Rolling Stones Licked Live

REVIEW: The Rolling Stones “Licked Live In NYC”


The Rolling Stones – Licked Live In NYC – 2 CD + DVD

This 40th-anniversary tour brought The Rolling Stones to NY’s Madison Square Garden on Jan. 2003. Originally produced by the Stones & TGA the venue was produced/directed by Marty Callner & originally released as a 2003 HBO special. The program’s fully restored/remastered with 4 previously unreleased songs, some live Amsterdam tunes & rehearsals.

Rolling Stones

Most fans know who does what. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood & the late Charlie Watts supplemented by Darryl Jones (bass/bv), Chuck Leavell (keyboards/bv), Bobby Keys (sax), Bernard Fowler & Lisa Fischer (bgv), Blondie Chaplin (acoustic guitar/percussion/bgv), Tim Ries (sax/keys), Kent Smith (trumpet) & Michael Davis (trombone). Sheryl Crow appears as a guest on “Honky Tonk Women.”


It’s 17 classics over 2 CDs (2 hours-9 minutes) of Licked Live In NYC (Drops June 10–Mercury Studio/Universal Music). Through the decades the band has always been exciting despite some spotty performances. Yet, the magical combination of Jagger & the sparks from the twin guitars of Richards & Wood, the steady inventive dynamic beat of the late Mr. Watts. Other bands were cake, The Stones were pastries.

At this junction, it’s nothing short of miraculous since they still rock & no one does it better. The Who are equally intense, driving & talented. But they don’t have the snarl, gritty aplomb, the ghosts & goblins of reputations, the burnt thick tabloid smoke & the notoriety that followed the band for decades that endeared them to a mass audience.

On this live issue, the excitement’s captured, the energy has traction & The Stones’ proficient repertoire — always a busy hive of songs filled with musical bees & Jagger buzzes.

Richards & Wood’s guitar strings come wiry out of their wrists & stretch down the necks to unleash the unified gnarling notes that slice like blades. The music’s what they always deliver. “Start Me Up,” was an instant classic & came after the 70s punks told the group of “old men” to hang it up. But the punks are gone. The Stones still play. Some say they should retire. If they do that’s when rock music will slip away. Judging from the 2022 stage show they have lots of viable rock music up their sleeves.


Their new originals should reflect their age — let’s not kid ourselves. It can be done. One new title should be “Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” as this concert professes. These men still have lots of vinegar. “Monkey Man,” is excellently performed but many smoking songs come peppered on the 2nd disc. The show is carefully paced & Jagger (a natural-born performer) never overreaches. This is where his crafty genius is evident — though his over-pronouncing of words in “Satisfaction,” gnaws. I don’t know why he does this. He has the swagger still & the musicianship sizzles. Bobby Keys’ sax pours super-charged notes throughout “Brown Sugar.” Mick isn’t concerned with showboating vocals – he’s focused on dynamic showmanship.

To re-write a famous Charlton Heston quote (about rifles) into a good Keith Richards lyric — “the only way to take this guitar is to pull it from my dead cold fingers…” From the sound of this CD – that may be true.

The well-designed package has a stitched color insert. Color image courtesy: Jim Pietryga.

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