Few bands or even musical acts across the musical universe can say they have been around (and even relevant) for 50 years, but in 2012, The Rolling Stones managed to say just that. In celebration of the anniversary, the band launched its “50 & Counting Tour” Oct. 25 in Paris, France. The tour, which ran just short of a year, took the band from Paris to London and all the way across the United States before bringing the band back home to London in July 2013. The tour grossed in excess of $87 million for the band, proving it a resounding success. Now thanks to Mercury Studios and Universal Music Group, the band’s fans worldwide can enjoy one of the concerts – its Dec. 15, 2012 show at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ – in the comfort of their homes and cars thanks to the band’s latest live recording, GRRR Live! Released Feb. 10, the recording is another welcome addition to the home library of any of The Rolling Stones’ fans and rock fans in general. That is due in no small part to the concert’s extensive set list, which will be discussed shortly. The band’s performance thereof adds its own share of engagement and entertainment to the recording and will be addressed a little later. The companion booklet that accompanies the recording rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed 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 easily among the best of this year’s new live recordings.
GRRR Live!, the latest live recording from The Rolling Stones, is a presentation that every one of The Rolling Stones’ fans will welcome in their home libraries. Along with so many of the live shows that the band has released over the course of the past five years or so, it is more proof of why The Rolling Stones is among the rock world’s top acts, not only in the studio but on the stage, too. The recording’s appeal is due in no small part to its featured set list. The set list runs 23 songs deep and features a number of well-known hits from The Rolling Stones, such as ‘Paint It Black,’ ‘Honky Tonk Women,’ and ‘Brown Sugar’ while also including some lesser-performed gems, such as ‘Get Off My Cloud,’ ‘Happy’ and ‘Respectable’ to add even more interest. There are even some other interesting non-Rolling Stones tracks, such as Freddie King’s ‘I’m Going Down’ and Bo Didley’s equally timeless 1956 hit, ‘Who Do You Love?’ Simply put, the set list offers audiences plenty of familiarity along with a peppering of something less performed and some other extras to really keep listeners engaged and entertained.
As if the primary set list is not enough for audiences, the collection features three songs – ‘Respectable,’ ‘Around and Around’ (a Chuck Berry hit) and ‘Gimme Shelter’ — as bonus performances on the recording’s Blu-ray. The songs, which bring the set list’s song count to 26 songs, were recorded during the first of the band’s two shows at the Prudential Center on Dec. 13, 2012. So not only do audiences get a taste of that concert, but the entirety of the band’s Dec. 15, 2012 show. What audiences get, in other words, is really the best of both worlds all the way around in the overall set list.
As much as the set list does to make this recording so enjoyable, the band’s performance thereof is of its own appeal. From Mick Jagger’s familiar swagger throughout the show and his ability to work the crowd, to the band’s very performance of the songs themselves, audiences get so much out of the performances in general. One of the most notable of the performances is that of the band’s timeless classic ‘Paint It Black.’ Unlike so many other takes of the song, this one has a unique, almost stripped down approach. The use of the keyboards and sitar here feels more prominent than ever. Charlie Watts’ performance on the drums is even different here than in so many takes of the song that the band has ever produced. It is a surprise, but a welcome surprise.
Speaking of surprise, the surprise appearance of Lady Gaga with the band on its performance of ‘Gimme Shelter’ makes for its own engagement and entertainment, too. Her vocals, together with those of Jagger make for such an interesting pairing. That is because of the power in her vocal performance. There is so much soul and fire in her delivery. The juxtaposition of her fire to Jagger’s subtle swagger in his vocals makes for such an interesting blend that even the least of Gaga’s fans will actually appreciate her work in this case.
The band’s performance of ‘Who Do You Love’ with The Black Keys (yes, The Black Keys) is yet another example of the importance of the performances featured here. The decidedly rockabilly approach that the two bands give the song is so unique in its own right, especially in comparison to Bo Didley’s original song. The coordination between Watts and The Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney is spot on throughout the performance, with the two keeping perfect time throughout and really helps keep the song moving. Jagger’s familiar dancing alongside Black Keys front man Dan Auerbach’s easygoing vibe makes for its own special contrast that is so enjoyable, too. Between this performance, the others examined here and the rest of the performances that make up the whole of this presentation, there is no doubt whatsoever about the important role of the set’s performance to the overall presentation. It ensures audiences’ engagement and entertainment just as much as the show’s set list.
As much as the band’s performance does to make this recording so enjoyable, it is still just one more part of what makes this concert so fun. The liner notes in the recording’s companion booklet add even more to the enjoyment. Penned by author Paul Sexton, the liner notes featured in the companion booklet start out by outlining the story of the break the band took in 2007 following the end of its “A Bigger Bang” tour. From there Sexton tells the story of the band’s preparation for its next tour that would become “The 50 & Counting Tour.” From a recording session in Paris, France in 2012 that led to the creation of two new songs – ‘Doom & Gloom’ and ‘One More Shot’ – to rehearsals for the tour to the tour’s launch, to the outline of the performance featured here, Sexton paints a rich picture of what was to come and what came of the tour and performance. That picture is painted additionally through the words of the band members themselves, which personalizes the story all the more for audiences. When the overall story laid out in the liner notes is considered alongside the set list featured here and with the band’s performance thereof, the whole makes GRRR LIVE! Yet another fully enjoyable performance from The Rolling Stones proving yet again why this band is among the greatest bands in the world if not the greatest.
GRRR LIVE!, the latest live recording from The Rolling Stones, is another enjoyable offering from the band. The concert, which was part of the celebration of the band’s 50th anniversary, proves appealing in part because of its set list. The set list offers audiences plenty of familiar hits from the band’s catalog while also including some lesser performed pieces. The set list also throws in some covers that are just as entertaining in their own right. Speaking of entertaining, the band’s performance of the set list is definitely entertaining from beginning to end. The band’s performance is everything audiences have come to expect from the group throughout its historic career. The liner notes included in the recording’s companion booklet add their own engagement and enjoyment to the mix as they lay out the story of the concert featured here. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the presentation. All things considered they make GRR LIVE! Another fully enjoyable live offering from one of the greatest rock bands in the world if not the greatest in the land.
GRR LIVE! Is available now through Mercury Studios and Universal Music Group. More information on the recording is available along with the band’s latest news at:
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