When the Rolling Stones were the world's greatest band

The Rolling Stones were the world's greatest rock and roll band in 1969. That was 40 years ago, but if you need proof to verify the ancient claim, check out the new "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! The Rolling Stones In Concert--40th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set."

Inside the box you'll find four discs. Steve Guttenberg

The Rolling Stones really were the world's greatest rock and roll band in 1969. That was 40 years ago, but if you need proof to verify the ancient claim, check out the "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! The Rolling Stones In Concert--40th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set."

The Stones' live shows of the '70s, '80s, '90s and '00s were spectacles of frenzied energy, extravagant sets, video projections, and lots of flash, but "Ya Ya" was the real deal. The five Rolling Stones were the show, and that was more than enough. If you're going to only buy one live Stones CD, get "Ya Ya."

The original album was recorded over two nights at Madison Square Garden; I was there at one of those shows. I had a great time and bought the LP as soon as it came out. Still have it.

Keith Richards and Mick Taylor's yin vs. yang guitar styles meshed perfectly on "Midnight Rambler" and "Sympathy For The Devil." Mick Jagger and Richards paid tribute to the man who invented rock and roll, Chuck Berry, with a romping "Little Queenie." The new box set includes the original version on CD, plus a five-song EP from the same shows, with unplugged performances of "Prodigal Son" and "You Gotta Move." Sound quality is really good for a 1960s-era live recording, but I prefer the sound of the single disc "Ya Ya" SACD that came out in 2002, at least when it's played on a SACD player.

Disc Three features the shows opening acts, blues master B.B. King and Ike and Tina Turner. Me, I loved King's set; Turner's seems rushed, and the sound mix is spotty. Disc Four is a 29-minute DVD of the five tunes on (CD) Disc Two. I loved the shots of Richards and later Taylor backstage with Jimi Hendrix, and then there's Janis Joplin dancing off-stage, having a grand old time. Some of the DVD's material appears on "Gimme Shelter," a documentary film of the Rolling Stones' 1969 American tour (which is not part of this box set). The Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes sound surprisingly good.

You also get a hard-cover 56-page book with a few essays and a postcard replica of the original Rolling Stones 1969 tour poster. A limited number of box sets will also have an insert with a code to download "I'm Free (Live)" for "Guitar Hero."

Vinyl fans haven't been forgotten, The "Super Deluxe" edition of "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! The Rolling Stones in Concert" includes all of the content of the "Deluxe Edition" with vinyl LPs, one of which has etched images featuring the cover art and the Rolling Stones' signatures. Groovy!

If that's more Ya Ya than you need, stick with the 2002 hybrid CD/SACD.

About the author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.

 

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