The Rolling Stones “Miami Rehearsals 1994” (No Label)
Stop Breaking Down #1 / Stop Breaking Down #2 / Angie #1 / Beast Of Burden #1 / Beast of Burden #2 / Angie #2 / Dead Flowers / Sweet Virginia / Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heart Breaker) / Live With Me #1 / Live With Me #2 (With Cheryl Crow) / Live With Me #3 (With Cheryl Crow) / Who Do You Love #1 ( With Bo Diddley) / Who Do You Love #2 (With Bo Diddley) / Who Do You Love #3 (With Bo Diddley) / Stop Breaking Down #1 (With Robert Cray) / Stop Breaking Down #2 (With Robert Cray) [79:55]
Recently released via Wolfgangs Vault and subsequently bootlegged, this vintage rehearsal set from the “Voodoo Lounge” tour presents us with almost 80 minutes of stunning soundboard rehearsals with the band on location at the Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami, FL on the 24th of November, 1994 after a days break from the stage while the Stones moved between Tampa and Miami. The show was given a Pay-Per-View status and was one of the only times that the band has participated in this new system for broadcasting concerts.
The full show has been released before on “Tooth And Nail” (Octopus OCTO 064/65), “Miami Dice” (Kiss The Stone KTS 388/89), “Live At Joe Robbie Stadium” (Swingin’ Pig TSP-CD-182-2) amongst others as, as we mentioned, as it was broadcast in it’s entirety, they’re generally in beautiful stereo.
For todays warm up, the band rehearse 8 out of a possible 27 of the songs that were played that following evening, some of them rehearsed with their respective guests of the night – Robert Cray, Cheryl Crow (The first time she would appear with the band) and Bo Diddley with whom the band had played so many times before it’s surprising that he wasn’t auditioned after Mick Taylor’s departure.
The tape begins with two takes on Robert Johnson’s “Stop Breaking Down”, Charlie and Chuck bring it in for the rest of the band to follow. Mick’s voice sounds tired and ragged though and at the start it’s hard to believe that what you’re hearing is actually him. This is prior to warming up though obviously and so, as the rehearsals wander on, Jagger’s voice begins to ripen.
By the time we get to the first take of “Angie”, Mick’s vocals are beginning to break in a little for this ballad but he does appear to be stood slightly further away from the mike. It’s a short rendition though as it breaks down soon into the first verse as Keith seems to be unimpressed with the results.
Two takes of “Beast Of Burden” follow, the first almost entirely instrumental, a nice languid pace for this ‘Some Girls’ album track and it’s obvious that it’s for the benefit of Ronnie and Keef to warm up their own parts. Ably abetted by Chuck’s keys, the piece is a great listen. It ends to Jagger discussing that they pick up the track again at Ronnie’s solo and take it from there so Jagger can rehearse his vocals.The second run through features the full band with backing vocals starting at precisely where they said they would begin again.
The next take on Angie is more rounded than the first, Jagger’s sounding like himself again, the band seem to have their issues sorted and a glistening variation of the song is produced. Mick’s comment at the end though sounds like he wasn’t too pleased to have run through it again though.
“Dead Flowers” is a passable attempt at this song, the acoustic guitars seem to clash a little from time to time but, again, Mick’s vocals are superbly warmed up. Keith has a chuckle about the style of the track afterwards as Charlie tests out the sound of his drums.
A fluttering “Sweet Virginia” follows, Mick calling the shots where he saw fit, a slow, great groove with a superb Bobby Keys sax solo and Chuck Levell’s gracious way with the piano.
The last of the singular performances concludes with a very piecemeal “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”. Starting off with a noodling keyboard intro in to the spicy riff.
Mick joins in as and when just for effect, prompting the others, pulling points when things need reining in. He sounds more distracted or disinterested but it’s presumably as they’re just warming up he’s saving his screams for the next night.
Three takes of “Live With Me” follow, the first is a fast paced instrumental that lasts less than a minute after the band get it together. The rest of the track is filled with Jagger’s instructions to Cheryl Crow and the band. The unfortunate thing is that the chatter appears on track ten when it should really be the beginning of track 11. If you’re listening to the CD the full way through, it doesn’t matter so much. With your iPod selecting tracks, it wouldn’t make much sense, minor quibble that it is.
The second take also features the horn section and Cheryl also joins in, forgetting lyrics (it’s only fair, it’s not her song) and sparing with Jagger when called upon. There’s more conversation and guitar noodling afterwards but it’s difficult to hear just what’s being said as Mick and Cheryl are off mic.
The third take begins with a false start, then blows heavily through a near perfect version. It’s just the lyrics that are causing problems again otherwise but the band know their stuff for sure.
“Who Do You Love” takes it’s turn in three versions, the first another instrumental warm up, various runs through of blues riffs as the band get to grips with it all then, just as it all begins to take shape, it breaks down. It only takes a couple of seconds for the band to reconvene and flesh it back out again though and their first successive pass goes off like thunder. Once that comes to a natural ending, more fiddling about with instrumentation, Jagger makes an announcement about transport then the band fool around with a little more jamming. It’s not a highly productive 6 minutes but it’s interesting to hear how the band float about with Bo in the room
Another take and it’s much more cohesive, a brief start, some tuning, then the song itself. By now the Stones are in full flow, Bo has sharpened his voice enough to know he can get away with a shout, a holler and a wail just for one track. Towards the end though, things start to slip towards messy jam-ambling. One suspects that the band know they can nail it, it’s just fun times for them.
The last shot at this song is essentially more of the same – jamming around on the central theme of “Who Do You Love” but spinning it out like an extended coda. It takes Mick and Bo three minutes to jump in on vocals and then they bounce off each others lines like rubber putty. It’s certainly the most thrilling this rehearsal set gets until they fall to a breathless ending. It’s time then for more jamming between Bo and Keith as they jostle around on guitar together for a few minutes after this, Charlie pulls in a few fills in the distance, Chuck paddles around on the keys.
The two run throughs of “Stop Breaking Down” are less in the same vein, mean mess arounds but the band do more to engender some real work while they live the lives they lead and play around with their friends. It is a more formulated bash around at the song and with Jagger’s attention focused (because of Robert Cray’s attendance?) he gives it a little more umph.
The second and final take features a little Cray vocalisation but it’s Jagger’s game and it’s Mick that takes over the most. It’s only towards the end that the song becomes more of a free run as the band wind down and take their chance to play around.
This CD has also seen a release as a 2 CDR set – Although the price for that wasn’t prohibitive then it very possibly came as close to the cost of this single CD which features less waste. It is, therefore, your choice as to whether a silver disk floats your boat more or if you prefer the other companies artwork (although this CD is a very attractive looking set.)
We have a few more soundboard rehearsals from the 1990’s but each and every one has it’s own certain nuances which each fan would enjoy. A fantastic listen and great fun. Highly recommended.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)