In July of 1975, The Rolling Stones would embark upon a fantastic run of nights (five to be precise) at the legendary LA Forum in Los Angeles. This was actually the first tour with Ronnie Wood on board after Mick Taylor quit the band at the end of 1974. Although Ronnie Wood wouldn’t fully commit to the Rolling Stones until 1976, he agreed to join the band on this tour having been their number 1 pick to replace Mick Taylor.
Before the band kick off with a stunning rendition of Honky Tonk Women, Fanfare For The Common Man (a 20th century musical work by Aaron Copeland) rings out through the stadium to get everyone in the Forum up and ready for the Stones. And what a song to use, a beautiful piece of music. Then you’re immediately hit by those powerful opening riffs that could only be from Honky Tonk Women. What a way to open a show! Starting with a piece of classical style music before the Human Riff vibrates your soul with his guitar playing. I can feel it just by listening to this performance, I can’t imagine how great it would have been to be there to witness this opening in person. Beyond amazing! All Down The Line, from 1972’s Exile On Main Street comes next which is one of the more underrated songs the Rolling Stones recorded. At least that’s my opinion. It’s a fast rocker and a great song. Next up is a real treat. A medley of two songs from two era’s of the band, the first being If You Can’t Rock Me which is from their 1974 album It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll which is one of my personal favourites from that period. The second song in the medley is the great Get Off Of My Cloud which was released as a single 9 years earlier. The two go great together and this is one of the many highlights of the show.
Star Star (originally named Starfucker before the record company forced the band to change the name) is a song very much in the style of Chuck Berry. I mean that opening riff has Chuck all over it and in fact one of Keith Richards’ main influences was indeed Chuck Berry. The song contains probably the most explicit lyrics the band ever wrote and was quite controversial at the time. Next up is arguably the greatest song the Rolling Stones ever wrote and recorded, Gimme Shelter. The studio version of this is simply stunning in every sense of the word, especially the backing vocals from Merry Clayton who unfortunately doesn’t appear here. But the live version is great too as you can hear from this very recording. Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, another song from the It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll album comes next. This one is a cover having been originally recorded by The Temptations in 1966. It’s a great cover though. You Gotta Move, from Sticky Fingers, is the first slow song of the set which fits nicely after the explosive start. This features some nice slide playing from either Keith or Ronnie and is followed by a 15 minute version of You Can’t Always Get What You Want, the second longest song of the entire set. But the energy packed in to this song is mind boggling. This particular show was the third in five nights they’d play at the LA Forum yet the energy level remains the same. Of course, this could have been because of the amount of drugs they were taking at the time but I like to think it was because the band were on another level musically. It sure sounds like it. This version features some great solo sections from Ronnie and Keith as well as Bobby Keys on sax who was pretty much a member of the band at this period of time, although not on any official level.