Ralph Wilson Stadium 2015 (No Label)
Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, New York, USA – July 11, 2015
Disc 1 (64:47) Intro, Jumping Jack Flash, It’s Only Rock And 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
Disc 2 (71:11) Midnight Rambler, Miss You, Gimme Shelter, Start Me Up, Sympathy For The Devil, Brown Sugar, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Satisfaction
The Rolling Stones 2015 tour of the United States would be made up of 15 stadium dates that began May 24 in San Diego and finished July 15 in Quebec, Canada. The band also played a warm up date at the intimate Fonda Theater in Los Angeles that was quite unique, they played the entire Sticky Fingers record to celebrate its deluxe reissue. It’s always an event when the Stones tour, and tapers were out in full force and all the shows were recorded in some fashion and at least 13 of the shows have seen some kind of bootleg release, a couple getting the deluxe audio and video treatment.
This new release from the folks at No Label features the second to last concert on the tour at Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. It is an excellent audience source that is clear and well defined. Taper must have used wind screens as there was no real wind noise detected, there is the typical audience noise at times, during some of the quieter songs you can hear faint conversations yet did not really detract from my enjoyment of the recording. For an open air stadium gig, the taper did a great job capturing the excitement of the event. The intro is basic, and sounds a bit like a KISS intro and Keef’s guitar breaks the tension and the band plows into Jumping Jack Flash, the arrangement harkens back to the original studio version that gets the audience clapping along. With no new music to speak of, the band can play selections from their vast and illustrious back catalog, while the latter portion of the show would be made up of stalwarts, the earlier half found the band switching songs around nightly.
You Got Me Rocking is very strong with some nice slide work from Woody, in fact his playing is a highlight for me, he is nicely in the mix and plays. Mick gives a shout out to people from New York City and various places prior to launching into Tumbling Dice and the song has a bit of a country feel again thanks to Woody’s leads. The band play two from Sticky Fingers, you can hear a conversation at the beginning of Wild Horses that makes you want to say shut the hell up, they always wait for the quiet sections although you can hear audience signing in the distance that is nice, this is one of those songs that makes you really appreciate Mick’s vocals, his delivery on the song is spot on. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking is played with that Keef swagger, Woody’s solo in the jazzy section is great and for me makes the song.
Richards gets his chance to sing on a couple songs, after being introduced by Mick he says “good to be back…good to be anywhere, alright?” and has the crowd laughing. The first is Before They Make Me Run from Some Girls, one of his more introspective songs about his troubles in the mid to late 70’s, his vocals are strong and delivery of pure Keef. The song also has some great guitar interplay between him and Woody and sounds like they are having a great time playing together, he gets a nice round of applause and shouts of “Keith”. Happy finishes his vocal duties and is a typical rousing with the back up singers handling Mick’s vocal portion. Mick return’s via a bit of blues harp and Keith fiddling around as a prelude to Midnight Rambler, I love these kind of intros, as it gets a little atmosphere going and when the band break into the song proper it is very strong. Not only is this song a fan favorite, there are no back up singers and has the 70’s feel to it and has an uncluttered vibe to it. During the quiet middle section it sounds like Mick was humming You Got To Move and almost expected them to break into it, and while I missed Mick Taylor’s playing from the 50 and Counting shows, Woody rips out a killer solo that had me smiling.
Mick tells the audience they have been playing Buffalo since 1966 prior to Miss You, this song features some really nice playing from Chuck Leavell. I am a huge fan of Chuck, his playing during the late 72-76 era of the Allman Brothers Band in unparalleled and I consider him a genius and am glad he has a great gig with a band of this magnitude. The playing on Gimme Shelter is great although I wish the band would stop using backing singers on the song, Mick’s voice is still strong and their presence is too much of a contrast. Standard versions of Sympathy and Brown Sugar finish the main set in fine fashion. You Can’t Always Get What You Want would feature a different Choir from each city the band would play, on this night the Calvary Episcopal Church Choir gets the nod and provide an interesting flair to the song. Satisfaction finishes the song on a high note, the audience sings along with Mick making for a party like atmosphere and ends in a flurry of fireworks.
The packaging is typical full color inserts adorned with an event poster mixed in amongst live shots taken from the actual gig. There is a numbered sticker and the Cd’s have pictures on them. With so many releases on the market one certainly has to do a bit of research in deciding what to get, and for the fan who does not need everything, this is a nice title to own. Great recording that sounds even better when played loud and the band is in fine form to boot.