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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars different band on their new material, 18 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: The Rolling Stones: Some Girls, Live In Texas '78 (DVD / CD) [2011] (DVD)
It never ceases to amaze me how variable the Stones can be within a single set. On parts of this, they really are firing on all cylinders, elsewhere it's little short of embarrassing.

I think it's fair to say that the lows are more obvious on the video than on the cd, which I would venture to suggest is a different (and superior) mix. As far as the video quality goes, it's perfectly Respectable, though to a degree the whole experience is somewhat diminished by Jagger's ill-fitting and far too revealing legwear. However, once he gets warmed up (takes a couple of songs, he initially sings very flat) Jagger is in fine and very hard working vocal form throughout. Keith, especially on the video, seems to be mixed way higher than Ronnie, which is unfortunate as at times his playing is far from inspired - e.g. compare the version of Let It Rock here with the one available on Rarities 1971 - 2003 recorded in Leeds in March 1971. No contest. Several of Keith's solos sound alarmingly cack-handed - he was clearly having an off night because there's plenty of evidence of him playing far better on later recordings.

But what's really interesting about this performance is how they turn into a different and far better band when they start playing their new album. They play 7 of the 10 songs from Some Girls in a block in the middle of the set, and frankly apart from slight problems getting any sound out of Ronnie's steel guitar on Far Away Eyes (which also features the rare sight of Mick Jagger playing piano, plus a guest spot from local boy Doug Kershaw on fiddle) they're all excellent. Just check out Jagger's vocal on Shattered, where his rhythmic dexterity is stunning. So it's depressing to report that most of the rest of this gig is pretty so-so. While I'm definitely among those who think Some Girls is their last really good album, a quick comparison of this recording to a good performance by the Mick Taylor line-up shows how much they had already declined - check out the Belgian Affair download from stonesarchive.com if you want to hear a top quality Stones live album. To my ears, they long seem to have found it hard to give their all on songs they've played many times - one of the reasons, probably, that for the last 2 or 3 decades they've always exhumed some less-played old songs when they tour, and they always sound better than the old warhorses like Brown Sugar or this gig's woefully over-extended Jumping Jack Flash.

So if you're a big fan of Some Girls and want to hear/see some live versions that leave many of the studio versions standing, this is a worthwhile buy. Apart from that it's a bit frustrating.
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Location: north London, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 685