The Rolling Stones – West German Roll Over (Godfather Records GR 500)

West German Roll Over (Godfather Records GR 500)

Grugahalle, Essen, West Germany – October 7th, 1970

(77:28):  Jumping Jack Flash, Roll Over Beethoven, Sympathy For The Devil, Stray Cat Blues, Love In Vain, Dead Flowers, Midnight Rambler, Live With Me, Let It Rock, Little Queenie, Brown Sugar.  Bonus tracks, Sporthalle, Cologne, Germany – September 18th, 1970:  Roll Over Beethoven, Sympathy For The Devil, Stray Cat Blues, Brown Sugar, Honky Tonk Women, Street Fighting Man

The Rolling Stones’ Essen gig on October 7th, 1970 is the penultimate night of the tour.  Most of the show exists on a very clear audience recording.  All of the instruments are clear with an emphasis on the high end.  It has been in almost constant circulation for forty years with a vinyl release on European Tour 1970 (RS 108) which was the source for the first compact disc title Midnight Rambler.

Vinyl Gang released Essen twice.  The first was Slowly Rockin’ On (VGP-249) released in 2000 and paired with the September 24th Paris show.  Their second was Two Great Albums Cheap (VGP-348) paired with the 1972 Hollywood Palladium show. 

West German Roll Over contains the complete tape as it survived.  It begins at the start of the show and runs out by the end of “Brown Sugar.”  The taper pauses the tape between most of the songs so he could fit in as much of the show as possible.  The final two songs, “Honky Tonk Women” and “Street Fighting Man” are still unfortunately missing and are probably lost forever.   

Godfather sounds on par with the latter Vinyl Gang release.  The volume is a bit louder but it remains very clear and enjoyable. 

Essen is one of the best documents from this era.  While the concern for the preceding year’s tour was The Stones’ adaptation to current trends in rock and roll live performance, by Europe 1970 they acquired a certain slickness to the arrangements and were able to deliver an amazing performance each night even punctuated by their first time with a modest horn section on some of the songs.

The strength is displayed in the first two numbers, excellent performances of “Jumping Jack Flash” and “Roll Over Beethoven” which prompts Jagger to remark “out of sight!”  When they get into the “Sympathy For The Devil” jam they hit parts of unbeaerable tension. 

After “Love In Vain” they drop the acoustic numbers “Prodigal Son” and “You Gotta Move.”  Either of these two, or both, were performed sporadically on this tour, but the band decided to have an all-electric show in Essen so they follow with the new song “Dead Flowers.”

Before “Live With Me” there is a short delay while guitars are tuned prompts Jagger to joke:  “We’ll be with you in one second.  We’ll be right with you in one second.  Ice creams will be served in the foyer.”  And “Brown Sugar” is “a new song I hope you dig.”  Hearing the Sticky Fingers live before the release of the album invites the listener to be in the place of the audience, hearing the songs before they became classics when they were fresh and the cutting edge of the Stones’ creativity.

Godfather fill out the rest of the discs with a six song excerpt from the September 18th Cologne show.  The entire concert has been issued before, most recently on Germany 1970 (Dog N Cat DAC-070).  The sound quality on Godfather is comparable to DAC.  West German Roll Over is a very good Rolling Stones release.  The Essen tape is one of the most enjoyable from this obscure era and has only been available on the expensive and hard to find Vinyl Gang releases.  This is affordable, nicely packaged and sounds great.   

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  1. Considering these are 1970 recordings they are excellent in my opinion. I would like to thank the tapers for capturing both in this quality. This release comes in the usual Godfather packaging and includes a replica mini poster including all the 1970 European dates and a descriptive 4 page insert about this tour.


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