The Rolling Stones, ‘The Last Time For A While’ (Rattlesnake RS 308/09)
And, lo, the Rolling Stones landed their plane in style. The 13th date on their ‘No Filter’ tour and another widely anticipated show (Full disclosure: I was in the Amsterdam a week after the Stones had played, a conversation with the owner in a local record store revealed he’d seen custom from fans as far as South America and this was just after he’d bought a huge Stones vinyl collection – Good timing!) – Their show was being held at the U arena in Nanterre, Paris – The cities brand new uber-grand stadium that was originally marked to be opened in 2014, beset by problems however, it only opened in October, 2017 and certainly not too soon as the Stones would take the mantle of being the first band to play there. Paris were also lucky for the face as they were playing host to three shows by the Stones – Right at the end of the tour and just as the band had settled in to form.
After a few spotty solos and busted beginnings, Keith, our lead guitarist seemed to have found his form again. Ronnie, Charlie and Mick already full of it, it’s easy to go over the nights reports from the show as still shivery and blinded blitzed fans sat over their keyboards and phones trembling over the Stones experience, thrilled by their experience but if anything they still hadn’t come down over the next few days and the feeling progressed – Listening to this awesome audience recording (Keith’s guitar well up in the mix, Mick’s vocals a shade lower, the uproarious crowd a constant pleasure. I’d be tempted to mention this sounds very close to an IEM matrix were it not for a couple of omissions that I can’t easily explain away and a couple of times when the sound gets clouded over but this for literally seconds. The band themselves are on full form – Slightly changing direction through the set dropping some tracks and slipping in a couple of extras – There are many highlights from the night though; A fizzing ’Sympathy For The Devil’ where Keith and Ronnie bounce around off of each other effortlessly along side a glistening ‘It’s Only Rock N’ Roll’.
The two tracks from the blues album fare very well indeed – Whether it’s the newness of the tracks (To the Stones set that is) or the passion for their playing, these are excellent renditions as is ‘She’s So Cold’, one of the latest tracks to be pulled from the lesser-played-in-the-past-few-years-cupboard.
The web vote tonight is a glorious 50 year old number, ‘She’s A Rainbow’. Slower than it has previously been played, Jagger sometimes struggles to pitch it down, though he could always be swaying towards his romantic tendencies, trying chanson over rock-song, his quavering efforts to replicate Sasha Distel come over a little warbley. Back to type, ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ is a blessing, a delicate piano fills in for the choir at the beginning, Sasha and Bernard do their upmost to twist life in to those bones too, emphatically enough, they do an awesome take. Ronnie’s solo at the middle comes under danger of splintering out and busting the speakers but it’s pulled back by a cats whisker of over-blow and comes out stunningly.
One of the very few misses appears at the beginning of ‘Paint It Black’ as, at 0:43, Keith misjudges his chords and throws out a sickener – One of those moments when the room turns upside down and you momentarily fear for the rest of the song (All because Mick has misplaced his microphone, Keith has missed this and so is put off by Ronnie laughing about what’s gone wrong). Thankfully, it lasts mere seconds and the song is a pugilistic best. ‘Honky Tonk Women’ has a cleaner, simpler sound but is still engaging enough to rock.
coming after the introductions (Including Keith’s of Mick), Keith’s segment is loose to say the least, ‘Happy’, while musically adept, has Keef drawling his lyrics almost struggling to keep pace though it all flops and flails towards the end – it’s not an unpleasant accident though and the way that things seem to fall undone is still rather “Keithish”. ’Slipping Away’ has more of that undone charm – It’ll never be an issue however, these uncorrected and messy moments are undeniably just what makes this two-song trip work.
‘Midnight Rambler’ was written up well from the attendees of the night too and there’s a reason why – The solo in the middle is pure force with a pair of cast iron cahones. Paired with Mick’s wicked and wild harp soloing, the band sound as if they’re trying to beat the beast in to a bloodied submission as the track becomes increasingly dark, Charlie’s urgent and insistent fills only push the insistence further – By the time they get to the second solo, we’re in full flight and the band have started to splinter the weapon that was used to beat the first break with. Their energy still strong, the band whizz through,’Street Fighting Man’, Chuck’s piano proving the perfect bed for Ronnie and Keith’s duelling guitars.
As the show rolled on, ‘Jumping Jack Flash’, enjoys a storming solo that takes off like the Stones private jet – There’s an extended loose chord right at the beginning as Keith seems to have skipped forward a couple of paces too soon (Though maybe he’s playing with the band and dived straight in too ..), the chunky riff bringing everyone to their feet, it’s also the end of any major guitar work from Keith as Ronnie takes up most of the muscle this time around – from some pretty damn graceful peals through the back of ‘Gimme Shelter’ to an, er, interesting solo in ‘Satisfaction’ (Which is played faster than it has been through the rest of the tour, I’m sure and ends, well, as if the band have heard it’s last orders at the bar), it’s the newly energised Mr. Wood who leads the band home.
The covers to this set are the usual Rattlesnake productions – Bright, easy on the eye, packed with pictures and intelligently written liner notes (Though I’d be wary if I was the authors neighbour, maybe). A classy product thru and thru – Pretty damn irresistible.