By Chad Baalman
Although it isn't one of The Rolling Stones' "Big Four" albums that highlighted an amazing run in the late 1960s and early '70s, Some Girls and its ensuing U.S. tour is regarded by many to be one of the band's stronger efforts.
Next month, fans will be able to relive the Stones' live experience with the DVD/Blu-ray release of Some Girls Live in Texas '78, which coincides with an expanded, remastered studio release of the album.
Originally shot on 16 millimeter film, the 17-song performance has been restored in vivid color and allows viewers to get a glimpse of the band at a time when punk rock and disco began to take a greater hold on the music scene. It also includes an August interview of frontman Mick Jagger with British journalist Paul Sexton.
The film was screened at select theaters across the country recently and shows Jagger, Keith Richards and the rest of the gang taking a "back to basics" approach, according to Sexton.
The stage was essentially barren, with just Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts (in addition to touring member/band co-founder Ian Stewart on piano) delivering a mix of classics and all but two songs off Some Girls. The expressionless Wyman, dubbed the "Silent Stone," rarely garners a close-up from the cameras and perhaps didn't lift a foot the entire night.
During the this era, the Stones took elements of the sounds of the times and melded it with their unique blend of blues and rock and roll with songs like the disco-driven "Miss You" and punk-inspired "Shattered."
"It was intense, very concentrated and not sloppy," Jagger said of the show in Texas. "(The album) was a good synthesis of what was going on at the time."
Approximately 20 forty-to-fifty-somethings took in the show at The Great Escape theater in O'Fallon, Mo.
Though he botches the lyrics on the set's opening song, a cover of Chuck Berry's "Let It Rock," Jagger was already in full finger-wagging, hip-shaking mode.
One of the highlights of the show was "Beast of Burden," with Jagger drawing the spotlight during the song's opening and his heartfelt pleas before Wood lays down a soothing solo and seamlessly trades guitar parts with Richards.
Jagger showed that he can do more than sing and work a crowd. He picked up a Fender guitar and strummed with Richards and Wood on "When The Whip Comes Down" as well as the jammin' "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)." Jagger seemed to have fun interacting with Wood on stage - even plucking a cigarette out of Wood's mouth and stamping it out.
While the Some Girls tunes were featured during the middle portion of the set, the Stones finished with a flurry of the old reliables - "Tumbling Dice," Richards on vocals on "Happy" and "Brown Sugar," with Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" thrown in for good measure.
The Rolling Stones wrapped things up with "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and it took three buckets of water from Jagger to cool off the crowd on hot summer night in Texas.
Taking in Some Girls Live in Texas '78 was my first experience in viewing The Rolling Stones in a live setting. And even though I'm more of a fan of the Stones' down-and-dirty sound from the Big Four stretch, this release will definitely find its way onto my Christmas list this year.
Let It Rock
All Down The Line
Honky Tonk Women
When The Whip Comes Down
Beast Of Burden
Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)
Far Away Eyes
Love In Vain
Sweet Little Sixteen
Jumpin' Jack Flash
Running time (concert): Approximately 85 minutes