The Rolling Stones has another new live recording out this week. It comes in the form of Licked Live in NYC. The recording is another wonderfully enjoyable presentation for any fan of The Rolling Stones. That is due in part to its featured set list which will be discussed shortly. The bonus content that accompanies the recording makes for its own engagement and entertainment. It will be discussed a little later. The companion booklet rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined a little later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the recording’s presentation. All things considered, they make the recording another presentation that is sure to appeal to any rock purist and fan of The Rolling Stones.
Licked Live In NYC, the latest live recording from The Rolling Stones, is another thoroughly impressive presentation from the band and from Mercury Studios. It is a work that will appeal to any fan of what is in this critic’s mind, the best rock and roll band in the world. The recording’s success comes in part through its featured set list. The set list is largely composed of so many familiar songs from The Rolling Stones. ‘Gimme Shelter,’ ‘Tumbling Dice,’ ‘and Honky Tonk Woman’ are all there. The latter of the group features a guest appearance by Sheryl Crow. Also included in the set list are the likes of ‘It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It),’ ‘Angie’ and ‘Street Fighting Man.’ At the same time though, the set list also pulls in what many might consider some deep cuts. They come in the form of ‘Happy,’ ‘If You Can’t Rock Me,’ ‘Don’t Stop,’ ‘Monkey Man,’ Thru and Thru’ and Can’t You Hear Me Knocking.’ The latter of that group of songs was performed by guitarist Keith Richards. ‘Don’t Stop’ is a single featured in the band’s compilation record, 40 Licks. ‘Monkey Man’ takes audiences back to 1969 and the band’s beloved album, Let It Bleed while ‘Thru and Thru’ is lifted from the band’s 1994 album, Voodoo Lounge. On a side note, Mercury Studios has released a live Rolling Stones performance previously that was part of a tour in support of Voodoo Lounge in the form of Voodoo Lounge Uncut. That recording was released in 2018. Getting back on topic, ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’ is lifted from the band’s hit 1971 album, Sticky Fingers but has rarely been featured on any of the band’s live recordings. So it is its own treat for audiences. ‘Happy’ reaches back to 1972 and the band’s album, Exile on Main Street while ‘If You Can’t Rock Me’ comes from the band’s 1974 album, It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll. Simply put, what audiences get from this concert’s set list is a fair balance of familiar songs and some that are less familiar in a live setting from the band. They also pull from a relatively healthy swath of some of the band’s most well-known and beloved albums. In other words, audiences get the best of both worlds in more ways than one here. To that end, the set list forms a solid foundation for the recording’s presentation.
Resting firmly on that foundation is the band’s performance of the set list. The band’s performance, which took place on stage at Madison Square Garden Jan. 18, 2003, is everything that audiences have come to expect from Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards, and the now late great Charlie Watts, as well as their fellow musicians and performers. Jagger’s swagger is just as energetic and prevalent as ever throughout the concert. Even his interaction with his fellow performers, including the backing singers, is just so real. Watts’ energy is on full display as he keeps the beat in each song while Wood and Richards bring their own familiar yet unique energy to each performance. Late great saxophonist Bobby Keys’ solo work and backing work throughout the show even added its own great touch to the whole. The energy that he and everybody else brough from the whole unit is fully engaging and entertaining. It makes the overall group’s performance just as immersive and enjoyable as ever. There really is no one bad thing to say about the band’s performance at any point in the concert. To that end, the set list and band’s performance thereof collectively make for so much enjoyment in this concert. They are just a portion of what makes the recording so enjoyable, too. The bonus content that accompanies the concert adds even more to the overall experience.
The bonus content comes in the form of a n extensive documentary about the band’s tour, a group of “studio rehearsal performances” and some live extras. The extra live content comes in the form of live clips of ‘Star Star,’ ‘Street Fighting Man’ and ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You.’ Between those songs, the full “rehearsal” performances of ‘Well Well’ and Extreme Western Grip’ brings the recording’s full song list to 26 songs. So in other words, audiences not only get some extra performances, which are engaging and entertaining in their own right, but audiences also get in these performances some more enjoyable live performances, some in studio and some on stage. It’s the best of both worlds, so to speak.
The bonus documentary that comes with the presentation is important in its own right because it really makes audiences the proverbial fly on the wall. Audiences get to watch as the band members plan the tour from which the featured concert was included. From planning the stage show to rehearsing together to even Jagger preparing his vocals and dancing skills. Yes, he even trains in regards to the dancing that he does on stage. Audiences will be pleasantly surprised to watch him train for that aspect. It shows just how seriously the band members take the preparations for its shows. At the same time, in listening to the band members talk about working together and to see them interacting with fans, family, and friends, audiences gain even more appreciation for the band. That is because of how easygoing the band members appear throughout the show. That easygoing nature shows through just as much on stage, so in essence, audiences get a definite vibe of what you see is what you get from the band. It really shows that this veteran band, even at that point in its career, did not seem to have the ego of so many bands out there today, veteran and otherwise. Between that and the appreciation that audiences will have watching the band prepare for the tour, the documentary presents its own engagement and entertainment. When the enjoyment generated through the documentary is paired with that generated through the bonus performances, the overall bonus content more than makes for reason to take in this concert. That bonus content is just one more part of what makes Licked Live In NYC so enjoyable. The liner notes featured in the recording’s companion booklet rounds out the most important of its elements.
The liner notes featured in the companion booklet were penned by journalist/broadcaster Paul Sexton. Sexton outlines the show in his notes, giving audiences a preview of the concert before audiences even take in the show. It is a thorough description highlighting many of the extensive number of high points throughout the concert. He also cites guitarist Ron Wood as saying that the band rehearsed no less than 120 (yes, 120) songs in preparation for the tour. That tidbit, while minimal, is still powerful. It adds even more to the documentary, showing even more just how seriously the band took its preparations for the tour. That the band had that many songs to rehearse is in itself shocking and in a good way. It makes for even more appreciation for the band and the overall presentation here. AS if that is not enough, there are comments from Richards and from Watts about how the band came to decide on the venues for the concert. Their insights are deep as they talk about the constraints of performing at larger venues and at theaters and smaller venues. All of these discussions and the previous that Sexton offers audiences makes for its own engagement and value to the recording, too. When that engagement and value is paired with the impact of the concert’s set list and the band’s performance thereof, and with the bonus content featured here, the whole makes Licked Live in NYC yet another fully successful live offering from a group that is one of the greatest rock and roll bands in the world if not the best.
Licked Live in NYC, the latest live recording from The Rolling Stones, is an impressive new offering from the group that rock purists and fans of The Rolling Stones alike will find appealing. Its appeal comes in part through its featured set list and the band’s performance thereof. The set list gives audiences plenty of familiar content while also bringing some deep cuts that have rarely appeared in any of the band’s existing live recordings. That best of both worlds approach and the enjoyment of the songs themselves makes for so much enjoyment. The band’s performance of each song makes for its own engagement and entertainment. That is because even being 40 years into its life at the time of the concert, it shows the band was still at the very top of its game. That includes the core group’s backing performers. The bonus content that accompanies the concert adds to the overall enjoyment. That is because it gives audiences even more live content, both on stage and in studio. The documentary that is also used as bonus content will keep audiences engaged and entertained in its own right. That is because it shows the time and effort that the band put into preparing for its 40th anniversary tour. The liner notes crafted by Paul Sexton do well to compliment the documentary while also previewing the concert through his own descriptions. Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording. All things considered they make Licked Live in NYC one more of the year’s top new live recordings.
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