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Music Blu-ray Review: The Rolling Stones – Some Girls – Live in Texas ’78

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Now available on Blu-ray and DVD, Some Girls – Live in Texas ‘78 contains a previously unreleased complete concert by The Rolling Stones from their 1978 tour of the United States. As the band was touring in support of their massive hit album Some Girls, this show was filmed in Forth Worth, Texas, on July 18th, 1978.

The venue, the Will Rogers Memorial Center, was a relatively small one that seats just under 3,000. With no gimmicks or fancy set, the focus of the concert is entirely on the music. The energy level is high, with Jagger in rare vocal form. He works up an even greater sweat than usual, belting songs like “Shattered” and “Brown Sugar” with near maniacal fervor. Sweetening the deal, Eagle Rock Entertainment has included the entire 17-song set on audio CD to go along with the video.

The set is heavy with songs from Some Girls; no less than seven, which are played in a row during the middle of the concert. Highlights include prime takes on “Miss You” and “Shattered,” with the only dud being the hokey country & western goof “Far Away Eyes.” The Stones don’t dip too far back into their catalog this time out, with the earliest song being 1968’s “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” There’s not much room for obscurities in this lean set, with “Star Star” from Goat’s Head Soup being probably the least well known song. A pair of great Chuck Berry covers, one well known (“Sweet Little Sixteen”) and one lesser known (the opening number “Let It Rock”), are great additions to the concert.

The 1080i Blu-ray transfer of Some Girls – Live in Texas ‘78 is only problematic if viewed out of context. The original 16mm film footage of this concert has been sitting unreleased for 33 years. While it doesn’t always look pretty, this is a case where we should be glad we have it at all. But I don’t mean to say it looks poor. Even though it is inconsistent in sharpness and contrast levels, the picture quality is actually very good. There isn’t much detail in the dark and super grainy audience shots, but that’s really no big deal. Even though Bill Wyman, as well as the two keyboardists, stay mainly in the shadows, the footage of Jagger, Richards, and Wood is relatively crisp. The level of grain is natural and totally appropriate for 16mm footage shot under variable lighting.

No apologies are needed for the audio side of things, with remixing and remastering by Bob Clearmountain of the original multitrack tapes. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is the preferred way to hear this concert. The mix keeps the music sounding exactly like what it is: a live concert. It isn’t overproduced or sterile-sounding in the way that so many live concert videos can be. Jagger’s vocals blast out loud and clear over the bluesy rock-and-roll din. The guitars sound great, with Wood and Richards each mixed onto a separate channel (Ron on the left, Keith on the right). The rhythm section sounds a little less defined, but Wyman’s steadily motoring bass and Watts’ insistent kick drum provide plenty of bottom to keep the subwoofer thumping. This is a great-sounding live music Blu-ray.

Some Girls – Live in Texas ‘78 includes a small selection of special features. Mick Jagger sat for a brand new 15-minute interview, sharing his memories of the 1978 tour. Among the vintage features are three 1978 performances by the Stones on Saturday Night Live. Those are mainly interesting for comparison to the Fort Worth show; Jagger’s voice has never sounded worse than on this SNL appearance – he sounds like he has laryngitis. A hilarious sketch from the same episode is included, with Dan Aykroyd as talk show host Tom Snyder interviewing Mick Jagger. Last, we have a 1978 excerpt from 20/20 with Geraldo Rivera interviewing the band.

For fans of The Rolling Stones, Some Girls – Live in Texas ‘78 is a dream come true and an absolute must-buy. The release is available with the audio CD of the concert included along with either the Blu-ray or the standard DVD. For a more economical option, both the Blu-ray and DVD are available separately. I think the extra expense is worth it to get what is basically a live album along with the video. You can’t get this live CD any other way, so if you – like me – listen to music more frequently than you sit down to watch a concert video, spring for the double disc package.

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About Sherry Lipp

Sherry Lipp is an entertainment and food writer who specializes in film and television reviews. She has published the gluten and grain-free cookbook Don't Skip Dessert.