When it comes to the Rolling Stones, bootleggers consider anything and everything fair game -- and that includes rehearsals. Over the years, bootleggers haven't hesitated to tape the Stones' rehearsals and put them out on CD; this bootleg, for example, finds the Stones rehearsing in a Toronto studio on September 15, 1997, for an extensive tour. Those who aren't obsessive Stones collectors might wonder, "Why would I want to spend money to hear a band rehearse?" But then, anyone who needs to ask that question isn't the sort of listener that a bootleg label like Rattlesnake is going after. With this CD, Rattlesnake is catering to the more obsessive Stones collectors, and people who fit that description will find Closer Than Close, Vol. 1 interesting. Most of the songs are old favorites from the Stones' classic era. Although Mick Jagger and friends embrace a few 1990s recordings (including "Anybody Seen My Baby?" from Bridges to Babylon), their main focus is well-known hits from the 1960s ("Let's Spend the Night Together," "Ruby Tuesday") and 1970s ("Bitch," "It's Only Rock and Roll," "Miss You," "Star Star," "Fool to Cry"). The sound quality is excellent, and while few surprises occur, die-hard Stones fans will find their performances to be solid and pleasing. That said, Closer Than Close, Vol. 1 is far from essential. Like so many of the Stones bootlegs that surfaced in the 1990s, Closer Than Close, Vol. 1 is only recommended to hardcore collectors.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson