The Rolling Stones – Austin 2006 (No Label)

The Rolling Stones, “Austin 2006″ (No label)

Intro / You Got Me Rocking / Lets Spend The Night Together / She’s So Cold / Oh No, Not You Again / Sway / Bob Wills Is Still The King / Streets Of Love / Ain’t To Proud To Beg / Bitch (edit) / Tumbling Dice / Band Introductions / Learning The Game / Little T&A

Under My Thumb / Goes Of Of My Cloud / Honky Tonk Women / Sympathy For The Devil / Jumping Jack Flash / Satisfaction / Brown Sugar Live at Zilker Park, Austin, Texas, USA – 22nd October, 2006.

Recorded in one if the worlds most famous musical cities, the Rolling Stones tour landed in Austin, Texas on the final North American leg of their ‘Bigger Bang’ tour.

In an era when Stones shows are recorded on flim-flam tech and smartphones that are less than worldly at recording rock concerts, one CD lollops along at some point that makes you sit up and say, ‘Hang On!’ from the bussle of it’s opener. This set from the No Label gang is fantastic in sound – the only trouble is, it’s stripped from disk one of the the Bigger Bang DVD set from 2007 and latterly, the blu ray in 2009 – making this set a simple pirate if a brilliant sounding disk.

A nice little setlist too – varied up to a point, not a conisiurs choice maybe but enough variation to keep the returning Stones fans happy – from show opener, ‘You Got Me Rockin” through ‘Sway’ and ‘Bob Wills Is Still The King’ (An oddball choice and sure, it could be played very few places otherwise, but gets a reception like it was missed off of “Exile ..”‘ in it’s spiritual home, including a brassy ‘Ain’t Too Proud To Beg’, a rather insipid Keef twofer despite premiering the Buddy Holly cover, ‘Learning the Game’ then bounding back to ‘Little T&A’ (Hey, good stadium rock but theres no virtue to THOSE lyrics!)

The show continues with ‘Under My Thumb’, one of the real unsung heroes of the Stones canon if it could be considered ‘correct’ for our times’, the song concludes with an extended if slightly repetitive coda, then – the highlight of the night – ‘Get Off Of My Cloud’, the buzz of it’s nasal guitar like a shock of static electricity over the crowd before it bows and winds like a rubber band. It sounds rejuvenated and exciting – Jagger changes the register of ‘you’ to sound a little less accusatory, more showman. Even his vocal afflictions seem to suggest that he’s saying, ‘Now, you didn’t expect THIS!’. Charlie’s building fills topping it all off at every twist.

‘Honky Tonk Blues’ is perfect for it’s host too – dirty, naughty, a little knowing, the piano bar tinkle, the balloon shaped squall of the brass section and the rogue at large lyrics, an American’s delight as they might revel in in the antics by our down-home, lusty protagonist.

One of the songs that my friend Leedslungs71 might rally against nowadays is ‘Sympathy For The Devil’, true, it lacks the urgent menace of the earlier incarnations, the power and might are a little overawed by the decision to turn it in to a party rouser and beer raiser than the thinking man’s rock but it is what it is nowadays – an excuse for Keith and Ronnie to showboat, trading licks while Mick flaps his gold chiffon at the front. ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ was never more than a sum of it’s parts though as the sticky biography of a feral, urchin hell raiser. Those streaming, steaming guitars, bass, organs and drums slowly build like a musical pyramid, falling drunkenly upon each other in heaps.

The strange thing is that ‘Satisfaction’ almost fades in. That’s nothing to do with the source, is it to do with the fact that Keef can’t be trusted not to play a bum note as he starts up? The song is of a traditional structure, ending with a jazz-bass jam which I’d rather they do a little more with – Whether it’s the atmosphere of the night or an off the cuff thought, maybe they could bring this up again for the new tour. Finally, ‘Brown Sugar’, steel blade guitars, knock-a-door drumming, scream-along lyrics and one of the reasons that we’ll miss Bobby Keys on tour.

There’s so much to be said but you know how it goes .. I can’t really recommend this disk because it is essentially stripped from the blu-ray and a pirated source, however, in the main, I’m assuming that if you’re reading this, you’re a Stones fan – therein, you’ll own the official release anyway and, had the Stones wanted you just to LISTEN to this disk, they’d have included it in the set. The No Label gang have just given it layers by presenting it in a beautifully packaged set.

Buy it if you need it but don’t tell anyone I sent you.

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