The Rolling Stones – Glastonbury 2013 (no label)

Rolling Stones - Glastonbury 2013

Glastonbury 2013 (no label)

Live Glastonbury! 2013

Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm, Pilton, UK 29th June 2013



When it was first announced that the Rolling Stones would he headlining the Glastonbury Festival Stones fans were elated anticipating being able to watch the performance live on the BBC. But the initial elation turned to disappointment when word came down that the band would only allow 4 songs to be televised.

Money immediately was thought to be the cause but a news report in the British newspaper The Telegraph reported that unnamed sources  quoted Mick as saying “I didn’t sign up for a TV show” and the band was concerned about factors beyond their control affecting a performance which could be streamed worldwide on the night.

Festival founder Michael Eavis was eventually able to negotiate the broadcast of the last half of the Stones set but in a June 30th news article in the London based Sunday News Times it was revealing just how concerned Mick was with the upcoming performance.

Insiders revealed that Mick Jagger had rationed his speaking to no more than two hours a day and in no more than ten-minute bursts to preserve his voice for the big occasion.

The only public comments made by the 69-year-old, who sprays diluted Manuka honey and herbs into his mouth to lubricate his throat four hours before performing, were in an interview with the BBC’s John Humphrys recorded two weeks earlier.

A band insider said: “For him [Jagger] stopping talking has always worked best. It’s partly to do with the vocal cords, partly a calming technique.”

Sir Mick evidently also did his homework to prepare for the big gig as mentioned in this article excerpt:

Sir Mick Jagger has studied four years of Glastonbury DVDs ahead of The Rolling Stones performance tonight (29.06.2013).

The ‘Brown Sugar’ rocker claims he has pored over main stage performances since 2008 to ensure his band will deliver a set to remember when they headline the iconic festival this evening.

He told the Radio Times magazine: ”Festivals are great to be at but not always the easiest to play.

IMHO the preparation certainly paid off with a set to remember as it was one of the best if not the best performance of the entire “50 and Counting” tour. Luckily for us some enterprising fan was able to locate and record the raw BBC satellite video feed of the entire performance which the No Name label has pressed onto to two single layer DVDs for our enjoyment. The two DVD’s come in a simple clam shell case with a glossy cover insert.

Watching the show on a 65” Panasonic Plasma HD TV I found the MPEG2 picture to be excellent and close to official release quality with only very slight hints of pixilation during scenes with bright strobbing flashing lights. This is nitpicking though as in all honesty I don’t think I would have even seen the pixelization if I had not been watching with a critical eye. The No Name label chose not to include any bonus features which IMHO lends to the high picture quality as the transfer rate danced between 7.4-9.4 mbps for most of the concert. While you will not mistake this for a HD Blu-ray it upscales very nicely on a HD TV and the quality the picture is quite amazing for a bootleg concert video.

The audio is LPCM two channel stereo and is crystal clear, well balanced with a wide and well separated soundstage. It also sounds excellent in multichannel stereo if you have a surround sound receiver capable of this feature which really fills out the sound stage and makes you feel part of the crowd.

The concert begins with a crowd level center stage shot from just past two large video screen towers. The intro features a collage of sounds, spoken word and snippets of music. It begins with mooing cows over the top of ringing church bells and monastic chanting.  This transitions to a male voice stating “So this is the main stage where the Stones are going to play Saturday night”, followed by a short snippet of Muddy Waters singing the Rollin Stone line in Catfish Blues.

The male voice comes back stating “We waited a long time for the Stones to play so what a place to be in”. The Sympathy drum solo begins and the crowd is already revved up and begin chanting “WOO WOO!” to the beat. An announcer cuts in with “Ladies and Gentlemen please welcome on the pyramid stage the Rolling Stones!!!”

Keith, with a big smile, leads the way onto the stage with the opening cords of “Jumping Jack Flash” to a giant roar from the crowd. With Mick dancing all over the stage, and Keith and Ronnie giving us all their classic stage poses, the band rips though a very high energy version of the classic song setting the tone for the rest of the show. At the end of the song Mick thanks the crowd and asks “Are you having a good Time?” before proclaiming “It is great to be in Glastonbury!”

Next comes a moment of truth as to whether the band is up to the task with the opening cords of IORR. The band has struggled with this song on and off during the tour but today Keith nails the intro and the band gives the crowd a great version of this old warhorse.

Before an excellent version of “Paint it Black” Mick exclaims, tongue in cheek followed by a rim shot by Charlie, “Great to be doing the show, the festival. You all look Amazing. After all these years they finally got around to asking us. Thanks you Michael!” 

“Gimme Shelter” follows and this is another song that the band, and Keith in particular, has struggled with all tour.  More often than not the versions I have heard were flat, with out of tune intros and solos, and in one case the band was completely out of sync with each other.  That is not the case tonight as Keith nails the intro and handles his solos without issue while the band plays one of the better versions of this classic song I have heard this tour.

In between songs Mick talks about seeing some of the events of the festival, going to Shangri-La, seeing the Artic Monkey’s etc., the night before and how he met a girl and wrote the next song in her honor. He straps on an acoustic guitar and launches in a modified version of “Factory Girl” Mick has titled “Glastonbury Girl”.  It is an excellent version of this obscure song from the Stones massive catalog and Mick did a great job making it relevant to a crowd who most likely has never heard the original.

After a well played version of the classic “Wild Horses”, and the new song “Doom and Gloom” from the latest greatest hits package, Mick introduces old friend Mick Taylor to play with them on one of the shows highlights for me “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”.  Mick Taylor rips through several precision solos complemented by a Bobby Keys sax solo while Mick dances all over the large festival stage shaking maracas during the solos.  At one point Keith and Ronnie stroll down to a t-shaped stage extension and mug for the crowd which draws huge cheers.

This is one song I wish they could jam on all night, just to hear Mick Taylor’s play, but it does seem to take some of the energy out of the crowd with the long solos and Sir Mick  sensing this asks crowd if they are ready to rock out now as the classic cowbell intro of “Honky Tonk Woman” gets things moving again.

Mick follows with the band intros with Ronnie Wood seeming to get the loudest applause with the crowd chanting his name. Ronnie is obviously touched by this as he dances and mugs for the crowd to which Mick comments “He loves it!”

After his introduction Keith ambles down to the front of the stage with a huge smile on his face, and does his classic body tap two handed salute to the crowd before announcing “Finally made it huh? Great to see you all here, what a great crowd. Great day for a change. Yeah well on with the show. This one is called You Got the Silver”. Ronnie starts the song with some silky acoustic slide guitar playing and Keith is good voice this day and gives us a soulful version of his classic song with the two hugging at the end. With a smoky belly laugh Keith then compliments Ronnie by telling the crowd “this guy Ronnie Woods not too shabby huh?”

As he is strapping on his Telecaster Keith banters with the crowd “Hey how you all doing? You been out in the sun all day (laughs), rare occasion.  (While adjusting the knobs on his Tele) Um yeah, o.k. in that case let’s get Happy” and proceeds to rip off a spirited version of this old Keef standard with Ronnie on lap steel.

This ended the first half of the show which was not broadcast by the BBC. I have read opinions that as good as the first half was the second half of the show, which was broadcast, was even better.

I can’t argue with this as after a competent version of the live show staple “Miss You” opens the second half the band brings Mick Taylor back for a show highlight version of “Midnight Rambler”.  The two Micks’ start the song facing each other with a call and response between guitar and harmonica as Keith stands in the background with a huge smile on his face clearly enjoying the interplay.  Mick T. follows Sir Mick around the stage ripping off effortless riffs as the song builds momentum. Ronnie, Mick T., Keith, and Darryl Jones stand lined up in front of Charlie cranking out the songs classic riff while Sir Mick prowls the stage. The song closes with the three guitar players trading licks before Sir Mick does a call and response with the audience to the line “Oh Yeah!”.  Just a classic version of this song that is right up there with the best versions of the tour.

Sir Mick introduces the next classic song with “We are not going to do the whole of Satanic’s Majesties but anyway here we go” before the band play a fantastic version of this rarely played underrated gem.

After a short pause the band seamlessly rolls into the intro of the song the crowd seems to have been waiting for all night as the opening drum roll of “Sympathy for the Devil” is met with the crowd providing the signature “WOO WOO’S” to the beat of the music.  As the intro builds Mick comes out in a full length gorilla like fur cape as flames shoot down from the top of the lighting structure towards the stage. As Mick sings the intro a giant mechanical bird (vulture?) unfurls on the top of the stage roof spouting jets of flame. The crowd provides the “WOO WOO’S” as Keith comes down to the front of the stage and rips off one of several well played solos he plays in the song. The song closes with Mick leading the crowd in a call and response of “WOO WOO” finishing a near perfect version which can stand up against any played by the post 1989 Stones IMHO.

A tough act to follow the band keeps the momentum going with energetic versions for the old concert warhorses “Start Me Up”, “Tumbling Dice” and “Brown Sugar”. I don’t know why but I really love the ending of “Brown Sugar” when the band plays the classic song riff repetitively for several minutes before closing out the song.

After a short break the band comes back for the two regular encores starting with the tour favorite “Can’t Always Get What You Want”, in this case featuring the Voce and London Youth’s choir, before closing with the “Satisfaction” jam featuring Mick Taylor curiously playing an acoustic guitar for this version.

The band comes out for the final bow and you can tell they are just elated with their performance and the response of the crowd. They are all smiles and as Keith is the last to leave the stage he stops at the edge of the amps and takes one last look back at the crowd and cracks a big smile as if to acknowledge what a special night this was for him and the band.

I know this will sound like a fan boy but I have been to a couple dozen Stones shows since my first at MSG in 1975 and have watched 40+ official and bootleg  live videos of Stones concerts but can honestly say this may one of the best performances by the post 1989 era band from beginning to end I have ever witnessed.

I have been critical of Keith’s playing in previous reviews of this tours concerts but for this show he was on top of his game and had an energy that he was lacking in some of the earlier tour shows I attended or listened to. 

The Stones concert at Glastonbury was the perfect storm of a performance with band and crowd feeding off each other to bring us something special that night and luckily it was captured on video for us to enjoy whenever we need a music fix from the “Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World”

Despite a stellar performance, which received rave reviews from fans and journalists alike, Sir Mick sounded like a prize fighter who despite winning the bout wanted nothing to do with a rematch with his vanquished opponent in this NME interview:

Mick Jagger has hinted that The Rolling Stones’ appearance at this years’ Glastonbury Festival may be their first and only time.

The band finally made their debut appearance at Worthy Farm on June 29 this year.

When asked by NME if the band would play the festival again should organiser Michael Eavis ask them to, Jagger replied: “I’d end up like Elvis Costello and play there 100 times! I don’t know if we’d play Glastonbury again. It was such a high playing Glastonbury the one time, I don’t know if Glastonbury’s something you’d want to do more than once in your career… but people do so who knows.”

Speaking about their debut appearance on the Pyramid Stage, Jagger revealed: “Glastonbury is a super intense weekend. People that go to Glastonbury haven’t bought their tickets to go and see The Rolling Stones. They’ve gone to Glastonbury for Glastonbury – for the whole weekend and the experience. It’s more than just a music festival. It’s a mad social event.”

He added: “Lots of people told me before we did it that it’s quite a difficult gig before we did it so I was ready for it to be. And it was difficult. You have to have your wits about you to play Glastonbury. In the end it was a fantastic gig and the audience was amazingly responsive.”

The challenge of playing Glastonbury certainly brought out the best in the band so let’s hope Sir Mick changes his mind and this will not be the last time the Stones headline this famous festival.

There are no label markings on this release so I am assuming this is from the same No Name label who released the two Stones CD releases I reviewed earlier? As with their CD releases this DVD set is excellent as the quality of the video and audio is superb. Considering this and the amazing  performance I can comfortably state that this historic concert is an essential release for Stones fans but will also appeal to casual fans. Grab it while you can.

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  1. Great review, of a great show! The sound quality is perfect and the video is fantastic! This may very well be the definitive show of their “last tour!


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