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3.4 out of 5 stars
Live Licks
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108 of 118 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2004
Format: Audio CD
So far, the reviews seem to divide between people angry about Live Licks, and people angry about the people who don't like it. Let's try to reason together, folks.

What do people want from a 21st Century live Rolling Stones CD? Some folks want the Stones to dig into their treasure trove of back catalog for great songs that haven't been released live before. Some want the Stones to dig into their R&B roots for the old blues and soul songs that they started their career covering. Some will not be satisfied without hearing Stones classics. Of course, we all want the geezers to defy all odds and continue to care. Despite the whining from some quarters, all of the above goals are addressed.

In a solid programming decision, there is one 11-song disc of all classics (or overdone warhorses, depending on your viewpoint) - and a second 13-song disc devoid of same, with lots of really well-chosen stuff we've never heard the Stones do live. If you do want the classics, they are well-performed and recorded here. For those who can't believe that they are recording these songs again, you can buy Live Licks for $12 if you try (I got mine at a retail store for $11.99, and some Amazon vendors are also selling it around that price) - even if only one of these two discs appeals to you, is $12 out of line for well-recorded, energetic performances of music this good? OK, I understand the feeling behind "Jeez, do we really need another version of Honky Tonk Woman?" So toss disc 1 if you feel that way, and you still have disc 2 which starts out with terrific performances of "Neighbors," "Monkey Man," "Rocks Off," and "Can't You Hear Me Knocking." I didn't ever expect to hear "Knocking" from a post-Mick Taylor Stones - and they absolutely nail it. "Monkey Man" sounds like it was cut circa Let It Bleed.. Despite the hand-wringing about a seamless 2-second edit in "Rocks Off," you have a great bunch of Stones nuggets never before released live. There are terrific versions of beloved R&B covers the Stones did before they hit their stride as songwriters: "That's How Strong My Love Is" and "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" - the latter with a blast-furnace soul shouting cameo from Solomon Burke.

Can we all agree that Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out is the definitive Stones live disc without banning them from releasing any more live performances? I mean, come on, there are 24 tracks here, and only three repeat songs from Ya-Ya's It's only the second time for "Gimme Shelter," and the only other time was on the not-particularly-beloved "No Security." The way Lisa Fischer wails on it, and the way the Stones still play, no apologies are needed.

OK, so how do the old folks sound this time? There are no words for the unchangeable greatness of Charlie Watts, so I won't even try. Mick & Keith defy all odds by sounding as though they still love their jobs. We are now way beyond any precedent for rock & roll bands playing into their 5th decade, and they still play "Street Fighting Man" as though crucial to Western Civilization. The playing is crisp throughout, the recording quality is excellent. By all rights, the Stones should have gotten too bored to carry on, oh, about 20 years ago. Come to think of it, they were bored 20 years ago. This is their 2d wind..

OK, there are a few edits and if you know the songs well, you will notice. But the edits are technically seamless, and not jarring. Since the Stones have had total artistic control over their releases for over 20 years, I'll just sorta presume that they had good reasons to release it the way they did. Since neither of the two discs are pushing time limitations for the media, the edits were not done to squeeze more songs in. The edits are not that big a deal unless you are a fuss-budget.

Incidentally, I am not a Stones apologist or a newbie who doesn't know any better. I`ve been a Stones fan since the mid-60's, and I'd agree that their last really solid LP was Exile On Main Street (as far as I'm concerned, even Some Girls is a mixed bag). The only live discs that worked for me were Ya-Ya's and Flashpoint. But this one's a keeper.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2004
Format: Audio CD
While I agree with some of the criticim regarding the editing of this double disk, the sound is excellent and the performances are very solid. This CD is very representative of the Stones live sound and is a good listen. I've been a Stones fan all my life, I have every one of their albums, and I'm happy to add this CD to my collection. The first disk covers a lot of ground that's already been covered on other Stones live disks but the second disk especially will make a nice addition to any Stones/music collection.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Love the music, BUT here's where I get really mad. By their own stats included in the CD booklet, the Stones played 116 shows and performed 2301 songs. Do the maths: an average of 4 mins per song and you have 9,204 minutes of recordings but, on 2 CDs that are capable of 150 mins of music, we get only 49 mins on CD1 and 60 minutes on CD2, a total of 109 minutes. Like the other reviewer, I reckon I feel cheated as well but for a totally different reason. I was so lucky to see a "Let It Bleed" show in Melbourne Australia which included a blistering "Midnight Rambler" and one of the best performances of "Tumbling Dice" I have ever seen or heard. Where are they? Where is "Jumping Jack Flash?" I cannot believe that out of all the performances, enough songs to fill 2 CD's could not be found......NOT GOOD ENOUGH, EMI/Virgin!!!! In an era when you are fighting off the downloaders and P2P sites around the world, you end up treating your legitimate long-standing purchasers (40 yrs of record & CD buying here) in such a cynical fashion. I still love the music, but call me greedy, I do believe you could have delivered more.
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31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Live Licks is such a nice live record. The first CD covers most of the Stones' classic (Brown Sugar, Start Me Up, You can't always get what you want, Gimmer HSelter, Honky Tonk Women, Paint it Black). And that's great stuff. But the second CD is even better. This is a bunch of sings that were NEVER previously recorded live! And some of them are very very good (Monkey Man originally recorded in Let it Bleed, 1969; or can't you hear me knocking from Sticky Fingers, 1971).

Best song is Keith's cover of Hoagy Carmichael's The Nearness of You--a song that he perfomed several times during the licks tour (Paris, Toronto, etc).

