Out There In Babylon (Dandelion DL004)
Intro – Satisfaction / It’s Only Rock n’ Roll ( But I Like It ) / Tumblin’ Dice / Anybody Seen My Baby / Sister Morphine / Out of Control / Gimmie Shelter / Anybody Seen My Baby / Out Of Control / Interview (53:00)
Additional to the year long stadium tour that the Stones played with regards to promotion for the ‘Bridges To Babylon’ album there were also the usual appearances on TV shows around the globe. The major performance of which was MTV’s ’10 Spot’ – The nightly magazine programme that brought MTV it’s highest viewing figures. The fledgling Dandelion label ( The little brother to the mighty Midnight Beat ) scooped some of these performances up and pulled them together for a quality ( if short ) compilation.
The two opening tracks are from, what sounds like, an FM recording of the tour that began in Chicago, IL on the 23rd of September 1997. A very close recording with a lot of audience noise and participation.
“Satisfaction” begins with the sound effects to the tour ( Ominous thundering drums, animal noises and jungle calls ) and then a burst of applause as the shows real spectacle begins.
Once the band enter the stage, the excitement reaches fever pitch for the first few bars of the song. As usual it seems to be a wobbly affair as Keith strikes up and the pitch of the riff fluctuates before Charlie comes in and steadies the beat to manageable proportions.
Jagger’s slurring, eaking and camping are, as always, magnificent while he further whips up the crowds enthusiasm.
The second track is the B-stage regular “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll ( But I Like It ) but on this first stadium show of the tour, it’s given rare billing as the second song played. A robust version with Chuck’s tinkling keys to the forefront before Keith hammers in with a few cool, reverential riffs.
The second section of the disk features the tracks that were broadcast on the Ten Spot program ( It was, apparently, the stones decision to have only 5 songs broadcast from the possible 11 that were played. maybe they’ll all make it out to the official bootleg release schedule at some point. ) on the 25th of October, 1997. The stones were supposed to be the first band to headline on the show, recording on the 19th of October but due to Mick taking ill ( a matter that he alludes to after the first track ) rescheduled for the 25th with David Bowie taking the crown as first.
The show is considered to be a great one in Stones fans eye’s. The band relishing the fact that they were playing eye to eye in a small capacity theatre ( 1,850 to be precise. ) The fact that this is all captured in a truly brilliant quality sound is a great boon too.
“Tumblin’ Dice” spills out nicely, a quicker pace than the album version but live energy often does that to songs, the muted brass an appealing diversion to the bare bones of the song. Ron working Mick Taylor’s parts well and Charlie’s jazz fills adding a nice swing to proceedings.
On promotional duties, the lead single from the album, the rap-ballad-funk single “Anybody Seen My Baby” is played out. Another reputable rendition for a song that, for me, doesn’t speak volumes for the late 1990’s career for the Stones. The rap is shawn away from the rest of the song for a short spot of MC-ing which mentions the MTV broadcast.
A small club favorite, “Sister Morphine” is less sinister, more show-man than you might expect having treatment from a full bands electric sound and less of the harrowing production laid on it on the ‘Sticky Fingers’ LP . It certainly hold the bands bad-boy credentials true by giving the song an airing on prime-time TV ( Accepting the fact that the song was also played out on the tour as one of the songs to be picked as the web-vote. )
“Out of Control” follows, another track from the current album and a little more exciting than the previous single. The urban, smokey feel attributed by the inclusion of the jazzy sax solo, reminiscent of Sting’s “Englishman In New York” gives a darker feel than “Anybody Seen .. ” and would have been better introducing the album.
The final song broadcast was another dark and brooding track, “Gimmie Shelter”. A standard to pretty much any Stones show and one that gives as much back to Lisa Fischer as it does to the band as hers is the staring role, taking over Mary Staples’ part as the strong female part that reflects off of Jagger’s towards the climax.
The final two tracks come from the odd-bedfellow-to-a music-TV-channel VH1 Fashion awards from the previous day to the Ten Spot show appearance ( The 24th of October. )
This is purely a promotional event with the two ‘Bridges .. ‘ singles played. No real fireworks, no nuances, just a solid run through.
The end of the disk is furnished with a short interview that is unidentified ( Sounds like it could be recorded from a TV broadcast. ) It features brief sound bites with Keith, Mick and Charlie interspersed with various tracks from throughout the bands career.
The disk would have been an interesting release at the time but His Masters Choice chose to add the 10 Spot broadcast to their “Danger! Keep Behind Barbed Wire” release in 2009 thus misplacing the best part of this release. It’s still worthy as part of your Midnight Beat / Dandelion / Rattlesnake collection but otherwise best left to the completist now.