Quick, ask me a question that involves Rock and Roll music. Chances are the answer to that question is either the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. The answer was Nickelback? Oh, then the question must have been: Name a Band that only had two good albums and spent the rest of the time copying their own music repeatedly until you wanted to smash Chad Kroeger in the face. Anyway, our review today takes us to 1978 and the Rolling Stones. See, I told you all avenues lead to the Beatles or Stones.
The Rolling Stones by 1978 were a huge success having released over a dozen albums, many of which reached Gold and Platinum status many times over. Their latest album, Black and Blue went to Platinum in the US and hit #1 on the Billboard charts and stayed on the charts for twenty four weeks. Their two big hits off the album included “Fool to Cry” and “Hot Stuff”. The former song, “Full to Cry” scored as a top ten hit. In addition to Platinum status in the US, France and the UK both reported Gold sales for the record.
As customary with bands, they like to tour. A press release was sent out on May 4th, 1978 to announce six outdoor dates at locations like Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago and Anaheim. At that point, they also announced the new album, entitled “Some Girls”. A single from the LP, “Miss You” would be released on the following week. The release also went on to state that they would also depart for a British, French and West German city. But the Stones weren’t going to play only outdoor dates as Texas would soon find out.
On June 9th, 1978, the Rolling Stones released the album. It had ten tracks, four of which were released as singles and included 2 top ten hits. The record eventually sold 6,000,000 copies in the United States alone. As an indication of how popular the record would become, a new deluxe edition was produced in 2011 which included a dozen new tracks. Among them, “No Spare Parts” actually reached all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales. A top ten single for a reissued album? The Stones really struck gold (or rather platinum) with this one.
July 18th at the Will Rogers Auditorium in Fort Worth, Texas was the site for Rolling Stones next stop in their American tour. The Stones had played there previously in 1972 and there was a film crew on hand. At that point, it was reported as one of the greatest rock concerts ever captured on film. However, once the Rolling Stones were done with their performance in Fort Worth in 1978, Showco (a Texas based company) would capture another fantastic performance.
From the first moment “Let it Rock” brings the hammer down, we know that we are in for a fine performance from this legendary group. “Honky Tonk Women” and “Star Star” (the latter of which is not played on radio for one various reason and is the same reason they like to play it on tour) also light up the stage as cult favorites among Stones fans. For the next seven songs, they stick to the Some Girls album.
This includes everything from good rock songs (Beast of Burden, Miss You) to a talkie dance number (Shattered) to a country tune (Far Away Eyes). The concentration at this point is intense as this material is not as familiar to the crowd so the Stones want to get it absolutely right. A cover that appeared on the Stones album, “Let it Bleed” called Love in Vain (originally written by Robert Johnson) is next. We even get a Keith Richards lead vocals song as he sings “Happy” from the “Exile on Main St.” album.
From there we finish off with two consistent favorites to every Rolling Stones concerts with “Brown Sugar” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”. The crowd is so hot and energetic at that point, that it almost seems like Mick Jagger had to douse them with three buckets of water to end the performance. They brought the house down. From Mick Jagger’s constant bouncing around and on-target lyrics to Ron Wood’s spirited guitar playing.
It is interesting to note that while Keith Richards is also spot on here with his guitar work, he is clearly in the background during the new album portion of the show. We can probably relate that to his drug issues around this time but it does not detract from the show. Mick picks up the slack and dons the guitar (or piano) and smacks the audience in the face with his leather pants full of talent. This is probably one of the best rock shows you will ever see hands down.
The video is in 1.78:1 widescreen presentation in 1080i resolution. The performance is twenty three years old now and the people at Eagle Rock did a heck of a job with this one. The cleanup job is impressive and on-stage you can see a ton of detail everywhere you look. Pixelation and other artifacting are kept to an absolute minimum and is in-line with the fact that this was shot on 16mm film. The only negative I could find is when they pan to the audience but that is to be expected.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 English DTS-HD track (5.1 Dolby Digital and PCM 2.0 tracks also included). Amazing, again. This concert sounds fantastic. It is loud and in your face for ninety minutes. The volume is also balanced so you can hear every instrument and not just focus on Jagger’s voice. Even light drumming comes through correctly. This is almost near flawless with the surrounds and front speakers coming together so very nicely. Subtitles (only for the Bonus features) are included for English, Spanish, French, and Dutch.
- Mick Jagger Interview 2011 14:55: This interview looks very recent (probably for the sake of promoting the blu-ray and deluxe album). It is a fairly good interview and talks one hundred percent about “Some Girls” and the performance in Texas. On topic, love it! They mention the cover and how it was influenced by Chinese Propaganda posters. They also talk about Mick’s wardrobe (or lack there of). From there, the set list is discussed and they actually go into Keith Richards’ drug bust but it is touched only briefly. The most interesting part of the discussion probably revolves around what music was in and out at that moment and how it influenced the music. Mick actually talks about the Sugar Hill Gang and Dr. Dre. The man knows all music.
- Saturday Night Live 20:35: Aired on October 7th, 1978. This includes a sketch, “Tomorrow” with Dan Aykroyd and Mick Jagger as well as performances of Beast of Burden, Respectable, and Shattered. The sketch is easily the best part of this block with Dan Aykroyd playing the role of Tom Snider as he interviews Mick. Dan is awesome here and Mick is his wonderful self. The thought however of Mick or Dan in a push-up bra makes me cringe. Then we get three songs from the Stones which involves more tongue action from Jagger.
- ABC News 20/20 Interviews with the Stones 4:58 : A 1978 interview where Geraldo Rivera (yes the same one you are thinking of) goes to the band’s recording location and talks to the Stones about the album and the band. Best question is probably “Do you think that the band would be able to stay together 16 years?” They actually answer “No”. The band has now been around almost forty years and only recently in the last decade did age really seem to slow them down.
On a personal note, I did not listen to a Rolling Stones album until I picked up “Steel Wheels” in the late 1980’s. Frankly, I do not own any of their music (lost Steel Wheels a long time ago) mainly on the notion that I am not sure which albums to get and a Greatest Hits would paint way too broad of a stroke. Perhaps I need to start here with “Some Girls” which is regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time and arguably the best Rolling Stones album.
This performance in Texas is also one of their best. The songs are right on beat and the band never misses a step. Many early favorites are here and the band plays 2/3rds of their new album too. The disc is also something special with amazing video, audio and extras that include footage from ABC and NBC as well as a recent interview with one of the best lead singers of the 20th century. Recommended ten times over for anybody who likes rock music. May the Stones never die.
Let it Rock
All Down the Line
Honky Tonk Women
When the Whip Comes Down
Beast of Burden
Far Away Eyes
Love in Vain
Sweet Little 16
Jumpin’ Jack Flash