This live cd is a must-have for all those who went to see the Stones live and for all those who have never seen them (and might not get a chance to see them in the future).
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Not a criticism, since you can't play the DVD's on your CD player, but for those wondering, if you already have the "Four Flicks" DVD set, you have all the songs represented here.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I have seen the Stones live dating back to '73. The band has been a 1 guitar band since '75 and it sounds like it on this Cd.

Twangy sound and edited songs. I know they are still Rolling but why not capitalize on some of their live recordings from the American tour from '72 or European tour of '73. Do yourself a favor..get yourself an ebay account and bid on the 2 Cd Brussels Affair bootleg of their '73 performance. You will never listen to the 'new' live Licks stuff again.
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30 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Let me start by stating the obvious--I am a Rolling Stones fan. That being said, this CD is bad. I mean Jordan with the Wizards bad--Santo with the White Sox bad--Ron Wood with the Stones bad (just kidding...sort of). Yeah,ok there are some gems on disc two but was there a need for disc one? No, no, no and no. If that is the best they can come up with after a year-plus of touring, I must have not been paying attention the last three times I saw them, because I actually thought they sounded great. The four-DVD set (minus MSG)--outstanding. The live reviews--fantastic. WHAT HAPPENED?? Ronnie, put the cigarette down and play something--I mean something good. Keith, pick up said cigarette and stop yourself. I feel cheated after listening to this disc. What has the Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World come to--putting out even worse versions of the tired retreads they have put out 10 times before. Ugh. Crank up Get Yer Ya Ya's Out and save yourself the heartache of hearing a great band jump the shark.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2008
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
The 2002/2003 Live Licks World Tour was vast in scope and set a new standard in staging concerts. Spanning 23 countries, The Rolling Stones had gigs in clubs, arenas and stadiums, with ever-changing playlists which made each date truly special.

And this 2-CD set does a good job in showcasing the power and energy witnessed by nearly 3.5 million fans. The diamonds are on the second disc, which features a variety of rarities, including Neighbors, Monkey Man and Everybody Needs Somebody To Love (with Solomon Burke).

But cutting through the clean mix is drummer Charlie Watts. His jazz-inspired patterns has defined the band's legendary sound, while being a great influence on rock-n-roll drummers for five decades. Each number is a textbook in propelling the rhythm, with the highlights being Street Fighting Man, Paint It, Black, Gimme Shelter and (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.

Leave it to the band to encapsulate cyberspace through the CD cover. Far away eyes, indeed. This is as solid of an authorized live release in the band's discography, which dates back to 1964.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The fact that there are two versions of this CD, one with a bikini-clad cover girl and the original sans bikini, makes you wonder about the priorities of the Western world, doesn't it?

Anyway...this is a pretty good live album. I've seen some people complain about the sound, but it's not that bad, it's just not truly great, and that goes for the album itself as well I suppose.
If you don't own any live Stones, you won't mind the fact that songs like "Start Me Up", "Street Fighting Man", "Honky Tonk Women" and "Satisfaction" have been available live for a long time and on several different albums. And if you do, well, then you're probably considering to buy this album because of disc two, which features a dozen rarely heard songs which have never appeared live before.

Now, I don't know why these rarities have to be compiled on a disc of their own...I would have preferred them to be mixed in with the old warhorses on disc one. But that's the way things are, and it's nice to have them.
Disc one is highlighted by powerful renditions of "Paint It Black" and "Street Fighting Man", and disc two features a really good, bluesy "Monkey Man" and a wonderful take on the classic blues "Rock Me Baby". "Brown Sugar" is alright, too, and I'm sure it was very provocative and exciting thirty years ago when Jagger first changed the line "like a young girl should" into "like a young man should". I've gotten kinda tired of it by now, though.

Sir Michael Jagger is actually the main reason why I've given this album only three stars. His vocals are frequently sloppy and unfocused, and while I expect that from Keith Richards, Jagger used to be a better singer than this. Perhaps he still is, but "Live Licks" is not his finest hour. He is not terrible, but he is also very rarely great, and I hate that annoying faux-country slur of his.

Still, it's good to hear the 60s soul cover "That's How Strong My Love Is" and the driving (if slightly ragged) "Rocks Off". And of course one of my personal "cult" favorites, Keith Richards' swinging reggae-number "You Don't Have To Mean It".
The band is really good, too, as tight as a 13-man combo can be. "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out" and "Love You Live" remain the best live Stones albums in my book, but dedicated fans should find something to like here as well. One hour and fifty minutes of music on a double live album from a 43-year-old band is a bit stingy, though...they could've found room for another ten songs.

"Live Licks" is a decent album, but if you really want the taste of the Stones' "Licks" tour, go for the DVD set "Four Flicks". Yeah, it's kinda expensive, but it is so much better...and it has Keith Richards' wonderful performance of "Slipping Away" from London's Twickenham Sadium, one of the absolute highlights of the tour.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Why are we fighting? Why are we fighting? Sure, some of the edits are weird, but guys, this is a band and on this CD they are tight. Listen to "Live Licks" loud! To me the CDs sound JUST like the Stones sounded in Tokyo in 2003 -- loud and locked in with each other. No Stone stands out on any of these tracks. Everyone is good. Again, play it loud, dance to it, crank it up in another room or in your car, make it part of your daily life and it will grow on you. Don't be like "Rolling Stone" and pan it right out of the gate, like they did with "Exile". This band is the best -- as a rock band, and "Live Licks" captures them.
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