Classic Rock Review

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Rolling Stones – Brussels ’73


In my humble opinion, the best concert ever given by the Rolling Stones, and about the best ever live Rolling Stones bootleg in existence is Brussels, Belgium, October 17, 1973, matinee show.

Released on many, many bootlegs together with excerpts of the September 9, 1973 London, Wembley, show. Surprisingly, most bootlegs – especially the CD releases- feature bad sound, hiss and crackles, and in order to be complete the collector must purchase several titles. The Stones toured Europe during autumn 1973, to promote their new album “Goats Head Soup”.

Starting in Vienna, Austria, September 1st, and ending in Berlin, Germany, October 19, 1973 the Stones played all over Europe, except for France, where Keith was refused a visa by the French authorities due to his drug (ab-)use. The Stones management (well, Jagger and Richards that is…) decided to add an extra concert in Brussels, Belgium on October 17th, specially for the French fans (beautifully filmed and aired by RTL as “the Midnight Express”).

Both Brussels concerts were recorded for radio broadcast, but only the first concert has seen the light of day officially (the second concert that day is available partly in average soundboard quality on “Back To The Graveyard” on Outsider Bird Records).

The King Biscuit Flower Hour has broadcast the Brussels, October 17, 1973 first show, combined with recordings from Wembley, London, September 9th, and Rotterdam, October 14, 1973 several times, in two versions. The first version was broadcast in 1974 and 1975, the second version in 1987 and 1988. The versions not only differ by source of the songs, but also by final mix of the individual songs. i.e. Brown Sugar is remixed for the 1987 broadcast (most probably by Mick Jagger himself), and the remixed Brown Sugar now has an audible sax solo by Bobby Keys.

The first label ever to use the original KBFH reel-to-reel tape has been the Vinyl Gang Production (V.G.P.), with their title Nasty Remixes, later re-released as Nasty Music 20 Bit Remaster. This re-release sounds crisper, but it depends on your own preference if you like it better then the original Nasty Remixes (I do prefer the Nasty Remixes title-I like the warmth and presence over the crispiness of the 20 bit remaster). On this title, the complete broadcast from 1987 can be found, together with the Rotterdam’ Brown Sugar and the Brussels’ Street Fighting Man. The Nasty Remixes/Music title offers absolutely excellent stereo separation, and Charlie’s drums sound especially excellent; the pounding in Tumbling Dice is unbelievable. On this title Keith’s guitar is mixed a bit down, making it possible to hear everything Taylor plays. Listen to Taylor’s rhythm guitar on Dancing with Mr. D – it’s brilliant.

Negative point of this title is the shortened version of Midnight Rambler, which has cuts in two different places, shortening the song by more then 4 minutes.
Nasty Music 20Bit Master Recording – (20 BIT-01) Contains the complete 1974 KBFH broadcast (Brussels’ Gimme Shelter, Happy and Street Fighting Man, Brown Sugar from Rotterdam) Same content and track listing as “Nasty Remixes” but now digitally remastered. Nasty Remixes (Singer’s Original Double Disc SODD-012) was actually a Vinyl Gang Product release. It uses the same cover artwork as the “Nasty Music” LP, but now the remixed Bown Sugar and the Wembley sources of Gimme Shelter and Happy are taken. Since it is taken directly from the KBFH CD it has truly excellent sound

May 19, 2010 Posted by | The Rolling Stones Brussels '73 | , | Leave a comment