The Rolling Stones, “Ralph Wilson Stadium 2015” (No Label)
Live at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, New York, NY, USA, 11th July, 2015
Disk one; Intro / Jumpin’ Jack Flash / It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll / You Got Me Rocking / Tumbling Dice / Out Of Control / Wild Horses / Can’t You Hear Me Knocking / Let’s Spend The Night Together / Honky Tonk Women / Band Introduction / Before They Make Me Run / Happy
Disk two; Midnight Rambler / Miss You / Gimme Shelter / Start Me Up / Sympathy For The Devil / Brown Sugar / You Can’t Always Get What You Want / Satisfaction
These are the days where, if you’re at a show by one of the ‘end of an era’ bands, you can float home on the buzz of a show, have a sleep (Or sit up till dawn with a few beers if inclined) and some point in the next day or so, go online and someone is more than likely to have posted the show online. In fact, very rarely does a show not get uploaded or preserved. This comes in two hands for the bootleggers as they can either strip their works from the internet, press it, present a beautiful cover (As the No Label gang usually do) and then for the completists who’d rather the physical item, we’ll collect it.
Another of these disks is the this recording from the Ralph Wilson stadium in Buffalo, New York where we find the Stones midway through their ‘Zip Code’ tour – partly promo vehicle for the Stones 50th anniversary but also with regards to the re-issue of the Stones classic 1971 album, ‘Sticky Fingers’.
Setting itself a little further apart from the earlier leg of this august affair by dropping in a few tracks from the album – the two main omissions of the set being that Mick Taylor wasn’t asked back to reprise any of his guitar work from the album (He was only used lightly last time anyway) and saxophonist Bobby Keys who had passed away in December 2014, his soul was keenly felt upon the emergence of the Stax sound that Mick Jagger had wanted on the album at the time.
That’s not to say that most Stones fans wouldn’t have sold their grannies for a shot at seeing the band for another show, the sound may have been shifted but the energy was still there. It’s now patently true that Keef isn’t about as good as he used to be before, several solos suffer for it but the sight of the human riff on stage is enough to set people buzzing again.
So, the show and it’s recording (Which is why you’re really reading this review) – The No Label group have used a distant recording from the middle of the crowd, despite how bad it COULD have sounded, the audience noise that shudders around the recording still makes it sound like the Stones are playing a gig in Wall Street only slightly off sets the recording, if, like me, you always have your ears pricked by music, whether you’re shopping for groceries or are out for a meal and you hear the bass line to ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, you’ll find that you can live with this fuzz. The main thing that hit me was the recording is a little too trebley, you can push up the bass all you need but it’s not really there and so it rankles -If you’re more of a head-phones-at-home-listener, not so bad, if you listen while commuting, not so good.
Bottom line – if you were there, if you need everything, if you need two shows from the ‘Zip Code’ tour, you’ll like this and you’ll listen to it, once, twice, three times. If you’re anyone else, look for better or the official recordings – There are more.