What, one more live concert culled from the vaults of the Rolling Stones? Do we need another? Haven’t we heard it all before?
Well, yes and no. Back in 1978, the Stones decided to get back to basics with their new LP, Some Girls, and the supporting tour reflected this stripped-down stage in their career. For the performance, filmed at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas on July 18, 1978, we get the Stones and nothing but the Stones. No back-up singers, no horn section, only founding Stone Ian Stewart augmenting the ensemble on keyboards. The front line has to share mics and Mick Jagger is wearing “cheap and nasty” clothes he picked up in second-hand stores to be colorful and acknowledge the presence of the punk scene.
Knowing they had a strong new album to promote, eight of the numbers are from Some Girls. So, unlike most other live collections on vinyl, CD, or DVD, this performance was built on mostly fresh material both for the band and the audience. As Jagger claims in an interview recorded for this release, this resulted in an intense concentration by the band on stage as they feared making noticeable mistakes.
Jagger also notes the concerts that year were marked by a fast pace, each song workmanlike with no frills. This is evident in the opening numbers “Let It Rock,” “All Down the Line,” “Honky Tonk Women,” and “Starfucker.” Then the new tunes begin with “When the Whip Comes Down” in a version very different from the studio track. “Shattered” and “Respectable,” however, are straight-ahead bash and smash, just as they are on the original LP.
The band gets more melodic with “Beast of Burden” and their reworking of The Temptations’ “Imagination.” Then, the live “Miss You” downplays the disco-flavor of the single. (Jagger tells us he hadn’t had the dance grooves of the times in mind when he wrote the song until Billy Preston came up with the four-on-the-floor drum beat. As with “Shattered,” he thought he was more influenced by early rap records.) The pace slows down, briefly, with “Far Away Eyes,” wherein Ian Steward’s piano gives the song its honky-tonk flavor.