Washington 2013 (no label)
Verizon Center, Washington, DC – June 24, 2013
Disc 1 (56:51): Intro, Get Off Of My Cloud, It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It), Paint It Black, Gimme Shelter, Worried About You, Street Fighting Man, Emotional Rescue, Doom And Gloom, One More Shot, Honky Tonk Women
Disc 2 (79:11): Band Introductions, You Got The Silver, Before They Make Me Run, Midnight Rambler (w/Mick Taylor), Miss You, Start Me Up, Tumbling Dice, Brown Sugar, Sympathy For The Devil, You Can’t Always Get What You Want w/ The Washington Choir), Jumpin’ Jack Flash, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (w/ Mick Taylor)
The June 24th show at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C was the 18th and final concert in the 2013 American leg of the “50 and Counting” anniversary tour.
The No Name label utilizes an excellent stereo audience recording with just enough audience noise to give the recording a very lively three dimensional feel to it. If not for a very slight hollowness to the vocals at times, you get with audience recordings, you could easily mistake this for a SB recording. Mick’s vocals are slightly forward at times, but not overpowering in the mix, with all the instruments very crisp and clear and well balanced.
One of the great things about this short tour is that there is either SB or VG to EX audience recordings readily available, on the Rolling Stones IORR forum, for every show to anyone who has the bandwidth and time to download them. The audience recordings are so good that the Wonderland label has released two 14CD box sets of recordings from this tour covering 14 of the 18 shows which do not include this show!
Having listened to most of the shows from this tour I found that the performances were very variable. Some night’s performances are excellent but more often than not the band sounded under rehearsed and out of sync on some songs. Washington was no exception with some songs sounding very good to excellent with others out of sync with embarrassing missed cues and bum notes.
The show begins with prerecorded snippets of fan comments about the Stones while a collage of fan pictures flashed on the giant video screen behind the stage which leads into a prerecorded tribal drum intro.
After the tribal drum intro ends an announcer exclaims “Ladies and Gentlemen will you please welcome the Rolling Stones!” and the band kicks into a nice version of “Get Off of My Cloud” to start the show.
What happens next is symptomatic of when things go bad as Ronnie starts IORR in the wrong key and the rest of the band seem confused and don’t join in. Ronnie continues to vamp the intro while Mick asks the band “ You wanna stop, You wanna stop?, “Take a minute”, “Ronnie, Ronnie”……Woods quickly changes key, too which Mick responds “Go on then” and the band joins in as the song wobbles on. For some reason this song has been giving the band problems this tour as they had the same issue at the first Boston show I attended.
The band recovers their composure and Mick chats with the audience before the band gives an excellent version of “Paint it Black”. Just when you think the band is building some steam Keef’s intro to “Gimme Shelter” sounds weak and out of tune. He sounds like he is a step behind the rest of the band at times and I found this version of my favorite song to be a little flat and lifeless.
Next Up is a Song Mick introduces “Worried About You” as “I Wonder Why” where he jokingly tells the audience he has to find out what key the song will be in before it starts. The band does a good job on this underrated song from the much maligned “Black and Blue” album. While Mick struggles to sing in falsetto Ronnie plays some nice crisp solos which keeps the song on course.
Mick then announces the fan pick for the night is “Street Fighting Man” which is one of the highlights of the show for me. The first half of the show closes with competent versions of the old warhorses, “Emotional Rescue” and “Honky Tonk Women”, which sandwich the two new songs, “Doom and Gloom” and “One More Shot” from the latest Greatest Hits package. Maybe it just me but I find the band to be energized playing these new songs and it makes me wish they would get back in the studio and make some more new music together.
The second half of the show begins with the band introductions leading into Keef’s two songs. Being a huge Keith Richard’s fan these are always highlights for me and Keith chats up the crowd with his old slapstick line “Good to be here, good to be anywhere” and then tells the crowd “Love you all and to prove it I’m going to sing for you”. He follows with excellent versions of “You Got the Silver” and “Before They Make Me Run” with some tasty slide playing from Ronnie which causes Keef to tell the crowd “Big hand for Ronnie Wood’s I say!”.
I have seen every Stones Tour since my first show, in 1975 at Madison Square Garden in New York, and always lamented I was too young to see the band with Mick Taylor. So when it was announced he would be playing with the band on this tour I made it a mission to get tickets to see the band when they came to Boston. Mick T. did not disappoint as his playing on “Midnight Rambler” makes this song the highlight of not only this show but the highlight of the tour for me. He adds another dimension to the song and gives the band an energy lacking when playing the old warhorses. He once again steals the show as the band rips through another excellent version of the song with him leading the way. It is a shame they limited him to only two songs every show as he raises the bands playing and energy to another level.
The band closes out the show with the usual warhorses but they seem to play with an increased energy level after playing with Mick T. Another highlight in every show for me is “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” with the local city choir from the city they are playing in at the time.
The No Name label always puts out quality releases and this is no exception as it is an excellent sounding show from beginning to end. It comes in a double jewel case with glossy inserts and a sticker claiming “limited edition” with the edition number. My copy was 203 but they don’t state how many copies make up this “limited edition”.
While not essential this would make a great addition to any Stones fans silver disc collection as long as you can accept some occasional rough edges to this tours performances.
As a side note when interviewed during the tour Keef was asked about a 60th anniversary tour and told Classic Rock magazine: “I’ve been hooked on everything once or twice in my life. The one thing I can’t kick is playing with The Rolling Stones. All these zeros that keep zooming by… 30, 40, 50 years. I don’t really see any reason why there shouldn’t be a 60th. Either that or we croak on the job.”
So as long as they all keep their health maybe this is not the last time!