The Rolling Stones - Brussels Affair- Live 1973 (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Rolling Stones

Brussels Affair- Live 1973 (2011)

Universal Music Group

Depending which Stone you ask, they are either in the earliest stages of prepping for their 50th anniversary or have no plans at all to celebrate the half century mark. Because things have been quiet on the Stones front for some time, they've recently opened their vault, something they have previously been hesitant to do, only releasing two (semi) rarities collections, in the previous 50 years.

Last year saw the release of the titanic Exile on Main Street with bonus tracks. Just last month they released a concert video of the hell-raising 1978 tour, with a planned re-release of Some Girls with bonus tracks. Now that the biggest monoliths are out of the way, the band is digging into the really rare stuff, much to the fans' benefits.

The first release from the new "Stones Archive" is a cleaned up version of a bootlegged 1973 concert from Belgium. As the band tears through their newest tunes at the time on Brussels Affair- Live 1973, their raw energy mixed with talent and understanding of their source exemplifies why they really are the world's greatest rock n roll band.

1973 was an interesting year for the Stones. Still receiving accolades for 1971's Sticky Fingers, the band received mixed critical and commercial success for 1972's follow up, Exile on Main Street. Despite Exile's dipping numbers, the band seemed to be very proud of the double disc set and kept a hefty amount of those tunes in rotation, but they were also eager to try out new songs from the not yet released Goat's Head Soup, resulting in a set that almost equally balance the two albums with their "hits."

As soon as the band kicks into a revved up "Brown Sugar," the Stones make a statement that while folk rock and prog were gaining footing, the band was there to rock with a hefty amount of juiced-up blues, almost forecasting punk with each slammed chord. Keith Richards and then-Stones guitarist Mick Taylor are on fire, with Richards intertwining his open chord riffs with Taylor's Bayou/Georgia blues twang, creating some of their most aggressive music to date.

Meanwhile, Jagger became even more of a bluesman, singing with a slight growl and loose jaw. Instead of enunciating words, he forces them from his stomach. For some bizarre reason, modern publications have recently started the trend of minimizing Jagger's contribution to the group (I'm all like *what?!*). Here, though, Jagger simply proves that the after-the-fact historians are wrong. On "Starfucker," Jagger becomes a proto-punk jester, calling out groupies in a mix of disdain and self-congratulation. But then, just as his voice is rough and bilious, he switches to a gentle, but raw and vulnerable, lover on "Angie" lamenting the end of a relationship while stating that the break is necessary. The tone of his voice alone conveys multiple implications. He's happy for the end, but just as bummed out, and maybe, just maybe, he's the reason the relationship is over…

Although the Stones have always been a rock band, the 1973 tour was one of the first where the band had become huge, and it's reflected by the set list, the confidence with which the band plays, but also the sheer grittiness with which the band whips through their catalogue.This is as good as live albums get. Keep 'em coming, boys.


-In my opinion, the Top five Stone tours are: 1978 U.S.A.; 2006 U.S.A.; 1973 Europe; 1982 World; 2003 U.S.A.

-How about a physical release?! I need pictures!

-Those of you with large collections might want to compare the riff from "Heartbreaker" to a certain Captain Sensible tune…