The importance of The Rolling Stones Liver Than You’ll Ever Be cannot be over estimated. Great White Wonder cover the Bob Dylan basement tapes was the first commerically produced bootleg and is rightly priased for the industry it helped promote. The Dylan was produced out of an encounter, happenstance and need, but the Rolling Stones title was produced out of a deliberate act of producing a definitive live souvenir of the first Rolling Stones tour in three years.
And unlike the Dylan and others, this established a market for audience recording sourced bootlegs. The Dub taped used for the original Lurch (and subsequently TMOQ) releases remains one of the most clear, vivid and enjoyable documents from the tour.
Liver Than You’ll Ever Be, the new four disc title on Dog N Cat, is a collection with a newly surfaced audience tape of the November 9th late show. To celebrate this occasion it is packaged with material from the opening acts, the Bill Graham soundboard recording, and the famous TMOQ tape in one convenient package.
Seasoned Rolling Stones collectors may scoff at this release as a cynical attempt to get more money by packaging the new tape with the older. But for collectors who do not have copies of all the tapes DAC-116 is a very good sounding and packaged document.
DAC are self-consciously following the example of last year’s Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out 40th Anniversary edition which included multiple sources for those shows and included a disc devoted to the opening acts (something which Mick Jagger originally envisioned for the project in 1970). Unlike the official product no DVD is included because no footage exists from the show.
The website Revelations On The Rolling Stones summed up the importance of this show the best. In the article “The LIVEr Than You’ll Ever Be’ Story,” he writes:
“‘LIVEr Than You’ll Ever Be’” is not only significant because of its place in the bootleg history, but also because of the mood and feel that it captured as the Rolling Stones returned to live performances for the first time in over three years with new guitarist Mick Taylor. Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and The Cream had all happened since the last tour through the States. Guitar heroes and songs with great solos were the talk of the day. There was a stark difference between the screaming crowds that marked the close of their last US tour in Hawaii July 28, 1966, and the audiences they were now facing who were sitting down during the shows and listening to the music.
“The Oakland performances were early in the tour and the band was still getting acquainted with itself in a live setting with the sound system that could be heard in the far reaches of the stadiums they were playing in. The recording is primal in it’s musical depth compared to the well known “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!” commercial release from the 1969 tour. There are no vocal or instrumental overdubs on LIVEr which enables the listener to compare the band early in the tour to the slicker overdubbed recording that would represent a band that had musically evolved very quickly during the course of the tour. It has been written that ‘Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out!’ was released to counter sales of this record.”
Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA – November 9th, 1969 2nd show
Disc 1 (49:26): Ike & Tina Turner: Come Together, Respect. Terry Reid: Marking Time, I’ve Got News For You, Superlungs My Supergirl. B.B. King: Get Off My Back Woman, instrumental
Disc 2 (74:42): Jumping Jack Flash, Carol, Sympathy For The Devil, Stray Cat Blues, Prodigal Son, You Gotta Move, Love In Vain, I’m Free, Under My Thumb, Midnight Rambler, Live With Me, Gimme Shelter, Little Queenie, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Honky Tonk Woman, Street Fighting Man
November 9th is the third stop (and fifth overall concert) on The Rolling Stones’ first tour of the US in three years after opening in Colorado and Los Angeles. The new tape source is very good but distant from the stage. It has a very loud echo surrounding the music. There is nice balance and detail in the music, and since the audience were catatonic that night there is very little audience interference.
Only fragments of the opening acts are included. Ike & Tina Turner bring their soul and blues revue to Oakland. “Come Together” is a rather faithful cover the The Beatles’ song from Abbey Road. It’s remarkable since the album was only released a few months prior. “Respect” is a long cover of the Arethra Franklin hit, expanded with Tina’s long feminist rap. She gets the audience motivated, telling men that women can be unfaithful too!
Judging by the official release, much of the set is missing including “Gimme Some Loving,” “Sweet Soul Music,” ”Son Of A Preacher Man,” ”Proud Mary,” ”I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” and ”Land Of A Thousand Dances.”
Terry Reid’s portion includes three songs. He had toured the US the previous year with Cream and was with the Rolling Stones to promote his new album Terry Reid (US title: Move Over for Terry Reid). He is joined by Pete Solley on keyboards and Keith Webb on drums. The first, “Marking Time,” is a long original number and is followed by the Ray Charles cover “I’ve Got News For You.”
