Live 666 (Tarantura TCDRS-7-1, 2)
Pavilion de Paris, Paris, France – June 6th, 1976
Disc 1 (58:07): Opening SE, Honky Tonk Women, If You Can’t Rock Me/Get Off My Cloud, Hand Of Fate, Hey Negrita, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, Fool To Cry, Hot Stuff, Star Star, Angie, You Gotta Move, You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Disc 2 (44:43): Band Introductions, Happy, Tumbling Dice, Nothing From Nothing, Outta Space, Midnight Rambler, It’s Only Rock And Roll, Brown Sugar, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Street Fighting Man, Le Marseillaise
The most popular tape used for unofficial releases of the Rolling Stones’ June 6th, 1976 show in Paris is a clear but strangely unbalanced soundboard recording. That recording has been issued many times before including on French Made (Dog N Cat DAC-009) many years ago.
Live 666 debuts a new audience recording. It is close to the stage and picks up the performance nicely. There is slight fuzziness in the sound but nothing to detract from the music.
June 6th was the third of the four Paris shows in early June on the Rolling Stones’ 1976 tour of Europe. Feelings about the actual concert are mixed. Some claim the band in general, and Keith Richards in particular, sound tired and slow in this and the other Paris shows. Several reasons have been offered for this, namely the death of Richards’ three month old son Tara on June 6th and that the backstage of the Pavilion was described years later as a “drug supermarket” while the Stones were in town.
The band certainly thought enough of this show to include “Hot Stuff,” “Star Star” and “Brown Sugar” on Love You Live and “Hot Stuff,” “Star Star,” “Nothing From Nothing,” “Midnight Rambler” and “It’s Only Rock’n’Roll” on the “Les Rolling Stones Aux Abattoirs” telecast.
It is a bit slow at the beginning with a very sluggish “Honky Tonk Women” beginning the show. But the two song medley of “If You Can’t Rock Me” and “Get Off Of My Cloud,” perhaps the most clever arrangement the Stones ever devised, picks things up quite a bit.
The next half hour is pretty much devoted to the new Black & Blue songs. Released a bit more than a month before, the songs have already taken a life of their own onstage. “Hand Of Fate,” with its incessant buzz-saw riff, creates an impressive groove. The funk-reggae hybrid “Hey Negrita” follows.
After the new song “Fool To Cry,” the first ballad of the set, they play one of the best versions of “Hot Stuff” on tape. Ron Wood in particular lends an outstanding, biting tone to the solo in the middle of the piece. The following song “Star Star,” a blatant Chuck Berry send-up, is likewise outstanding and is among the definitive live performances of the piece.
Mick Jagger introduces the band before the two song Exile On Main Street set, “Happy” and “Tumbling Dice.” Billy Preston’s two song set “Nothing For Nothing” and “Outta Space” follow and, as usual with these gigs, brings down the house.
“Midnight Rambler” sounds interesting with Preston playing clavinet in the mix. It is one of the band’s few songs that can be translated as as form of performance art. The band take turns interpreting the violence of the lyrics into a nasty musical improvisation in the song’s middle.
The ending of the show consists of “It’s Only Rock And Roll,” quick versions of “Brown Sugar” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and the apocalyptic “Street Fighting Man” as the final number. The venue’s PA plays “Le Marseillaise” as the audience leave the building.
Live 666 is packaged in a cardboard gatefold sleeve. It is the first Stones release on the Tarantura label in five years and is worth having due to the enjoyable sound quality and generally excellent performance.