Mercury Studios (formerly Eagle Rock Entertainment) and The Rolling Stones have brought quite a bit of enjoyment to fans of the legendary rock band over the course of almost the past decade. The two sides have partnered since 2012 to release no less than 18 archived live recordings from The Rolling Stones. The shows have come from points around the globe, from England to Japan to Cuba to the United States. Now Friday, the two sides will revisit one of The Rolling Stones’ “older” live recordings when they re-issue the band’s 2007 live recording, A Bigger Bang: Live on Copacabana Beach. While it is a re-issue, this recording is still a presentation that will appeal to any fan of The Rolling Stones. That is due in no small part to the recording’s featured set list, which will be discussed shortly. The re-issue’s companion booklet is also of note. It will be discussed a little later. The recording’s production values round out its most important elements and will also be discussed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the re-issue. All things considered, they make the re-issue another wonderful new addition to the library of any fan of The Rolling Stones.
Mercury Studios and The Rolling Stones’ forthcoming re-issue of its 2007 live recording, A Bigger Bang: Live on Copacabana Beach, is a re-issue done right. It will no doubt appeal to all of the band’s audiences. That includes those who might already own the recording’s original release. This is proven in large part through the recording’s set list. The set list features a total of 20 songs, one of which – ‘Night Time is the Right Time – is a cover of a song made famous by the equally legendary singer/songwriter, Ray Charles. Four others – ‘Sympathy for the Devil,’ ‘This Place is Empty,’ ‘Oh No, Not You Again,’ and ‘Tumbling Dice’ – were not featured in the original recording. This despite the fact that the band performed said songs at the 2006 concert, held in Rio De Janeiro. Mercuty Studios and The Rolling Stones are to be especially commended for the inclusion of the noted songs as part of the recording because it would have been just as easy for each side to just make the songs “bonus content.” This is something that many labels and acts do with live recordings. Even Mercury Studios has taken this route in past recordings from other acts. So to make the previously unreleased songs part of the main feature makes the recording whole. This, again, will appeal not only to those audiences who maybe do not already own the recording’s 2007 presentation, but also to those who do own that recording. It will certainly make replacing that recording all the easier.
Adding to the importance of the set list is that while the band once again features many of its timeless hits here, it also lifts from its then new album, 2005’s A Bigger Bang. The set list is not necessarily career-defining in the purest sense of the word, but it does pull from nin (almost half) of the albums that the band had released up to that point. A Bigger Bang and Exile on Main Street each get the most nods at three while Sticky Fingers and Let It Bleed each get two. Along the way, other records, such as It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll, Voodoo Lounge, Some Girls, and Tattoo You each get one nod along with other records from the band’s extensive catalog.
As if everything noted is not enough, there is still one more aspect of the set list worth noting. That aspect is that the set list is presented in the same sequence on each of its available platforms. Those platforms are: DVD/2CD, SD BD/2CD, 2DVD/2CD, and 3LP. The Deluxe 2DVD/2CD platform will feature a 40-page book and the concert on DVD and CD. The bonus second DVD features the band’s 2005 Salt Lake City, UT concert in whole. That concert was also in support of A Bigger Bang. Now, keeping in mind all that the positives that the recording’s set list offers audiences, it is just a part of what makes this re-issue successful. The companion booklet that accompanies the recording adds its own appeal to the presentation.
The companion booklet that accompanies this re-issue is important because of the liner notes featured therein. Crafted by journalist Paul Sexton, the liner notes set the stage (pardon the pun) for the concert featured on the noted platforms. Sexton points out in his notes, front man Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards’ 1968 vacation to the region was at least partially responsible for the samba beat featured in ‘Sympathy for the Devil.’ He also notes that the free concert, which is estimated to have had an audience in excess of 1.5 million people, was not just something that the band did on a whim. He points out that a lot of thought and planning went into the event beforehand. That whole story will be left for audiences to discover for themselves just as much as that of the region’s impact on some of the band’s older material. Additionally, Sexton cites the band members themselves as they recall fondly, the experience of playing before one of the largest audiences ever for a free concert by any act. Between everything noted here and so much more pointed out by Sexton, the whole makes the liner notes just as important as the set list to this re-issue. It is easy to argue, considering this, that audiences should really read the liner notes before taking in the concert. Keeping that in mind, the overall content featured in this recording gives audiences much to appreciate. The collective content is only a portion of what makes the recording successful. The recording’s production values round out its most important elements.
The production values in this recording are just as appealing as the concert’s content. While 4KUHD might not have been a reality in 2006, recording technology from the early 2000s was still a huge improvement in comparison to that of the 80s and 90s. Keeping that in mind, the audio and video mix in this re-issue is solid throughout the course of the concert’s approximately two hour run time. The sound balance is expert from beginning to end. The camera work captures the concert from so many great angles. Staying on that note, the direction is to be commended for having such an eye for those angles. Thanks to that collective work, audiences are taken on stage with the band and above the crowd with various crane cam shots. The shots change at a pace that is just right to accent the energy within each song. This in itself is important because it means at no point will audiences be left feeling dizzied or even bored. The mixes make the transitions just as smooth, too. Simply put, everything incorporated in to the production makes the concert’s presentation just as successful as the concert’s content. All things considered, the concert proves to be a prime example of a re-issue done right.
Mercury Studios and The Rolling Stones’ forthcoming re-issue of A Bigger Bang: Live on Copacabana Beach is a presentation that every fan of The Rolling Stones will appreciate. That is proven in part through its featured set list. The set list runs 20 songs deep and is presented in whole. That is in comparison to the set list featured in the recording’s 2007 presentation, which was lacking four songs featured in the then 2006 concert. The set list is also featured in the same sequence on each of its available platforms. It is also an extensive presentation of the band’s catalog at that point. Given it might not be career-spanning per se, but still does a good job of representing the band’s catalog. The liner notes featured in the recording’s companion booklet add their own appeal because of the foundation that they form. That foundation is formed through the background information that the notes provide. The recording’s production rounds out the presentation’s most important elements. The sound and video are expertly balanced while the cinematography does its own share to keep viewers engaged and entertained. It is a tribute to the work that was put in to remaster and re-edit all of the featured content. Each element examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording. All things considered, they make the recording a presentation that every fan of The Rolling Stones will enjoy and a prime example of a re-issue done right.
A Bigger Bang: Live on Copacabana Beach is available now through Mercury Studios and Universal Music Group. More information on Steel Wheels Live is available along with all of its latest news at: