Where’s Bobby K?
(Godfather Records GR 816/817)
Telstra Stadium, Sydney, Australia – April 11th, 2006
Disc 1 (53:02): Intro, Jumping Jack Flash, Let’s Spend The Night Together, You Got Me Rocking, Oh No Not You Again, Dead Flowers, Angie, It’s Only Rock’n Roll, Tumbling Dice, Night Time Is The Right Time, Band Introductions, This Place Is Empty (Keith), Happy (Keith)
Disc 2 (6048): Miss You (to B-stage), Rough Justice, Get Off Of My Cloud, Honky Tonk Women (to main stage), Paint It Black, Sympathy For The Devil, Start Me Up, Brown Sugar, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Satisfaction
After The Rolling Stones played Japan on the Bigger Bang tour, a series of shows meticulously documented by the Japanese bootleg labels that summer, the band played their first ever show in mainland China on April 8th in Shanghai. The final four gigs of the first third of the tour were in Australia starting on April 11th in Sydney.
When the Stones last visited Sydney on the Licks tour in 2003, they played at the 2,200 seat Enmore Theatre and two nights in the 17,000 capacity SuperDome. But the Bigger Bang tour saw them play the 58,000 capacity Telstra Stadium. Ticket sales were slow for this gig, it wound up being the third biggest audience of the first leg of the tour, trailing their the massive gig in Rio de Janiero on February 18th in front of 2 million and their Super Bowl set in Detroit on February 5th in front of 65,000.
Some of the fan reviews complained that the sound was very muddy, especially at the beginning. Godfather use an excellent stereo audience tape that has some of that quality. It’s loud, slightly bass heavy and details can sometimes get lost, but is nonetheless a very enjoyable recording.
And what does come through is a tremendous amount of excitement and energy. The Sydney Morning Herald states in a review the following day, “OF COURSE it started with a bang. At exactly 9pm, fireworks erupted from the highest point of the stage, and asteroids hurtled towards the audience on the big screen.
“Keith Richards appeared first, a black guitar slung around his knees. He chopped out the dirty, distorted riff that introduces Jumping Jack Flash, and people leapt to their feet, sending white plastic chairs skittling behind them.
“‘Ah was ba-hn, in a crossfire hurricane,’ sang Sir Mick, resplendent in a sparkly scarlet jacket and shiny scarlet shirt. He raced across the stage, clapping and pointing at invisible demons like a Southern Baptist minister in full flight.
“It is unlikely that many fans were there to hear songs from the band’s new album, A Bigger Bang. They came, as they always come, to hear the back catalogue of classics. Perhaps they had also come to see whether Jagger was still the inspiration for every brattish, camp frontman from David Bowie to Jarvis Cocker. And to see if Richards could still wring magic from his guitar. They can, of course – because, to borrow one of the titles of their own songs, it’s only rock’n’roll but they like it. As Richards once said: ‘Getting old is a fascinating thing. The older you get the older you want to be.'”
After the introduction the band start with “Jumping Jack Flash.” Charlie is a bit too fast for the band, but they settle into a nice groove and for twenty minutes the band play energetic opening numbers “Let’s Spend The Night Together,” a fun “You Got Me Rocking” and a rough version of “Oh No Not You Again” that borders on chaos.
The set list has minor variations. “Dead Flowers” is a welcome surprise and is followed by “Angie” featuring Richards’ nimble fingers. “Tumbling Dice” is another song that is a bit rough and comes close to breaking down.
Jagger tells they audience they’re going to play a song by their favorite blues pianists Ray Charles before a cover of “Night Time Is the Right Time,” a definite high point of the show.
During the band introductions Jagger calls Ron Wood the “Rembrandt of rock” and Charlie Watts the “Wembley Whammer.” Charlie came out to the mic and mentioned that Australia lost the Ashes to England in cricket. Mick followed up by saying that they might make it down to Australia in January to see one of the matches.
Keith follows with his two songs set. The new “This Place Is Empty” and “Happy.”
The second disc starts with “Miss You” as they move to the B-stage. This is always a high point of the show and the vast audience are very vocal in their approval, singing and clapping along. The new “Rough Justice,” “Get Off Of My Cloud” and “Honky Tonk Women” complete this part of the show.
There is a short interval of crowd noise as they get ready for the finale. The opening strains of “Paint It Black” fill the stadium and set a more serious atmosphere compared to the celebratory nature of the rest of the concert. “Sympathy For The Devil,” dominated by Chuck Leavell’s piano, continues the trend.
The set ends with “Start Me Up” and “Brown Sugar” with the encores “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and a raucous version of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
Unofficial releases for the early part of the Bigger Bang tour were dominated by the Japan shows (for obvious reasons). The Australian dates were unfairly overlooked and releasing this show isn’t an attempt to capitalize on the souvenir aspect of the show, but rather upon the show’s historic import. The Sydney show is generally excellent and worthy of a silver release. Where’s Bobby K? (the title refers to the missing saxophone player Bobby Keyes whose absence isn’t explained) is a nice production worth having.