Hague 1976 (no label)
Zuiderpark, F.C. Den Haag Stadium The Hague, The Netherlands – May 30th, 1976
Disc 1 (49:15): Honky Tonk Women, If You Can’t Rock Me / Get Off Of My Cloud, Hand Of Fate, Hey Negrita, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, Fool To Cry, Hot Stuff, Star Star, You Gotta Move, You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Disc 2 (42:57): band introduction, Happy, Tumbling Dice, Nothing From Nothing, Outa-Space, Midnight Rambler, It’s Only Rock And Roll, Brown Sugar, Jumping Jack Flash, Street Fighting Man
Right after the six night run at Earls Court in London, The Rolling Stones played two nights in the F.C. Den Haag soccer stadium in The Hague on May 29th and May 30th. The opening Amsterdam show had been pressed several times before, notably on Any Port In A Storm (VGP-148) and Any Port In A Storm Revisited (VGP-308).
Hague 1976 presents the second Zuiderpark show on May 30th utilizing the new tape source that surfaced late in 2010. Unlike the older poor to fair audience recording, this one is very clear and enjoyable. The taper used a state of the art Phillips reel-to-reel recorder (makes sense since Phillips is a Dutch company) and was stationed at the right corner at the back of the stadium by a concession stand. The crowd are generally quiet, but some conversations are picked up and cheering can be heard.
There are several cuts worth noting. The first is in the middle of “Honky Tonk Women.” After the first verse, the middle of the song is omitted and it skips to to the final verse. A cut after “You Gotta Move” omits the reprise and the opening of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and a small cut can be found at 10:57 in “Midnight Rambler” and at the very start and at 1:32 in “It’s Only Rock N Roll.” This could have been improved if the older tape source were edited in to fix the cuts.
The band didn’t change the setlist for the Amsterdam shows, performing the same nineteen song set most common for the tour. Both “Honky Tonk Women” and the marvelous segue of “If You Can’t Rock Me / Get Off Of My Cloud” are extremely energetic.
Afterwards, Mick apologizes to the vast crowd, saying: “Sorry we were late. There was a little trouble, a little problem. We’re gonna play some new songs for you. This is ‘Hand Of Fate.'” Strangely, the band seem indifferent to the new songs. It takes a while for “Hand Of Fate,” one of the best songs from Black And Blue, to really sound motivated. “Hey Negrita” sounds similarly slow and clunky.
Things improve for “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” with Jagger doing his best David Ruffin impersonation. But the show encounters serious stagnation with “Fool To Cry” and “Hot Stuff.”
The concert generally improves after “Star Star,” a fun song with the audience enjoys greatly. Keith singing “Happy” excites the audience, as does “Tumblin’ Dice.”
In the latter post-Billy Preston section of the show, “Midnight Rambler” turns into a giant sing along. Jagger sings “Brown Sugar” in a low, gravely voice meant to convey some sort of sultry seductiveness (but sounds irritating instead). The concert ends with “Jumping Jack Flash” and “Street Fighting Man.”
Overall Hague 1976 is a good document from the Stones’ 1976 tour of Europe. While it is not one of the exemplary shows from the tour like Earls Court, Paris or Knebworth, it is very enjoyable. And the energetic audience add to the fun.
The no label manufacturers didn’t apply any remastering on the tape, but chose to present it as it surfaced several months ago. An edit with the older tape to fix the gaps would have been an improvement and could have given this release definitive status, but is still a solid silver pressed edition of the show.