The final song included is the first song from the album, a cover of the Donavan Leitch song “Superlungs My Supergirl.”
B.B. King’s songs are two long guitar based blues numbers. “Get Off My Back, Woman” is an original song released on his latest LP Live & Well. It was issued earlier that year with half of the songs recorded live and five tracks in the studio and was a commercial breakthrough for King since it was his first to enter the Top 100. Judging by the 40th Anniversary version, this is only a small taste of his entire set.
The Stones come on stage after being introduced by Sam Cutler and start with “Jumping Jack Flash.” It is slow, deliberate, and crawls on stage as the band try to warm up. Jagger tells the audience that “we’re really pleased to be back here. Really! No bullshit. We’re really gonna give you … we know it’s a bit late, but we hope you don’t mind if we stay” before the first Chuck Berry cover of the night “Carol.”
“Sympathy For The Devil” is tight if a bit stiff. Jagger tells the audience they are going to “get back to the ladies” before an excellent “Stray Cat Blues.” It is curious how the enthusiasm in the audience drops after the opening number. The vocals for “Stray Cat Blues” are very clear and it causes one to wonder if the audience were shocked by the narrative.
They remain quiet when the rest of the band leave the stage leaving only Jagger and Richards. “At this point we’re gonna sit down … bring out the stools … and you be quiet” Jagger says. Someone in teh audience shouts ”alright Mick” prompting Jagger to respond “alright Jack” to some laughter.
After a brilliant “Love In Vain” they play “I’m Free,” the second oldest song in the setlist (released as a single in 1965). It wasn’t kept long in the set since it didn’t elicit much reaction from the audience. In the second Oakland show it sounds lifeless and dull despite Mick Taylor’s efforts. It would be dropped following the following night’s show in San Diego and not reappeare again until the Stones hit the east coast, when it would form a short medley with “Under My Thumb.”
Jagger tells the audience to shake their asses before an effective version of “Midnight Rambler.” This would be their major improvisational showpiece for this and several other tours and rarely sounds bad live. More new songs follow including “Live With Me” where Taylor’s amplifier breaks down in the middle prompting Jagger to sing “I think we got a problem / I think we got a problem” until it’s fixed. he complains about it afterwards too.
“Gimme Shelter” is the final new song of the night. It was played in the opening night in Colorado and would be played in Phoenix on the 11th, on the ”Ed Sullivan Show,” in Miami on November 30th and Altamont. It wouldn’t be a regular track in the Stones’ stage show until the 1972 tour.
Before “Little Queenie” Jagger wants to see how the audience are dressed before doing “one from a long time ago while when we was all falling out of our cradles.” This little quip found its way into the film Gimme Shelter. The last couple of songs “Honky Tonk Women” and “Street Fighting Man” are a marked improvement over the earlier parts of the show with much more confidence and energy from both band and audience.
FM soundboard source
Disc 3 (36:53): Sympathy For The Devil, Stray Cat Blues, Prodigal Son, You Gotta Move, Love In Vain, Live With Me, Gimme Shelter, Little Queenie, Satisfaction
Bill Graham himself broadcast this tape on KSAN in San Francisco on October 29th, 1972, the same month the late, great Tom Donohue became program director for this progressive station. The existence of this tape is as much a testimony to the Stones as it is to the glory days of free form radio in the late sixties to the late seventies.
Stations like KSAN in San Francisco and WNEW in New York were not beholden to the rigid programming of the AM top-40 format and the presentation of rock and roll was as much of an art form as the music itself. Hearing music, even from popular bands, out of the context of the proscribed hits was more common then than now.
This tape was first booted on vinyl in Germany and is the source for the earliest CD release, Hangout (World Production Of Compact Music D 047-2). Oakland ‘69 (Audifon AF 005) and Oakland Sixty-Nine (Vinyl Gang Product RS-692 VGP-003) are two more recent releases of this show. The last version before DAC is Oakland Coliseum Arena 1969 FM-SB (SODD-029) released several years ago. DAC sounds much more natural compared to the SODD title.
