Ohhh-boy, another live Stones’ album. Neat-o. I did get to see them this time around, the tour from which this album is taken, and, honestly, I was less excited than I should have been. As a good friend of mine said about them, “in 1998, it’s the ‘Rolling Stones: the Spectacle’,” rather than a musical performance. I somewhat agree in that the show I saw (in Syracuse, New York) was near-exactly the show broadcast on public television for neigh on a month straight, and therefore offered no surprises.
The Rolling Stones and the Who are the two bands I’ve kept with me ever since “discovering” music roughly twenty-five years ago. I finally got to see them in 1994 on the Voodoo Lounge tour, where they were full of energy, spontaneity, and appeared to have an awful lot of fun during the show. Now, this was right before the Web really took off, and therefore, really before the new era of hyper-massive marketing blitzes from rock and roll relics. The 1997-98 shows were accompanied by the merchandising power of the Web, direct mail, and that omnipresent PBS show. So, the performances are almost too polished and kind of clean — for the Stones, that is. The songs included are good, like “You Got Me Rocking,” which is the best (my opinion) song off Voodoo Lounge, “Gimmie Shelter,” “Flip the Switch” (one of four songs from Bridges to Babylon), “Respectable,” and “Live With Me” (if you have Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out, you have a slightly better live version). There’s also “The Last Time” (what a great, great song, no?) and a particularly depressing version of “Sister Morphine.” If you’re a Stones’ fan you’re going to want this, of course. Virgin Records, 1790 Broadway, New York, NY 10019-1412; http://www.virginrecords.com