Saturday, February 11, 2017

RE-UP: Rolling Stones live in Chicago 1998 - 2CD - April 23

Rolling Stones
United Center
Chicago, Il.
April 23, 1998
Seat location:  Mezzanine, stage right, appx. 30 ft from the stage, 12 rows up

Disc 1 (72:26):
(1)  Entrance (0:51)
(2)  (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (5:04)
(3)  Let's Spend the Night Together (4:40)
(4)  Flip The Switch (4:17)
(5)  Gimme Shelter (7:05)
(6)  Sister Morphine (6:52)
(7)  You Got Me Rocking (3:49)
(8)  Saint of Me (5:39)
(9)  Out Of Control (8:11)
(10)  Miss You (9:49)
(11)  Band Introductions (4:13)
(12)  Thief in the Night (6:51)
(13)  I Wanna Hold You (4:59)

Disc 2 (60:34):

(1)  B-Stage Music (1:51)
(2)  Little Queenie (4:28)
(3)  I Just Want To Make Love To You (5:46)
(4)  Like A Rolling Stone (6:31)
(5)  Sympathy For The Devil (8:12)
(6)  Tumbling Dice (4:59)
(7)  Honky Tonk Women (4:40)
(8)  Start Me Up (4:38)
(9)  Jumping Jack Flash (5:57)
(10)  Encore break (1:30)
(11)  You Can't Always Get What You Want (5:34)
(12)  Brown Sugar (6:22)

Second-to-last date of the Stones' "Bridges to Babylon" t0ur; few surprises in the set, but a spirited performance.

This recording should be better than it is -- I was in the mezzanine directly in line with the overhead stack and about even with the 8th row; overall a balanced sound but there is more echo than I would like.  Overall this is generally enjoyable recording, but the tape is marred by several drunken concertgoers near me -- including an annoying guy who loudly cheers everything Charlie Watts did.  ("All right, Charlie baby!  Come on, baby!!!")  I'm hypersensitive to the crowd because I was the taper; on the whole the rowdy drunks create an atmosphere of a early '70s Stones show.  (As an aside, who can afford to get drunk at a Stones show now after dropping $300 a ticket?)

At the time, there were many rumors that this would be the "final" Stones U.S. tour date -- they were wrapping up the North American tour (with one additional Canadian date following this one) and there were the typical murmurs that they would be retiring after finishing up their remaining commitments.  This led to a party atmosphere with many celebrating "the last time" they'd be playing in the U.S.  Of course, this turned out not to be even remotely true, but there was a unique vibe in the United Center this night which you can experience on this recording.

In terms of performance, I think this one is a cut above the typical "Bridges to Babylon" show.  There were some good moments in teh early part of the set, with "Sister Morphine" making a somewhat unusual appearance, and a really solid two-song B-stage set.  The last hour of the set is the same jukebox of hits that has marked every Stones show for the last 30 years, but even these songs were delivered with a little extra punch.

I'd give the performance an A- and the recording a B+; this is a serviceable document of the end of the '97-'98 North American tour.


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