If you didn't think it was possible to add anything to the story of the Rolling Stones historic 1969 American tour behind the album Let It Bleed, think again. You can now include this 40th Anniversary deluxe edition of Get Yer' Ya Ya's Out to the growing list of documents from the legendary trek that ended with the infamous disaster at Altamont.
Get Yer' Ya Ya's Out — which documents the Stones' shows at New York's Madison Square Garden from that tour — has been called the greatest live rock album of all time. While I don't necessarily share that view — my vote would go to The Who Live At Leeds — it is a damn great one. Top five of all time for sure.
As with so many of these deluxe remastering jobs, the question here is how do you improve upon what has already been called perfection?
In this case, the answer is by simply adding to it. Which means that in addition to the ten songs of the original album, you get two additional CDs. One featuring sets by opening acts B.B. King and Ike And Tina Turner, and another featuring five more songs from the Stones themselves (which are also included on DVD).
So let's get the DVD out of the way first. The biggest surprises here come on the extras, and in the footage that isn't advertised.
There are scenes of the reigning rock royalty of the day like the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin hanging out with the Stones backstage and elsewhere. There's even a very intriguing — and all too brief — shot of Jimi Hendrix trading licks with Keith Richards.
This is great stuff that unfortunately also leaves you pondering what might have been left on the cutting room floor. There's also an unexpected — and quite hilarious — scene of Charlie Watts and the mule shooting bits for what eventually became the iconic cover art of this album. Priceless.
The live footage also mostly lives up to expectations, particularly when the Stones burn down the Garden with a ferocious version of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." When an equally fiery coupling of "Under My Thumb" and "I'm Free" turns into a tight little medley though, the results are a little more frustrating.