The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels Live ~ Atlantic City, New Jersey
(Eagle Vision / Universal / Promotone – 2020)
Well I remember way back when I recorded a Steel Wheels Show from Wembley Stadium off Radio 1 back in the day and getting a bootleg LP of the Tour from Amsterdam, but now for the time I am able to enjoy the show both audible as a 2 CD set and audio/visually in the form of a DVD from a gig on 19th December, 1989 at the Convention Centre, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA with a few guests added for good measures too!
As you can imagine, the set list is very much built around their 'Steel Wheels' album that was a smash hit to put it mildly with the boys cranking out note-perfect renditions of then-fresh masterpieces like 'Mixed Emotions', 'Rock And A Hard Place', 'Sad, Sad, Sad' and 'Terrifying' plus a ton more classics too such as 'Undercover' which has been dug out for the tour too and sounding sensational!
Mick plays a lot of guitar on this show too which is cool and he wears a really nice long golden jacket during an old one which turns out to be 'She's A Rainbow'. Woody's red shirt don't half go with the red Telecaster as well. Now what about the giant sized inflatable women either side of that stage for 'Honkey Tonk Women'? – now they are severely massive indeed to say the least and add that extra visual pzzazz to the Stones gem!
So good to hear 'Bitch' which comes as track number too – always a 'Sticky Fingers' favourite or perfectly blending 'Salt Of The Earth' that features Mick Jagger and Axl Rose with Izzy Stradlin' also on guitar – the 1st time they had done it live in concert too – I guess The Rock And Roll Circus back in 69 does not count since it was a shelved for decades 'TV Special'. The coupling of these two is a magical experience and how young does Mr. Rose look here – he really does lap it up and is loving being on stage with these legends whilst Izzy simply plays away at the back with a more serious looking face.
Mick's harp playing is note faultless and pretty intricate on 'Midnight Rambler' and that black that fits him well too, whilst Bernard Fowler, Lisa Fischer and Cindy Mizelle are in absolute fine-form and look so divine and snazzy too who wail out the high ended notes in impeccable gospel quality voice with 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' being an exquisite example. Then there's the immortal Sax playing of the late legend, Bobby Keys to comprehend throughout too - such a loss that cat is!
The late great John Lee Hooker gets to take centre stage too where they back him on 'Boogie Chillun', not to mention it also giving a show-shining light to Eric Clapton too who also guests on the Howlin' Wolf classic 'Little Red Rooster' too! Okay, so Keith's voice is a bit worn on 'Can't Be Seen' but he's never been thought of as a frontman anyway to be honest – Keith is Keith and the world would be a sh*t place without him.
Well worth a mention is '2000 Light Years From Home' that has a close intimate bit with Mick 'N' Lisa and finishes with a very atmospheric instrumental section on the synths and keyboards from Chuck Leavell and Matt Clifford that is spooky and spacial at the same time that morphs into 'Sympathy For The Devil'.
All the way through Bill Wyman hardly moves at all and appears to be permanently glued to the stage, taking it all in and throwing the bass notes in the pocket alongside the stone-faced (scuse the pun) Charlie Watts who keeps time on those drums. 'Gimme Shelter' is one hell of a version here with Miss. Fischer stealing Mick's fire completely with those vocal chops whilst the Saxophone soloing on 'Brown Sugar' is knockout! There's a nice vocal improvisation section during 'Satisfaction' and those Uptown Horns are really blasting out in the mix to!
'Jumping Jack Flash' leaps off the stage as the encore with Mick wearing a boxing robe through around half the song – till he gets red hot and slings it – Ronnie then picks it up and wipes his face in it hahaha, whilst Keith is forever as cool as fuck with those priceless guitar-filled poses and pumping out riffs to die for alongside Mr. Wood's equally outstanding soloing too. Mick hardly stops still throughout this show and he really is a mighty wonder of the world! I mean, where does all that limitless energy from? His fitness regime has got to be brutal!
So nice to see everyone out at the front at the end who has performed including all the guests as well, with Mick, Charlie, Keith, Ronnie and Bill making a final line-up themselves at the end too.. watch out for that microphone stand Woody... brilliant!
A gig and a half & well worth adding to your CD/DVD collection!
By Glenn Milligan