Not Just "Another" Stones Live Album

The Rolling Stones - No Security
(Virgin Records)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)

By Tony Bonyata

I know what you're probably thinking, "Dear Lord, not another Stones live album! ".
Ever since their beginning as a rock-and-roll band some thirty-five years ago The Rolling Stones have felt compelled to release live albums. They have produced seven live albums throughout their career - three of them released this decade alone, 1991's Flashpoint, documenting their Steel Wheels / Urban Jungle World Tour, 1995's Stripped and their latest No Security. They continue to do this, more than likely, to easily fulfill contractual agreements with their record companies without actually having to create any new music. But the real reason may actually lie in a 1970 confession made by Jagger, "If it weren't for bootleggers we probably wouldn't put out live albums...Our records will sound better and be cheaper".
Now thirty-three years after their first commercial live recording Got Live If You Want It!, Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie have decided to cash in one more time on No Security, an album that documents their hugely successful "Bridges To Babylon" tour from last year.
While No Security lacks the beautifully raw and intimate performances and rarely played gems such as "Shine A Light", "The Spider And The Fly", "Love In Vain" and "Sweet Virginia" from their Stripped album, The Stones do, however, manage to ditch their obligatory hits from the "Bridges" tour, such as "Satisfaction", "Miss You" and "Jumping Jack Flash", in favor of mixing in newer songs with a good number of rarely heard tunes from that (or any) tour.
What makes this album stand out above most of their other live releases - except for maybe their quintessential live recording Get Your Ya-Ya's Out, which documented their tumultuous 1969 tour - is that it even without some of their better known classics it is an accurate account of a great Stones tour. Which further proves that the elaborate stage sets, costly lighting and pyrotechnics that they haul from city to city are really just extra baggage. Their shows, after all, are really about the music, and No Security is a perfect example of this.
Recorded in four different countries; The Netherlands, Argentina, Germany and the U.S., this album has an energized continuity to it that makes it feel like it was recorded on one night.
Newer songs from their last two albums such as the gospel-baptized "Saint Of Me", rocks-off swagger of "You Got Me Rocking" and the soulful "Out Of Control" wear well with older treasures like "Respectable", "Gimme Shelter", "Live With Me" and "Sister Morphine". Although Dave Matthews' guest vocals on "Memory Motel" seem a bit out of place, Taj Mahal's joyful vocal duet with Jagger on his own number "Corinna" is a welcome addition to this set.
With a carefully hand-picked selection of songs along with a crystal clear recording that emphases Jagger's powerful voice, Keith Richard's punchy guitar riffs as well as Ronnie Wood's snaky lead guitar and the metronome rhythms from drummer Charlie Watts and bassist Darryl Jones, No Security proves to be a lot more than just another Stones live album.

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