Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! The Rolling Stones In Concert: 40th Anniversary

The only time we’d ever heard “Under My Thumb” played by the Stones on the ’69 tour, of course, was that scene in Gimme Shelter just before Meredith Hunter was murdered about 30 rows back from the Altamont stage.  To now hear it liver than we will ever be from the MSG stage that Thanksgiving weekend, aw man, it sounds alright.  As Mick would say, Can you dig it?

In ’69, the Stones came back from studio exile and a bad psychedelic album, followed by maybe their greatest album, Beggars Banquet, and certainly in “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” their greatest single.  They hadn’t even released Let It Bleed the week they played Madison Square Garden, if I have my dates right.  They played two sets a night, like they were a bar band back in Richmond! Strutting back on stage with all the rules changed — no more girls screaming, the band able to actually hear themselves — they were, sure, the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world, and certainly the tightest.

Being able now to hear not only “Under My Thumb” — the beat languorous, the riff sweetly filagreed by Keith — but also the way it swept into a medley with “I’m Free,” is not something I’ll get out of my head anytime soon.  I mean after all, having heard it in Gimme Shelter, as brief as it was, as crappy as they were playing on that cold night in Sears Point, California as mayhem was unleashed, I’ve never forgotten it.  And now we’re free to hear that riff any old time.

Getting to hear “Prodigal Son” live — I don’t care about “You Gotta Move,” never have — brings onstage that cottage party, mushrooms and acoustic guitars sensibility that Beggar Banquet was steeped in.

The revelation here, if there is one, is “Satisfaction.”  By the ’72 tour — when I finally got to see them — they performed it as a medley with “Uptight/Outtasite”, with Stevie Wonder’s horns and singers integrated into the band.  It was a novelty, and so “Satisfaction” has been for all those tours since.  But Heavens, the version here is stinging, with the twin guitar assaults by Keith and Mick Taylor.

I have always thought  that Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out was the greatest live album of its era, with Live at Leeds the only competition.  In my platonic dreams, the Stones would release Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones from the vaults, and we’d see how in ’72, they were even better — Nicky Hopkins on piano, Jim Price and Bobby Keys on horns, and Mick Taylor’s guitar arrangements reaching a unique lyricism, with Keith not yet showing he couldn’t hit a curve.

But if you’re thinking of perfection, adding these five songs to what we’ve always known as Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out is pretty damn fine.  Plus, the packaging and remastering’s pretty nice, too.

****

Update: So the DVD, with Maysle Brothers footage, is worth the price of the box set.  Did I forget that Jimi Hendrix was backstage talking with Keith, playing Keith’s Gibson with Mick Taylor?  It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gimme Shelter. For historical purposes, we also see Jo Berg telling Mick (as he strips off his shirt) that a certain someone is coming “up from the country” the next day to see the show.  Has to have been Bob Dylan, upstate in Woodstock… And of course there’s Janis Joplin as they show the band’s incredible version of “Satisfaction.”

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