitch / Rocks Off / Gimme Shelter / Route 66 / It’s All Over Now / Happy / Tumbling Dice / No Expectations / Sweet Virginia / You Can’t Always Get What You Want / Dead Flowers / Stray Cat Blues / Live With Me / All Down The Line / Rip This Joint / Jumping Jack Flash / Street Fighting Man (79:54)
Concert for the Nicaraguan earthquake victims. Live at The Forum, Inglewood, California. 18th January, 1973
The ‘All Meat Music’ bootleg has appeared only a handful of times over the years on releases such as the vinyl releases, ‘Winter Tour ’73’ (TMQ 73006), ‘All Meat Music – Winter Tour ’73’ (TMOQ 2002) and then on CD as ‘Winter Tour ’73 (TMQ 73006), ‘All Meat Music’ (VGP 283), ‘All Meat Music’ (For Fans Only 007) and ‘Complete ’73 Affair’ (Godfather Records GR 334 / 335). The No Label clan have reproduced the CD exactly how you remember it, down to the rather majestic William Stout artwork – featuring almost the entirety of the concert on one disk.
The sound is bold and ballsy. Best described as a very good monaural audience recording, the only thing that lets it down is that Mick’s voice is not as loud in the mix as it could be and frequently gets buried by Mick Taylor’s guitar lines (Not that that’s all around a bad thing – you know how it sounds and you’ll know the words so you can imagine it.) – there are times where the horn section sounds much larger than the sum of it’s parts too and there are moments where you hear crowd chatter but this is mercifully very brief. Unfortunately, I don’t own any of the previous releases to compare this recording to but sampled against the vinyl release from samples I found, it does sound more direct and bassier than earlier releases.
This is a fantastic show though a few listeners seem to regard it as slightly substandard – weighed up against other ‘73 era shows, it may come off as a little loose but the band are deeply rooted, they were slap bang in the centre of one of their classic eras, and so turn out their firebrand best, bumping pillar to post with an electrifying gig. The fact that they sound a little wan and sloppy doesn’t bother me so much – the audience would have been slightly disappointed maybe but arguing the toss over a charity gig may seem churlish at best.
From the choppy growl of the first chords announcing, ‘Brown Sugar’, the band throw down a belligerent, nasty, demonic set of tracks to stomp through. ‘Bitch’, a relatively recent showing for this track, is tight but slender, the main stars of this rendition are Mick Taylor’s and Keef’s guitars bouncing against each other, Nicky’s bed of piano and the ruthless horn section, pressing the band on.
We move back a short couple of years to ‘Rocks Off’, the opener to ‘Exile’, drenched with brass magic and driven by a loopy guitar riff, it is one of the reasons that this show would have been remembered for.
Next, a none-more bowdlerising, ‘Gimmie Shelter’, there’s no more Merry Clayton here, no Lisa Fischer to support just the power of the guitars and still it burns, though it takes a small effort to get there. Charlie’s fills are powerful, Taylor’s effortlessly slick, wandering solo does just as good a job as any backing singer might need to cover any deficiencies. ‘Route 66’ makes a nice appearance inbetween the newer tracks, bridging the gap between the Stones of old and the newer incarnation as does ‘It’s All Over Now’, ragged yes, but there’s a lovely slide guitar from Mick Taylor that warbles it’s Western influence.
Keith’s turn on ‘Happy’ sounds proto-punk, brassy and deshabille all in one, it’s like writing through rock, Keith thru and thru. Mick returns to the stage for a messy and limp, ‘Tumbling Dice’ and while his vocals are strong, the action seems to be coming apart at the seams. Settling down for a quieter couple of numbers, ‘No Expectations’ and ‘Sweet Virginia’ are rough facsimiles of their former selves but both have that fogged, boozy feel that sounds like a bar on Sunday rather than a Saturday night charity concert. ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ rectifies itself. Beautiful, ringing chords draw us gently in while the song sways gently for the first couple of verses before it slow-burns in to a weeping cloud before quickly evaporating.
The lustful and lewd, ‘Stray Cat Blues’ is given an extra bit of frisson through Mick Taylor’s slowly climbing and poised guitar lines, the horns at the back add that little extra propulsion that it needs. It’s doubtful that THAT track will ever return to the set list however.
‘All Down The Line’, ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ and a sadly incomplete, ‘Street Fighting Man’ lead out the concert (As GSparaco’s review mentions, ‘Midnight Rambler’ is attested to have been played that night also but the taper seems to have run out of tape by that point and so it seems unlikely that we’ll ever hear this rendition).
The CD package, as mentioned, is covered by William Stout’s original cover design in stark B&W, with a simple rear cover, nice and easy to read and a handful of monochrome and colour pictures inside. Another chance to get this illusive boot and this time, much more affordably.