First Night In Newark
Prudential Center, Newark, NJ – December 13th, 2012
Disc 1 (69:33): Opening, Introduction, Get Off Of My Cloud, The Last Time, It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It), Paint It Black, Gimme Shelter, Respectable (with John Mayer), Wild Horses, Around And Around, Doom And Gloom, One More Shot, Miss You, Honky Tonk Women
Disc 2 (68:36): Band Introduction, Before They Make Me Run, Happy, Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor), Start Me Up, Tumbling Dice, Brown Sugar, Sympathy For The Devil, You Can’t Always Get What You Want (with the choir of Trinity Wall Street), Jumping Jack Flash, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
The Rolling Stones brought their 50th Anniversary caravan across the pond for several appearances in New York and New Jersey in mid December. The first date was a show at the brand new Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York, on December 8th followed by a two song appearance at the 12-12-12 Concert in Madison Square Garden.
December 13th was the first show in the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. First Night In Newark utilizes an excellent stereo audience recording of the entire gig. The tape thins out half way through “Brown Sugar” during the saxophone solo, but recovers in the final verses. Otherwise this is flawless.
With all the focus on the upcoming pay-per-view show on December 15th, scant attention was paid to this show. A review in The Record, a newspaper based in northern New Jersey, called “Rolling Stones Turn Prudential Into Guitar Heaven” writes that: “Some 19,000 Rolling Stones fans didn’t have to die to go to guitar heaven at Thursday’s ’50 & Counting. . .’ show in Newark. Not only did Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Mick Jagger and company bring all their usual firepower to the first of two concerts at The Prudential Center (the band comes back for an encore Saturday). They also brought reinforcements.
“There was guest star number one, John Mayer – not the mellow fellow of ‘Your Body is a Wonderland’ but a blues fiend who howled and wailed as he traded solo after extravagant solo with Wood and Richards. The song was ‘Respectable’ from Some Girls – one of the few deviations from a set list that hewed closely to the one the Stones played last Saturday at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center.
Then there was guest star number two, Mick Taylor – one time Stones guitarist, who shredded up some ‘Midnight Rambler’ with Richards in spectacular fashion. If the night belonged to guitar players, it wasn’t for lack of dazzling work elsewhere. We’re still getting over Chuck Leavell’s barrelhouse piano licks on ‘Honkey Tonk Women,’ Jagger’s ‘Midnight Rambler’ harp interlude, Darryl Jones’ bass solo in “Miss You,” and the flashy “Gimme Shelter” vocals of Lisa Fisher — every bit as forceful as Mary J. Blige, who filled in last Saturday in Brooklyn.”
It begins with the taped introduction and Roger Daltrey’s story about the first time he heard the Stones. Of all the comments, the one which says that the Stones’ songs “is good music to do bad things to” drawn the biggest cheer, and the comment about being jealous over how skinny they are draws a big laugh.
Following the video is the “Sympathy For The Devil” inspired percussion and then they take the stage. Like in Brooklyn they start off with “Get Off Of My Cloud.” Unlike Brooklyn, where they followed with “I Wanna Be Your Man,” they drop The Beatles’ cover and follow with “The Last Time.”
“Hello, New Jersey! Or as you guys will say, ‘What are you lookin’ at, New Joisey?” Jagger jokes and then continues, “we first played in Newark in 1965, the summer of 1965 at what is called … the symphony theater. Were any of you guys at that show? Well, we were there.” Both “It’s Only Rock N Roll” and “Paint It Black” sound tremendous in this recording The latter especially has a slow, creepy quality. After “Paint It Black” Jagger mentions the 12-12-12 show and jokes that Bruce Springsteen opened for them.
Every performance of “Gimme Shelter” features a guest female vocalist except on this night. Mary J. Blige joined Jagger in Brooklyn, but the first Newark show features Lisa Fischer on familiar ground, singing the female lead.
The first of three guest appearances occurs afterwards when John Mayer joins the band onstage. At first Jagger tells the audience “we’re gonna do a blues” but then corrects himself and introduces “Respectable.” They follow with “ballad time,” playing “Wild Horses” where Jagger exhorts the audience to “hold the hands of your neighbor.”
“Around And Around” is the selection of the fans’ poll. The Chuck Berry cover, so important for their early shows, is played for the first time by the band since the 1977 El Mocambo shows in Toronto. The bouncy new song “Doom And Gloom,” the anthemic “One More Shot,” and a long and sloppy “Miss You” follow in quick succession “Honky Tonk Women” is played without Bill Wyman, who joined the band in the London gigs.
During the second half of the show Mick Taylor is again a guest on “Midnight Rambler.”
The band really lose steam afterwards. The final four songs of the main set, “Start Me Up,” “Tumbling Dice,” “Brown Sugar” and “Sympathy For The Devil” are plagued by very sloppy play and bum notes. When they return for the encores they’re joined by the choir from Trinity Wall Street, an Episcopal congregation, for “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
Quick and uninspiring performances of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” close out the show. Of all the 2012 anniversary shows this is undoubtedly the worst. It is the shortest, has the fewest guest artists and becomes very sloppy almost to the point of embarrassment by the end. First Night In Newark does have very good sound and is an excellent document for the collector who needs to have all the shows. But the second night in Newark is far superior to this show.