September 07, 2012

Rolling Stones Bring the Whip Down on 'Some Girls - Live In Texas '78'

The Rolling Stones were losing their edge. By the late ‘70s, amid the throes of punk's rebellious angst and disco's ribald decadence, the Stones—who had long personified both such distinctions—seemed atypically tame.

It had been a long six years since the band’s last really big deal, Exile on Main Street, and even that wasn’t considered the classic then that it generally is today. Critics had begun to dismiss the Stones as obsolete, a relic of a bygone age. If they failed to harness their collective talent, stave off their detractors, and deliver the goods with their next album, the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band stood to get knocked off its proverbial cloud.

Some Girls, released in June 1978, heralded the Stones’ brazen return to form and, moreover, to artistic relevance. Simmering with loose groove and swagger the album seethed with all the spunk and splendor of New York’s urban jungle.

By the time the Stones rolled into the Lone Star State the following month on a tour stop in Fort Worth, Some Girls was the number-one album in America. Their performance at the Will Rogers Memorial Centre, captured in the concert film, Some Girls - Live in Texas '78, reveals just how hard they were pushing to stay on top.

Watching them here, not so much playing as but working—the band performs seven of the new album’s ten tracks in one block, book-ended by a smattering of older hits and favorites—is riveting.

Mick Jagger prowls the stage with a feral, no-bounds libido—during “Tumbling Dice” he cops a feel of guitarist Ronnie Wood’s crotch—and striking, in-the-moment conviction. Fronting the band with impassioned, soulful urgency one moment (“Beast of Burden”) and savage ferocity the next (“Shattered,” “When The Whip Comes Down”), he rules the roost throughout this stunning performance