The Rolling Stones

The Rocking Wrinkles

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One of the things that makes it easy to spot a bootleg is an unusually humorous, cute, or goofy title -- the sort of title that would never make the grade at a corporate marketing meeting. Some bootleggers favor straightforward titles such as Live in London or Live at the Hollywood Bowl, but when you see a title as irreverent as The Rocking Wrinkles, you know you're holding a bootleg. That title obviously refers to the fact that in 1999, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were well into their fifties. Jagger turned 57 that year, while Richards turned 56. But even if the Rolling Stones were no longer the cutting-edge band they had been in the 1960s and 1970s, they were still enjoyable and continued to command an incredibly loyal and devoted following -- so devoted, in fact, that a bootlegger would consider even a soundcheck fair game. And that's exactly what The Rocking Wrinkles is: a recording of a soundcheck. Recorded at Cannstatter Wasen in Stuttgart, Germany, on May 26-27, 1999, this German bootleg (which offers decent, if imperfect, sound quality) doesn't focus on the actual shows but, rather, the soundchecks that preceded them. That's why you don't hear a huge arena crowd screaming and roaring when the Stones perform "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Shattered," or "Bitch" -- the crowd had yet to arrive, and the only applause comes from a handful of people who were around for the soundchecks. Few surprises occur, although "Tumbling Dice" is unusual in that it finds Jagger laying out and letting background singers Bernard Fowler and Lisa Fisher handle the lead vocals. Obviously, a bootleg focusing on two soundchecks isn't something that casual listeners need to hear -- The Rocking Wrinkles can hardly be called essential, although hardcore collectors will find it enjoyable and interesting.

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