The Rolling Stones, “Come Together” (Eat A Peach EAT 143/44)
Disk One; Start Me Up / You Got Me Rocking / Out Of Control / Ride ‘Em On Down / Mixed Emotions / Wild Horses / It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It) / Come Together / Tumbling Dice / Honky Tonk Women / Band introductions / Slipping Away / Little T&A
Disk 2; Midnight Rambler / Miss You / Gimme Shelter / Sympathy For The Devil / Brown Sugar / Jumping Jack Flash / You Can’t Always Get What You Want / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Coachella Fairgrounds, Empire Polo Club, Indio, CA, October 7th 2016.
The announcement of the Desert Trip festival must have been met with a ripple of excitement by bootleggers and so it came to pass that nearly every label jumped upon the bandwagon, barging for a place of shifting a few units from this never to be repeated with such esteemed patrons of rock as this collection.
There were a couple of Paul McCartney releases from the usual sources, a couple less of Bob Dylan’s sets and even less from Neil Young and Roger Waters. Yes, it was the Rolling Stones who got the lions share of the releases from their set but then the Stones were also gearing up to release ‘Blue And Lonesome’ their first album since 2006’s “A Bigger Bang”* and, while the songs weren’t new, the motivation and energy that was promised was to be palpable.
There has been plenty written about the festival already – this set features some more original notes on the weekends – so I’ll leave that side of it all, brass tacks, how does this set sound? Obviously there are no soundboard recordings in circulation – the Stones set may have been filmed for news broadcasts but coming so soon after their Cuban adventure (On “Ole! Ole! Ole!”and “Havana Moon”) it’s unlikely we’ll get an official recording from the Desert Trip.
It’s a very good show too – despite the contrivances of the Stone’s ever revolving tour, the boys still stick out a great night – the little twists make the difference too – by slotting in a Beatles – BEATLES! – song, ‘Come Together’ and a little something, something from their new blues, the band make, what could have been a rather staid show, something to talk about instead.
The EAP label use a very, very good audience recording for their pressing – the first track, ’Start Me Up’ is milder than a show opener should be though it’s no “You Got Me Rocking” so we should be thankful for that.
‘Out Of Control’ has begun to make a welcome creep back in to the set again – it’s deathless moans of fighting against madness sound grand – Lisa and Daryls harmonies lending more than a dab of spooky to the track. ‘Ride ‘Em On Down’, even though it would have been very new to a lot of the ears there, is exciting to hear and works considering the event.
Various other oldies and goldies, twinned with other newer and forgotten tracks jostle for attention together – ‘Mixed Emotions’, always a favorite of mine – backs in to ‘Wild Horses’ which glissens in the lights of the iPhones from the audience then ‘It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll’ comes to claim it’s place afterwards as a vain – glorious romp in the name of excess.
The afore mentioned ‘Come Together’ is a joy to hear, low slung and dangerous, the band put their own slavish slant on it to suit Mick’s drawling delivery. The space left for a big solo sadly misses the mark however and what could have been a chance for Ronnie to wing his way in there comes as a second shade to Mick’s harp solo instead.
Keith’s choices of ‘Slipping Away’ and ‘Little T & A’ are a little hit and miss – the former perfect for the milder heat of the desert evening and a chance for the gang to lazily sway, the latter, well, I’ve said enough about THAT track previously.
A Vegasized ‘Midnight Rambler’ is drawn up, it would be a great version and is musically – Ronnie’s solo is wildly fierce – but Mick’s excitations and exultations for people to party are just gross in context when this demonic and slaughterful song should be blowing cold air down the back of your neck.
Thankfully, ‘Gimme Shelter’ does a better job of garnering a vibe closer to the original. Lisa Fisher does a great job in filling in the harmonies, Keef’s lines, though not quite as liquid as they once were, still eek out some structure – and, to be fair, the millennials attending wouldn’t be looking for musicianship of an exacting shape, they would just be happy to be around the man and his band, men and women of a certain age would be happy that they weren’t witness to Dylan’s ongoing revue of Sinatra classics (Which thankfully, even he thought better of before stepping out here.)
‘Brown Sugar’ is always a hot dance card but tonight it fails to impress. The loss of Bobby Keys after all this time is still felt but his replacement in Karl Denson is no slouch, it’s just that the song fails to know where to end. One extra track slipped in to the set would have been preferable to dragging this concoction to it’s bitter end.
The shows lead out, ‘Satisfaction’, is a standardised version of the “greatest hit”, toothy enough but without it’s bigger all round sound, it sounds a little trebley, Keef’s solo is not half bad however – a little one dimensional but nothing shocking.
The packaging is the standard EAP card sleeve with two separate paper sleeves for the two individual picture disks inside and an 8 page, full colour book featuring plenty of shots from the show and entertaining notes by Joel Nohn. A brilliant and compelling set to own but, for a cohesive overview, please see my other Desert Trip reviews for information about the rest of the releases from these dates.
*Apart from the live albums and the cursed Greatest Hits albums – If you don’t own at least one by now you should be rounded up and given a masterclass in collecting.