The Rolling Stones “Live At The Marquee Club” (Goldplate GP-1304CD1DVD1)
CD; Live With Me / Dead Flowers / I Got The Blues (Take 1) / I Got The Blues (False Start) / I Got The Blues (Take 2) / Let It Rock / Midnight Rambler / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction / Bitch (False Start) / Bitch (Take 1) / Brown Sugar / Bitch (Take 2) / Bitch (pre-rehearsals) / Brown Sugar (pre-rehearsals)
DVD; Re-broadcast TV version : Live With Me / Dead Flowers / I Got The Blues / Let It Rock / Midnight Rambler / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction / Bitch / Brown Sugar
Original TV Version : Film Introduction / Live With Me / Dead Flowers / I Got The Blues / Let It Rock / Midnight Rambler / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction / Bitch / Brown Sugar
Unedited Long Version : Film Introduction – Opening announcement / Live With Me / Dead Flowers / I Got The Blues (Take 1) / I Got The Blues (False Start) / I Got The Blues (Take 2) / Let It Rock / Midnight Rambler / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction / Bitch (False Start) / Bitch (Take 1) / Brown Sugar / Bitch (Take 2)
The Goldplate Productions label followed up their “Olympia Live In The Sixties” set with this, the best of the versions of the Stones show at the Marquee Club of Wardour Street in London. Performed on the 26th of March, 1971, the show came almost two weeks after the end of the bands short UK tour pre-promoting the ‘Sticky Fingers’ LP and was recorded as a TV special.
Gerard had originally reviewed a DVD of this set on the Devil Productions release DVD here but as that formed only the basis of the unedited long version on this DVD we’re in for a better slice of the pie this time.
Firstly lets have a listen to the CD – originally released on the Contra Band LP (Or at least 5 tracks were) “Old Grey Whistle Test” and then later in the CD age on Swingin’ Pig’s “Live At The Marquee Club” while, as Gerard told us, the “video (was released) before on Marquee/Montreux Rumble (4 Reel), The Rolling Stones at the Marquee, The Rolling Stones UK Tour 1971 – The Marquee Club Rehearsals and Ladies ‘N’ Gentlemen The Rolling Stones (Shot Gun Entertainment). The Devil Productions version contains both the excellent quality video broadcast and an “unedited” version. The latter is in fair to good color quality with a time code at the bottom of the screen and an unused introduction.”
With regards to the audio, this new edition sounds livelier than the TSP version, brighter with a little more depth. Jagger’s vocals are still further up in the mix while opener “Live With Me” features the familial overblown crunch of Bill Wyman’s bass – it can be eq’d but not without losing a little of the life of the tape – but it tends to flatten out as the tape goes on. This may be due to restrictions caused by the venue – it was, after all, just a cupboard of a club down one of London’s busiest streets.
Their first version of “I Got The Blues” is brilliant, Jagger’s rubbed up and untarnished vocals really drag towards the end as he throws his all towards this version however, for some reason it’s not quite good enough for this special and the band are asked to perform it again. Mick makes light of the request but his tone suggests that he was pushing it on the first take, especially in what was very probably a very smoky atmosphere. It affects nothing though and Mick still makes a meal out of this amount of anguish.
The Chuck Berry-esque “Let It Rock” needs no more takes though and with the might of the horn section behind them on the verses the song rockets like it was sculptured by NASA.
The pivotal point in the Stones shows has nearly always been “Midnight Rambler”. Usually reaching epic lengths the song made full use of Mick Taylor’s virtuosity and sculptured itself as a hauntingly desolate blues at times. Tonight, Jagger almost ruins the mood by announcing it’s title within the first few bars in a comically Rock ‘n’Roll style but it is still played straight after that and drawn out to over 10 minutes in length as Micks Jagger and Taylor spar between harp and blistering guitar.
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is played tonight in ‘pop’ fashion. I think that’s a nice way to pronounce it but realistically i’d pronounce it as embarrassing. It shows how that the band were very possibly embarrassed of playing their most famous hit, were looking to try to fix it up and bring it in to line with their Memphis horn ruled style but, while the Beatles wouldn’t have played “She Loves You” if they were still around and it was something that the Who successfully circumnavigated by playing “My Generation” in a blues style with their own extended coda to change the piece – “Satisfaction” just wasn’t going to be pushed that way.
“Bitch”, however, was still new, still near the knuckle and feisty enough to be a parent botherer and the band do justice to an energetic and highfaluting rendition by burning up the stage with it. Theres a slight break-down that precedes the first take but it doesn’t spoil the bands judgement at all. However, there is a mess of feedback and squall at the conclusion threatening it’s chance in the broadcast as a perfect take.
This is quickly followed up by a rough version of “Brown Sugar”. A version that’s so bowel rumblingly bassy, it’d be a wonder if there weren’t a few pairs of sore ears the day after. This is wordlessly followed again by a retake of “Bitch” more of the same madness, none of the mayhem that ruined the end of the last take.
The CD end with the two ‘Pre-Rehearsal’ tracks, “Bitch” and “Brown Sugar” – slightly rougher in sound but still in excellent mono, most probably after a longer set of songs.
“Bitch” begins a slight way in to the song and ends with applause from the crew. Jagger mentions that they’re prepared to play one last song before the chime of “Love In Vain” is heard. “Brown Sugar” is another ball busting rendition of the trace, heavy as punk, nasty as a poked bear. It ends with some serious sound problems from the tape though but just at the very final chords, it causes no serious problems .
The video DVD presents us with three different versions of the show;
The first is the rebroadcast version of the show – the sound is equivalent to the audio on the CD – it suffers from the heavy bass distortion from the start but shortly clears up.
The second is the original broadcast of the show – a slighter sound, more plaid colours (though this is obviously down to it’s age) but it doesn’t tend to suffer from the sound problems that the first video does.
The third is a broadcast of the show as it was filmed. obviously broadcast in the early 90’s (a style of British TV that’s easily recognisable as tabloid and a little bit chummy is more than evident by it’s president opener as the host strides towards the now missing Marquee club and instead ends up in a pub round the corner.) Thankfully this version doesn’t suffer from the horrid, migraine inducing cut-ups that were forced in to the original broadcast to inject ‘energy’. to the show. A stones show from 1971 is a rare beast indeed, having visual document is better, official at that is the icing we want.
Until the Stones decide that this show is worth adding as a bonus to something else (Sticky Fingers redux, perhaps?) then this is the best and most comprehensive set that we have.
Is this CD + DVD set definitive? So far, yes. Is it worth seeking out above the rest? Yes. Certainly so.