In January of 1973 the Stones threw a quickly planned benefit concert at the Los Angeles Forum on the heels of an earthquake in Nicaragua which of course came to be known as the Nicaraguan Benefit Concert.
I was 11 years old and a Stones freak, and I recall the night vividly. Starting with sitting with my mom and the row in front of us, the entire row was passing joint after joint in front of mom and 11 year old.
Santana opened the night and they played an hour. I believe their album at the time was Caravansarai and I do remember that their set was mostly jamming and instrumental with no major hits played. It almost seemed like one long hour jam.
Cheech & Chong then came on with a 30 minute run-thru of all their famous routines. They were at the top of their career with "Basketball Jones" being a hit at the time. I remember their last routine being this thing where they pretended to be dogs and were chasing each other around on stage on all fours.
Speaking of stage, it is interesting to note that it was an all white stage specifically designed for this concert only (as far as I know, please correct me if I'm wrong.) The stage had a catwalk on the very top in back running horizontally with white row lights. There was supposed to have been a riser for Charlie that would have been very high up but Charlie was afraid to get on it as Jagger comments on it during the concert.
I also remember the Stones took forever to come on, in typical fashion. Jagger was wearing a never before seen turquoise colored jumpsuit with sequins all over it and a white head band which was slightly unusual for him, he was also very heavy on the eye make-up that night The jumpsuit was indeed very enthralling as it was talked about a lot at the show and after by the media.
As you can hear on the recording, there was a festive and celebratory vibe in the air. It was definately a feel-good show that night, all positive and fun. The Stones turn in a good sold performance and the set list is a Stones fans dream come true with most of the 1972 tour set being used, sprinkled with great choices just for that night, like "No Expectations," "Route 66" and "Stray Cat Blues" amongst others. I remember my mom and I bailing during SFM to avoid the crowd rush out, supposedly they did a rare encore that night of Midnight Rambler, but I've heard this both true and disputed so not sure. The taper of this famous bootleg runs out of tape right near the end of SFM which is too bad cause it's a blistering version and the tape cuts in the middle of a great Mick Taylor solo.
Speaking of Mick Taylor, if you have not heard this boot before, he wails throughout and is very loud, louder than everyone else on the recording. While I'm not sure this is a Mike Millard, I suspect it might be. If so, it would be the only one that I know of where we actually get to hear his voice on tape as whoever taped this speaks at the very beginning of the tape, sounds like he's in his car on the way to the show. Whoever did tape this was clearly stage right and in a direct line with Taylor's amps. It is a very good audience recording for it's time.
The artwork for this classic Trade Mark of Quality vinyl bootleg was truly one of Wililam Stout's best pieces and the version I originally owned of this was a first pressing, the only ones that had this artwork printing directly on the outside front, as apposed to the usual paper inserted under plastic wrap. The vinyl on sides 1&2 were this kind of splash Spirograph looking pattern of black white and grey and the other lp was completely clear. I have seen lots of subsequent verisons including one that had orange and green lp's. It is also very interesting to note that there was definately some kind of defect in the actual pressing that made the records because every copy I've ever heard, even ones fresh out of the sleeve have some kind of scratch sounds here and there.
As far as I know, the master tape has never surfaced anywhere and the only versions out there are all recorded from one of the vinyl pressings. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
If you've never heard it or need a new copy, link is below. Enjoy, I can definitely say I'm very proud to have been there, it was a special night.
**I have several vinyl rips, but this one is the best.