The Rolling Stones - Some Girls: Live in Texas '78 DVD (2011)
Early on, Mick Jagger told an interviewer: We were blues purists who liked ever-so-commercial things but never did them onstage because we were so horrible and so aware of being blues purists, you know what I mean?"
With Some Girls, the Rolling Stones embraced those mainstream undercurrents, moving as far as they yet had from the earthen rhythm and blues that provided a bed-rock inspiration for the band's sound. After a few years of unfocused meanderings following the druggy somnambulism of Exile on Main Street, the Rolling Stones were again playing with a knifing sharpnessincorporating sinewy, rattling elements of punk and the sleek ironies of disco.
Best of all, the full-on, balls-out Some Girls was perfectly unclutteredno horn section, no guest stars like Billy Preston. That gives this subsequent live set from the summer of 1978 a chance to build off the record's latent energy, rather than fruitlessly try to match it. Filmed at Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas, on July 18 (even as the lead single Miss You" was rocketing up the charts), this set was notable for its back-to-basics approachboth musically and visually. This forthcoming Some Girls: Live in Texas '78 performance DVD is, in fact, a stripped-down wonder: no digital movie screens, no huge scaffolding for Mick Jagger to prance on, no big light show. Just a band playing.
Jagger, you realize, has yet to calcify into the preening character he's now become. There's a good measure of droll showmanship, but Jagger's drawled sexuality hasn't become so pervy and outsized, and he still cares enough about the material to experiment with a deft blues phrasing. Maybe it's the guitar. Corralled under that brown leather strap, Jagger is forced to focus his wild-eyed energy toward singingand does so with a surprising conviction, especially during the concert's middle section when the Stones perform their new material. Ron Wood proves to be a more genial foil for Keith Richards, even if he isn't the musicianly ace that Mick Taylor was. The rhythm section, in particular Charlie Watts, sneaks in these cool little splashes of cool swing. In trying something different, the Rolling Stones are brilliantly enlivened.
[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: A new anniversary edition of the Rolling Stones' 'Some Girls' includes a polished-up leftover from the sessions, a country-honk delight called 'No Spare Parts.']
So, this is, in many ways, a very important moment. We now know that the Stones are at the teetering point between two times, and really they will never sound the same again. You already feel them creeping, slowly at first, from the healthy skepticism that once drove their muse, beginning with the thrillingly detached disregard of Satisfaction," over toward an empty cynicism. There are times when Some Girls felt utterly, completely full of itbut, at this point, still in a good way.
Later, in just a few short years, things would will tilt completely in that direction. In the meantime, there was a final moment of cocksure attitude on vinyl in 1978 and now, at long last, this live performance: Gruff, not yet mockingly extravagant, in fact quite inelegant at times, in the momentperfectly, gloriously rock and roll.
Originally shot on 16mm film, the footage for Some Girls: Live in Texas '78to be issued Nov. 21 by Eagle Visionwas restored by Bob Clearmountain, who remixed and remastered the sound from the original multi-track tapes. The concert is available in four different formats: DVD, Blu-Ray, plus special DVD/CD and Blu Ray/CD digipack presentation including a reproduction of the tour program. Bonus features in all formats include a new interview with Jagger. The DVD also has four tunes"Tomorrow," Beast of Burden," Respectable" and Shattered" from a 1978 appearance on Saturday Night Live."