Live At The Tokyo Dome (Nanker Records 004/005)
Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan – February 26th, 1990
Disc 1 (61:22): Start Me Up, Bitch, Sad Sad Sad, Harlem Shuffle, Tumbling Dice, Miss You, Ruby Tuesday, Almost Hear You Sigh, Rock And A Hard Place, Mixed Emotions, Honky Tonk Women, Midnight Rambler
Disc 2 (69:50): You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Can’t Be Seen, Happy, Paint It Black, 2000 Light Years From Home, Sympathy For the Devil, Gimme Shelter, It’s Only Rock And Roll, Brown Sugar, Satisfaction, Jumping Jack Flash
The Rolling Stones played ten shows in Tokyo on their first ever trip to Japan in February 1990. The penultimate gig on February 26th was the focus of special attention by the band because it was videotaped and broadcast on Japanese television on April 29th, 1990 “Steel Wheels Japan Tour” special. The entire show except “2000 Light Years From Home” and “Sympathy For The Devil” were broadcast. “Sympathy For The Devil” is included on Flashpoint.
The soundboard recording has been pressed before on Rolling Stones 1990 (COC2261/2262), Rolling Stones 1990 (66622/3), The Steel Wheels Performance (Star Records STAR), Cold Steel Blue (Sister Morphine Records MORPH 16) and Steel Wheels Tokyo 1990 (VGP-080) gold CD limited edition. But it has released officially by the Rolling Stones Archive and has been pressed onto silver disc by Nanker Records. Like the other titles from the Archives, the concert is well known and has been out before on unofficial releases.
But the posted tape in the archives is superior. Like the others in the series, it’s been professionally remastered and sounds wonderful. Idol Mind were the first to press the tape onto silver followed by this title on Nanker Records. The latter claims to be a different master than the former, but it’s hard to tell the difference between the two.
The opening “Continental Drift” is omitted and there is an obvious cut after “Tumbling Dice.” Whatever the case, this is an exceptional sounding document.
When the band returned to live performance after a six week break, they retained a set list similar to the other dates except “Undercover Of The Night,” “Play With Fire” and “Dead Horses” were both unfortunately dropped. Also, Keith Richards settled upon the Steel Wheels tune “Can’t Be Seen” as his first vocal number instead of the revolving door of titles he would sing.
The tape starts at the very end of “Continental Drift.” Audible is a firecracker explosion followed by the opening notes of “Start Me Up.”
Jagger speaks to the audience in Japanese, a move which the audience appreciates but sounds very forced. (He gives a strange mafia don intonation which sounds very strange). What’s also very noticeable is the loud presence of Chuck Leavell on piano and keyboards and the backing vocals provided by Bernard Fowler, Lisa Fischer and Cindy Mizelle.
The first forty minutes are dominated some of the newer songs including “Sad Sad Sad” and “Harlem Shuffle,” the only song from Dirty Work played.
“Miss You” sounds massive in this recording. Jagger messes up the lyrics a bit, but the band play hot. The middle section features more of Leavell’s keyboards than Jagger’s harmonica. The rhythm section play it as a cross between metal and disco.
After “Ruby Tuesday” they play three more new songs in succession. “Almost Hear You Cry,” “Rock And A Hard Place” with an enthusiastic blasts by the Uptown Horns, and the single “Mixed Emotions.” The new songs are good but sound extremely pop-oriented and a bit out of place compared to the classic tunes.
The following two Let It Bleed songs, “Midnight Rambler” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” are a nice contrast. The former retains some of the spook of older performances even though Leavell’s keyboards join the guitars and Jagger’s harmonica in the fray. And during the latter the backing vocalists form a nice choir and offer an arrangement close to the studio recording.
Richards has his two songs set, “Can’t Be Seen” from Steel Wheels and “Happy.” They follow with an older set of songs from their mid-sixties “psychedelic” period. “Paint It Black” set a nihilistic tone alleviated by the silliness of “2000 Light Years From Home” which segues directly into “Sympathy For The Devil.” During the jam in the middle Jagger hints at “Hey Jude” much like he did in the 1969 Baltimore show (but doesn’t commit to it).
The finale includes some of their anthems. “It’s Only Rock And Roll” sounds almost like self parody but “Brown Sugar,” “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Jumping Jack Flash” form an effective evening to a very good show.
Nanker Records offer Live At The Tokyo Dome in a single pocket cardboard sleeve with the artistic design pulled directly off of the Rolling Stones Archive website. It’s really a shame the band are only offering these shows as downloads instead of a silver compact disc release because it excludes those of us who do not like to collect downloads. This is a very good way to obtain a concrete, silver disc edition of an important release.