Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Album Review: The Rolling Stones -Hyde Park Live

The Rolling Stones
Hyde Park Live
**** out of *****

44 Years ago The Rolling Stones played a historic concert in London's Hyde Park. It was a mega show for the band having been out of the public eye not performing for over 2 years (an eternity for that time) and they headlined a show for a ton of fans (estimates run between 250,000 and 500,000). That concert was played under the pale of Brian Jones recent death, as guitarist Mick Taylor joined the band for the first time.

This summer the band returned to the Park and played again, July 6th and July 13th combining the best of those shows for an iTunes only limited time release that finds ageless rockers in tip top form even bringing Mick Taylor back in the fold. At this point making grandfather rock and rollers jokes is just pointless especially when they are still one of the best live bands on the planet.  

Hyde Park Live contains hits, slightly deeper cuts and only one new tune. While the band finds its legs with the opening classics "Start Me Up" and "It's Only Rock and Roll" things start hitting their stride with the 80's grooving of "Emotional Rescue" with Mick's Falsetto woo-hoo's the funky bass of Daryl Jones all moving around some slinky horn work.  "Street Fighting Man" contains an aggressive closing workout as the band seems amped to play the fan requested song.

Of course the hits just keep on coming "Ruby Tuesday", "Paint It Black", "Honky Tonk Women" you know them all and can sing along to every word with reason; they all still sound great when the Stones play them live.  Keith Richards takes over for a delicate rendition of "You Got The Silver" and a surprise take on Some Girls "Before They Make Me Run" before the odd 80's funk comes back hard with "Miss You" with Jones again leading things.

"Midnight Rambler" lets the bar room swagger out of the bag, Chuck Leavell's keys plink proudly as does Mick's harp playing. Taylor riffs his way confidently leading the three guitar attack with his smooth runs while Ronnie Wood and Richards slash roughly behind him. Crawling to a halt it works it's way back up from the depths cementing itself as a set highlight.

The hits don't ever end as "Gimme Shelter", "Jumping Jack Flash", and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (complete with choir) all reach their own vaulted highs. The arraignment of "Sympathy For The Devil" has a slick over produced feel to it that doesn't work as well as past live versions but "Brown Sugar" pumps from the opening notes. 

The songs are strong here, sure there may be better versions of individual tunes elsewhere but this live collection is proof that the band still matters and are by no means washed up.  Who would have thought that 44 years ago?
When we saw the stones a few years ago we were quite simply blown away. They were so fucking rock and roll it was scary, it was easy to see why millions of bands have sprouted from listening and watching these guys. How could you not want to be a lead singer after watching Mick Jagger? Even at their advanced ages the group still plays with a looseness that is refreshing, sure they are big business now, but the band has earned it. This collection of tunes will join the bands long list of live albums and stand proudly next to them.

Support the band here, and peep some video of the show below...and even a clip from the band playing there in 1969:
"Midnight Rambler"
"Stray Cat Blues & No Expectations" from 1969 (two of our favorites)

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