The official Stones Archive download series rolled on, following the initial Brussels Affair with a show previously mined for the Still Life album. They kept things vintage and interesting with L.A. Friday, a remaster of a mistitled bootleg from the summer tour that coincided with the Made In The Shade compilation. Notable for the first appearances of Ron Wood with the band, it shares some sequencing with Love You Live, which was mostly recorded a year later. But it’s not a duplicate at all. L.A. Friday offers a complete show—nearly two and a half hours, downloadable to two discs.
The band is generally terrific, and the sound is incredible. Fifteen minutes of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is a bit much, but if Keith can stay awake, so can we. The law of equal time states that a “Midnight Rambler” of equal length is required, but that one had better built-in dynamics anyway. Things don’t threaten to go off the rails until the second verse of “Happy”, but you can always count on Charlie to restore order. (Mick sounds a little drunk, though; he finds his sea legs by the time “Fingerprint File” rolls around.) There’s a slight detour in the middle of the second half, where Billy Preston gets to do two of his own songs, with the band backing him up. Ronnie is no Mick Taylor, but he’s in tune, and listening to him is more pleasant than watching him.
When L.A. Friday cooks, it’s excellent, but the slower songs don’t translate as well in the same environment. But the boys made sure to end the show loud and fast—despite the out-of-sync percussion that threatens to capsize “Sympathy For The Devil”, removing the menace and turning it into a ten-minute Rio shuffle. The set is still that much of a notch above Love You Live. The price is right, too.
Rolling Stones L.A. Friday (Live 1975) (2012)—3½
CD equivalent: none; download only