I am not sure the reasoning behind The Rolling Stones' recent decision to go through their vaults and unleash some of the archival material they've been sitting on for decades, but fans, especially those who didn't get to experience as it happened, should consider themselves very lucky. One of the many great video releases is Some Girls - Live In Texas '78, capturing the band during their July 18, 1978 performance at Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
Considering all the hits in their catalog by that point in their careers, they could effortlessly pack a setlist with greatest hits, but it's a great tribute to their character that they honor Chuck Berry with a cover of "Let It Rock." Keith Richards' guitar is spot-on as it delivers the trademark Berry sound while Mick Jagger's delivery brings to mind Bob Dylan's phrasing on "Highway 61 Revisited."
On "Honky Tonk Women" Richards joins Jagger on the chorus. Making the show unique for the crowd, Jagger changes the location of where he "laid a divorcee" from New York City, "to somewhere in Dallas." He also changed the lyrics on "Star Star," dropping the reference to John Wayne for a slight against Jimmy Page.
Some Girls is an impressive album and obviously the band had full faith in it, performing seven of its ten tracks in row during the middle of the set. Jagger told Rolling Stone "the inspiration for the record was really based in New York and the ways of the town. I think that gave it an extra spur and hardness." You can hear the musical influences of the city at that time. "When The Whip Comes Down," "Shattered," and "Respectable" each bring to mind punk rock with their aggressive energy and raw lyrics as they tell tales of a male prostitute, of struggling in the rough and tumble of the city, and of reminding a high society woman where she came from. Richards and Ron Wood take turns ripping it up on guitar with Jagger adding a third on "Whip," "Miss You," The Temptations' "Just My Imagination," and "Respectable." "Beast of Burden" and especially "Miss You" have a dance club vibe with the rhythm section of bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts augmented by Ian McLagen's keyboards.
They close out the Some Girls segment with "Far Away Eyes," a country song that references Bakersfield, CA with Jagger on piano. Wood makes some wonderful sounds on the steel pedal followed by Doug Kershaw on the violin after Jagger tells him when he should play. They then play the blues with Wood delivering outstanding slide guitar licks on Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain" while McLagen delivers outstanding organ fills. Richards takes the lead vocal on "Happy" and then another Berry song, "Sweet Little 16," finds Ian Stewart's piano very prominent in the mix. They close out with two Stones classics, "Brown Sugar" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash." The latter finds Jagger throwing buckets of water into the crowd.
The best part of the Blu-ray was opening the case to discover it comes with a CD of the concert because even without the video, Live in Texas '78 would make a great live album. I wish more Concert Blu-rays allowed you to take the music with you.
The video is presented in 1080i at an aspect ratio of 1.66:1. The source should limit expectations as it was shot on 16mm and the concert lighting likely didn't take the cameras into account. The colors exhibit adequate brightness. Blacks appear less successful in achieving their desired state. Most noticeable is how soft the lines and edges are throughout but the image looks clean. In fact, could have used less clarity at times when Jagger's package was on full display unrestrained in his odd pants.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is exceptional, delivering pristine clarity. The instruments sound distinct in the mix with Wood and Richards positioned in the surrounds. Jagger and Richards' vocals are clear and never get overpowered by the band. The only minor quibble is the audience reaction sounds like it's been tweaked.
The disc comes with enjoyable bonus features. Similar to Ladies and Gentleman...The Rolling Stones, "Mick Jagger Interview 2011" (HD, 15 min) finds the lead singer talking about making the album and the era that occurred. The band's Saturday Night Live appearance from 10/7/78 (SD, 21 min) finds Jagger interviewed by Dan Aykroyd spoofing Tomorrow's Tom Snyder, and the band playing "Beast of Burden" (where Jagger's voice sounds slightly shot), "Respectable," and "Shattered." Lastly is a too-brief segment from ABC News' 20/20 from 6/20/78 (SD, 5 min) with Geraldo Rivera interviewing the band sans Watts while they rehearsed in Woodstock, New York.
Some Girls - Live In Texas '78 should be embraced by all people. It's yet another excellent document of The Rolling Stones in action at the height of their skills, demonstrating why they were dubbed "the greatest rock & roll band in the world."