The Rolling Stones – Memory Motel (0317-1/2)

Memory Motel (0317-1/2)

Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan – March 17th, 1998

Disc 1 (66:13):  Opening, Satisfaction, Let’s Spend The Night Together, Flip The Switch, Gimme Shelter, Anybody Seen My Baby?, You Got Me Rocking, Saint Of Me, Out Of Control, Memory Motel, Miss You, band introduction

Disc 2 (74:09):  Thief In The Night, Wanna Hold You, Little Queenie, Crazy Momma, Like A Rolling Stone, Sympathy for The Devil, Tumbling Dice, Honky Tonk Women, Start Me Up, Jumping Jack Flash, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Brown Sugar

The Rolling Stones’ Bridges To Babylon blitzkrieg arrived in Japan for six shows in March, 1998.  Weeks after the final gig two competing sets documenting the entire tour came out.  Far East 98 (Vinyl Gang VGP-176) is a twelve disc set with all the shows in one convenient package.  But the competing set is the massively packaged Bridges To Babylon Japan Tour 1998 boxset with six titles covering each show on the tour of Japan.  (The other pieces are Bitch (0312-1/2), Star Fucker (0314-1/2), Shine A Light (0316-1/2), Time Is On My Side (0320-1/2), I Just Want to Make Love to You (0321-1/2)).

Surprisingly, these two sets are the only silver pressed editions of the Japan Bridges To Babylon shows.  The only way to get them is by either of these two sets.  The Bridges To Babylon Japan Tour 1998 boxset has a slight advantage over the Vinyl Gang because each show is also available individually.

Memory Motel covers the fourth show of the tour and the final night at the Tokyo Dome.  It is sourced from a loud and boomy DAT audience tape.  The boom makes it hard to pick out details in the performance and listening for too long produces ear-fatigue.

After the opening, the Stones play the same four songs as they do at the other stops in Japan.  “Satisfaction” sounds strangely muted in the guitar line, lacking the bite of past versions.  “Let’s Spend The Night Together” sounds much better and works very well as an opening song.  Both Ronnie and Keith are excellent in “Flip The Switch.”   

After “Gimme Shelter” comes the variable in the early part of the set.  The previous night they played “Angie,” but on this night they return with the new album’s first and most successful single “Anybody Seen My Baby?”  It is an interesting amalgam of styles including a hip-hop section in the end where Jagger mentions Tokyo to much applause. 

After “You Got Me Rocking” they play the latest Bridges To Babylon single “Saint Of Me.”  In fact, the middle of the show is full of newer song and others that had been rarely if ever played.  

“Out Of Control” is followed by the great “Memory Motel” from Black & Blue.  This was the song voted on the web for the band to play, and it is most known for being one of the longer Stones songs and the only one to have both Mick and Keith share vocals.  “Miss You,” by contrast, has appeared in almost every Rolling Stones concert since its release.  The saxophone has a scorching solo, and the guitarists hammer out heavy metal sounding chords over the dance beat. 

Richards has his two song mini-set with the new song “Thief In The Night” and the rarely played “Wanna Hold You” from Undercover.  Their short B stage set follows with the Chuck Berry cover “Little Queenie” and a rarely played “Crazy Mama” from Black & Blue.  Wood’s contribution to the song is notable.  “Like A Rolling Stone,” with Keith sounding more like Dylan himself, is the last song of this set.  

A string of classic hits ending with “Jumping Jack Flash” close the set.  “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is the first encore and “Brown Sugar,” with long parade and fireworks, is the final encore of the night.  

Memory Motel is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with very basic artwork on the inserts.  There are basic picures from the Japan dates and the same design on the front as found on the other titles in this series.  It is a very good show and a good way to obtain this show outside of investing in the massive box sets.     

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