Mick Jagger - vocals, guitar, keyboards, harmonica; Keith Richards - guitars, vocals; Charlie Watts - drums; Ron Wood - guitars, vocals; Bill Wyman - bass; Ian McLagen - keyboards, vocals; Ian Stewart - keyboards; Ernie Watts - sax
This abbreviated set is from the Stones 1981 Still Life tour, and is one of several shows on this trek recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour. The Stones had been the first massive superstars to agree to be recorded for the Biscuit when it launched in 1973; it's no wonder that the folks at the radio series always made the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band one of its highest priorities.
Although the recording doesn't capture as much of this show as the other 1981 Stones shows on the Concert Vault, it's among the best, as the band is firing on all cylinders. The set opens with "Hang Fire," one of the tracks off Tattoo You, which the Stones were touring to support at the time of this recording. They continue to push new music with "Miss You," which Jagger delivers with especially high energy. The rest of the performance is made up of the tried and true warhorse classics: "Honky Tonk Women," "Brown Sugar," "Start Me Up" (new at the time, but certainly now, a classic), and "Jumpin' Jack Flash," which is played for nearly nine minutes. The lads go out with "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," which closes the show with a wild six-minute version.
The groundbreaking group from the Richmond area of South London has been together since 1962. Originally formed with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, and Brian Jones as a blues pub band (with the blessing and guidance of UK blues legend, Alexis Korner), The Rolling Stones quickly moved into the spot of the being the "street-wise and gritty" alternative to the four-headed pop music monster The Beatles had become. They followed the Fab Four into the US during the British Invasion, and quickly established their own musical credibility with a string of brilliant pop singles that included "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "Time Is On My Side," "The Last Time," "19th Nervous Breakdown," "Ruby Tuesday," and "Paint It Black." By the late '60s and early '70s, the Stones took over as the premier British rock 'n' roll band, and continued their streak of hits with songs like "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Brown Sugar," and "Start Me Up."
Although Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have often gotten the most attention, people should never mistake the fact that the Stones are a band in every sense of the word. bassist Bill Wyman (prior to his departure in the early 1990s) and drummer Charlie Watts were just as important to the music as the Glimmer Twins; and Ron Wood, who had been in the band several years at this point, provided a strong counterpoint to the sloppy but soulful guitar licks of Keith Richards. On this tour keyboards are a huge component of the band's driving sound, with long-time Stones stalwarts Ian McLagen and Ian Stewart both on stage.
Despite ups and downs, drug busts, countless sold-out tours, great and poor LP releases, personnel changes, illness, and even deaths, the Stones have endured, decades after their formation. Jagger, Richards, and Watts remain from the original line-up and they continue to record and tour to this day.