Stoning The Coliseum (Godfather Records GR 605)
Oakland, CA. Alameda County Coliseum, November 9, 1969. Second Show.
Introduction / Jumpin’ Jack Flash / Carol / Sympathy For The Devil / Stray Cat Blues / Prodigal Son / You Gotta Move / Love In Vain / I’m Free / Under My Thumb / Midnight Rambler / Live With Me / Gimmie Shelter / Little Queenie / Satisfaction / Honky Tonk Women / Street Fighting Man [ 74:45 ]
Towards the end of 2010 a new source appeared for the second Rolling Stones Oakland, November 1969 show. Originally premiered on D&C’s “Live’r Than You’ll Ever Be” which also featured the evening’s opening acts plus the original FM soundboard source of Bill Graham’s & the old TMoQ source from years ago.
The Don has gone for a pared down effort presenting us with just the Stones set ( As the opening supports sets were fragmentary then it would seem that their inclusion would be like that of the bonus to the anniversary release of “Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out!” – Only worth the effort for the überfan. ) which, unlike previous releases of this show is complete – right from the introduction to the end of Street Fighting Man.
It has been suggested that the tape used for this release is marred by its distance from the stage but even in it’s current state it sounds fantastic. There do appear to be a couple of fluctuations in volume within the first couple of minutes of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” but this could be due to the age of the tape or the volume being set as the Stones kick off.
While it’s a mono source, the tape also sounds open towards the end of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” For instance, as the guitar fades, it sounds as if you’re standing within the audience. A good set of headphones will take you right in there.
He apologizes for the lateness of the bands arrival before the band roll in to “Carol” – The foremost instruments that are heard are Bill Wyman’s truculent &; Mick Taylor’s burning guitar parts – His soloing tonight is magnificent. Throughout all this Jagger’s vocals are clear enough for every word that’s sung – he’s obviously found his knack again based on the excited laughter that he emits various times throughout the track.
Straight into a crunchy, sharp “Sympathy for the Devil” – Jagger’s take on Charles Baudelaire’s writing or steal from Mikhail Bulgarkov’s recently translated novel “The Master & Margarita”. Building up his showmanship Jagger really enunciates the lyrics rather than slurring or drawling them. Towards the end the instrumentation clears to a simple & quiet crawl before racing back with a roar while Jagger unleashes his whoops & howls. It’s a basic trick that musicians have been using for years but it never fails to build anticipation for whats about to build.
“Stray Cat Blues” is the infamous live variant where Jagger, tongue firmly in cheek, brings his conquests age down to 13 years old, obviously wishing to toe the line where these matters were concerned, he also wanted to bring the focus back “To the ladies .. ” The Ribald tone of the track either engendering his fascination with them or repelling them.
Stools are brought out to the stage for the band to seat themselves for the acoustic section of “Prodigal Son” & “You Gotta Move”. The clear form of the tape ensuring that we hear Jagger’s scat singing between verses but also that there’s a little ambient air on the tape. This isn’t too distracting but is noticeable most on the longer sections of silence on the tape.
“Love in Vain” brings back the electric guitar & a chance for Jagger to raise his voice again. Nearly splitting hairs at the space left by his beloved as she boards the train. A fact that he acknowledges when the song ends.
“I’m Free”, the 1965 track by the Stones, is a crawling, slouched, feline rendition of this track. A quiet solo by Taylor lacing itself throughout the middle section while the rest of the band plod, velvet underground like, throughout their motions.
Announced as ‘Under my crust .. Ok, Oldies but goodies’, “Under My Thumb” is now free of the various volume problems that plagued the previous recordings of this track & sounds all the better for it
Another ‘New one’ from ‘Beggars Banquet’ – “Midnight Rambler” finds Jagger in full str-ec-hed out phrases American mode. Pausing at the most violent points of the song for prurient effect. “Everything new, I hope you don’t mind us doin’ things that are new .. but we tend to groove on new things just a little bit, y’know .. Rock ‘n’ roll, here we go” “Live With Me” follows & would have been one of Mick Taylor’s introductions to the band the song have been written & recorded in May. It’s one of there briefest tracks tracks tonight.
“Gimme Shelter” would be the last of the most recent tracks tonight. Thankfully, as it’s not augmented by Merry Clayton, then the instrumentation comes into it’s own & brings it’s own demonic qualities – a stunning percussion section blusters through Charlie’s jazz chops spilling over through the rumble ready bass while Mick Taylor’s wild guitar dueling with Keith intensifies with each beat.
The house lights are brought up at Jagger’s request so he can see the sparkle of the audience before the band wheel out the oldies twofer of “Little Queenie” & “Satisfaction” – The first featuring none of the drop outs of earlier recordings before the “Arse shaking” begins in earnest as the Stones sprawl throughout “Satisfaction” to the audiences obvious joy. Mick Taylor has been waiting for this too as his wild, screeching guitar solo really lets loose & blows holes in the air.
The final two tracks for tonight “Honky Tonk Women” & “Street Fighting Man” are preceded by a request from Jagger for help as the band are a little hoarse by now & could do with the help of the audience. I shouldn’t think there wasn’t a fan in the room that couldn’t sing these word for word.
Through Charlie’s force – 9 stomp through the end of “Honky Tonk .. ” to the turned-to-eleven spirit of “Street Fighting Man” the band really break out all the forces & stamp their enthusiasm on to the night. The tape continues on a good 25 – 30 after the band have finished to feature the noise of applause, the stomping on the floor that heightens that gesture & even includes the first bars of the closing music – A tradition that seems to be lost on a lot of todays performers.
The packaging is nothing below the Don’s usual fantastic standard. A beautiful portrait of Jagger on stage highlighted by blue stage light & the delicate pinch of he pink scarf that he’s wearing on the cover while the back features a poster for the concert that dressed the other releases of this show.
Inside we have more stage & promo shots ( Including the “A drug free America .. ” shot from 1972 ) – The negative Kodachrome shots in this instance are fantastic studies of singular shots – hike this time we’re treated to a mini poster that features an entrancing photo of Jagger on stage showing off to the crowd while the reverse features a blurred image of a top-hatted Mick, and unawares Keith & Charlie under a listing of the 1969 American tour dates ( Rightly omitting Altamont which, rather than being part of the headlining tour, was a stand-alone concert all of its own. )
If you have to have everything in one place then the D&C compilation will suit your needs. If you have them already then the Godfather has seen you right for this show. A fantastic piece.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)