Disc 4 (74:40): Jumping Jack Flash, Carol, Sympathy For The Devil, Stray Cat Blues, Prodigal Son, You Gotta Move, Love In Vain, I’m Free, Under My Thumb, Midnight Rambler, Live With Me, Gimme Shelter, Little Queenie, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Honky Tonk Woman, Street Fighting Man
The final disc of this set covers the famous Trade Mark of Quality recording. According to the book Bootleg by Clinton Heylin, the taper used “a Sennheiser 805 ‘shotgun’ microphone and a Uher4000 reel-to-reel tape recorder, which was real small, 7 1/2 inch per second 5″ reels.” The LP was released just over a month after the show on the Lurch label.
The recording has such an impact that it received a review in Rolling Stone. Author Greil Marcus opined, “How it was recorded is more interesting, because the sound quality is superb, full of presence, picking up drums, bass, both guitars and the vocals beautifully. The LP is in stereo; while it doesn’t seem to be mixed, the balance is excellent. One of the bootleggers says the recording was done on an eight-track machine… So these may in fact be tapes that were made on the stage by someone involved in setting up the Stones’ own sound system.”
It has been featured on countless titles over the years including Live’r than You’ll Ever be (The Swingin’ Pig TSP-CD-043), Revolution Sixtinine (Great Dane Records GDR CD 9105), Vintage but Vigorous (WPOCM 0590 D 052), Have a Beer (Teddy Bear Records TB 38), Stone from the Bay (Wild Bird Records WBR CD 9014), The Original Live’r than You’ll Ever be (VGP-024), From San Francisco to Paris (VGP-276), Out of Joint (Black ‘n Blue RSBB-2004/005), Live’r than You’ll Ever be (Tarantura TCDRS-1-1,2) and Live’r than They’ll Ever be (SODD 013). DAC do not tamper with the tape and include the dropouts on the original tape and sounds very nice.
Liver Than You’ll Ever Be is packaged in a basic fatboy jewel case. The front cover contains a reproduction of the concert poster and with several rare pictuers on the back in insides. DAC also include an obi strip (written in Japanese) to be placed over the spine and recounts the other Satanic tour releases in their catalogue. Like many DAC releases, this is redundant for many collectors since much of it has come out before. However for newer collectors it is a very good title worth having.
The original Live’R Than You’ll Ever Be LP was taken from a tape of the Rolling Stones performing live in Oakland on November 9, 1969. This disc presents both the afternoon and evening shows they did on that date in their entirety or near-entirety, with 15 songs from the afternoon gig and 16 from the evening. Don’t get too excited about the visual component, which doesn’t offer actual film of the performances, but simply color, silent Mick Jagger-dominated slow-motion footage, and still photos of the band on-stage on their 1969 tour.
Since much of the appeal of the DVD-A is based around the enriched sound quality it’s designed to offer, you do have to wonder about the logic of doing a DVD-A version of a bootleg whose imperfect sound is never going to match official standards, no matter what format it inhabits. Ditto for matching the sound to related images, in the absence of actual sound footage from the concerts; it makes for visual backdrop that beats just staring into space while the music plays, perhaps, but it’s not that interesting, many of the scenes and images repeating themselves in order to fill out the lengthy program.
It’s better, then, to treat this as a bootleg with two albums’ worth of music that happens to have some incidental visuals than a DVD-A with full features. The music’s certainly of interest to Rolling Stones fans, capturing the band at their raunchiest and bluesiest during one of their most heralded tours (which was the first one that they did with Mick Taylor in the lineup). There’s not too much difference performance-wise between the two shows, though the sound (and to some extent the performance) has more life on the evening portion of the program. (There’s no difference between the song selection, either, except for a slightly different sequence in the early part, and the unexplained absence of “Gimme Shelter” from the afternoon concert, though it’s on the evening portion.) What’s most crucial to most Stones collectors, however, is that it offers much more material than the original bootleg LP (which had just ten tracks) — about twice as much material, in fact, as the expanded single-disc CD update of the original bootleg LP.
And it’s your chance to hear Jagger throw a new section into the middle of “I’m Free,” during which he sings at one point, “I won’t give you no bullsh*t!” Overall, it’s basically your chance to hear a rawer variation of the official live Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! album (also taken from the 1969 tour), with a number of songs that didn’t make it on to that release, such as “I’m Free” (done in a slower, far more hard rock-oriented version than it had been in its original 1965 incarnation), “Under My Thumb,” “Gimme Shelter,” and the traditional blues numbers “Prodigal Son” and “You Gotta Move.”