The Rolling Stones, ‘Bern 1973 2nd Night Late Show (No Label)
Introduction / 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 (72:44)
Live at Festhalle, Bern, Switzerland, 26th September, 1973, late show.
Originally released in 2013, the Rolling Stones second show of the 26th of September, 1973 was quickly kept upon by a few bootleg labels – No Label (Bern 1973, 2nd Night), The Godfather Records (Before The Affair), Dog n’ Cat (Swiss Made) plus a few remaining CD-R labels too though the show seems to have evaded a review on this site. Fast forward 8 years, there’s an upgrade! Unusually the original disk is actually in hand so we can at least compare.
A little back story on the Stones shows in Switzerland first – The Swiss press have never given the band an easy ride, preferring the Beatles instead, Mick, Keith and Co. would be hard fought to impress their European hosts, no matter what they did.
Three shows were poised for performance on the 25th and 26th of September – One show on the first night, a matinee and a late show on the second. By all accounts, because of the press’ attempts to dissuade the paying public from turning up, none of the shows actually sold out and were described as “the Stones worst performing shows” hardly a balm to the band who were close to kicking out Bobby Keys for his bad behaviour and were feeling the drag from Mick Taylor who had taken to staying at a different hotel to the rest of the band as his drug problems were taking their toll.
This show, the evening show, has been noted as being the best of the three played in Bern in part because of the musicianship, some of it down to the fact that Jagger was enraged enough or zapped enough to have his performance ratcheted up a few notches. He certainly sounds like he’s a little more ‘worked up’ than usual, his tics and whoops more exaggerated than previous.
The sound of this new tape is a little warmer sounding than previous (Originally, a mid-distance quality audience recording – a little bassy but without emphasis on Bill and Charlie, there’s enough separation for Ronnie and Keith too) – it’s longer by around 23 seconds (Mainly for the introduction), is not quite as loud as the previous tape which might be to preference – I certainly felt it a little easier on the ears as it sounds a smoother experience.
The artwork is better than the previous No Label outing and possibly just as good than the Godfather release. All predominantly black and white throughout with a nod to the colour poster in the bottom right hand corner on the back.
Purely subjective, I found this to be a small upgrade, not a million miles away from the tape that we heard on the previous releases- it’s certainly a different tape at least – whether that’s enough to make you grab for the latest iteration or not, it’s your choice but if you don’t have it already it’s worthy of your attention.