The Rolling Stones – Brisbane 1973 (No Label)

The Rolling Stones, ‘Brisbane 1973’ (No Label)

Live at Milton Park Tennis Courts, Brisbane, Australia 14th February 1973

Brown Sugar / Bitch / Rocks Off / Gimme Shelter / Happy / Tumbling Dice / Love in Vain / Sweet Virginia / You Can’t Always Get What You Want / All Down the Line / Midnight Rambler / Band Introductions / Bye Bye Johnny / Rip This Joint / Jumping Jack Flash / Street Fighting Man (74:43)

While the Stones later show in Australia – The 20th of February – seems have had a lot of love from bootleggers, this particular show from earlier in the month seems to have been sidelined. Sure, it’s a crunchy, mono, audience (Though little involvement from the crowd) tape with an incomplete first track but it’s just as furious a set as it’s more famous twin. Originally dotted in (three tracks) on the LP, ‘I Think It’s Gonna Rain Again Tonight’ (Quicktype Records RS-1) in to the CD age on OBR’s ‘Valentines Day’ (Where it omits ‘Brown Sugar’ altogether), then ‘Eat Meat On Stage’ (VGP), finally and latterly being burned on to CDR on Dasuye Nhk’s ‘Wonderland’, the show hasn’t seen the light again for 16 years. The No Label gang claim this is an upgrade with “warmer sound” than it’s predecessors – I don’t have them to hand to compare to – but if anyone has, please leave your comments in the box below)

Sure, it won’t be to everyone’s taste but it is still a Mick Taylor era show which I know a lot of us will enjoy. The tape begins halfway through the last chorus of ‘Brown Sugar’ after which there’s a bit of tuning up before a spirited romp through ‘Bitch’, then ‘Rocks Off’ after which Mick exclaims “It’s pretty slippery up here. As it is down there. Fall on me arse if I do anything. If I jump in the air, I’ll fall flat on me arse. But we’ll try just in the air and I’ll try avoid falling flat on me arse.” It certainly sounds like there’s a lot of movement through out a fluid attack on ‘Gimme Shelter’, Mick Taylor’s spiralling guitar works adding a busy flourish to the soloing in the middle.
“I thought it was going to be too hot but it’s too fuckin’ cold .. Ah, watch your language” gasps a breathless Mick before apologising for the retuning of the bands instruments, then bringing Keith to the fore for a blast of ‘Happy’ (Never a better autobiographical jaunt through the previous few years of the Stones’ career). ’Tumbling Dice’ is preceded by Mick teasing Charlie that the backdrop is about to fall on our intrepid drummer. The song itself has a little flutter on the tape at 0:33 – 0:37 but it doesn’t distract from anything.

Before ‘Love In Vain’ Mick hopes that ‘All you young ladies got Valentine cards .. ‘Cos if you didn’t we’re gonna play a very, sorta, unhappy song for yer’ before adding, by way of an apology, “I think it’s gonna rain in Melbourne too .. It’s gonna rain everywhere .. We’re gonna get good at it.”. ‘Love In Vain’ starts with a shattering piece of feedback but recitifies itself quickly and blows things apart within two gestures – the first, Mick’s Otis Redding style madness and heft – He really is in the zone and lifts things higher than possibly he anticipated, the second is Mick Taylor’s wheeling solo, it’s a beauty and really adds to the passion. ’Sweet Virginia’ comes after Mick cleans “half an inch of water from (his) shoes”. Jagger’s standard patter for the tour seems to be that “YCAGWYW” will make the crowd cry, hopefully the effect is more euphoric than saddening, especially noting Taylor’s guilded soloing.

‘All Down The Line’ comes to kick up the dust between the two epics of the night, coming out of the stalls clattering and biting at the air in its way. There is a tape flip at the coda that’s very noticeable but very limited effort is made to conceal it – It doesn’t affect ‘Midnight Rambler’, which runs over 10 minutes in length – A real dizzying cavalcade of different measures – Richards’ and Taylor’s sparring is frighteningly beautiful while Mick throws in his own murderous screams to further tighten the tension. There’s another brief tape cut at the end but it appears that we don’t lose any chatter here either though it’s telling that Mick appears to have “forgotten” Keef’s name as he introduces the band.

A speedy whistle through ‘Bye, Bye Johnny’ has Keith maximising his licks as he scuffles his guitar to sawdust. To end the set, the band slam through, ’Street Fighting Man’ – Mick alternates between roaring the lyrics and forgoing them altogether as Taylor and Richards do their best to wear a hole in the stage floor through musical force alone – It’s no Brussels, just because of the fidelity but it is very hard fought for.

The covers are standard ’No Label’, they have taken the option of using a stark black and white on the outside, colour inside for the ’73 tour and using stage shots only, it looks quite mean. Due to the relieve scarcity of the show, packaging the show simply on a single disk and the fact that it’s ’73, I’d certainly suggest this finds it’s way in to your collection.

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