The Rolling Stones

Shattered in Europe

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When someone is considering buying a bootleg, the inevitable question is "OK, how's the sound quality?" Back in the 1960s and 1970s, bootleg LPs had a reputation for having lousy or inferior sound quality. A lot of 1960s and 1970s bootlegs defied that stereotype, but because so many bootlegs from that time were, in fact, plagued by poor sound quality, buyers tend to proceed with caution when they're acquiring a bootleg recording from the LP era. But Rolling Stones addicts needn't worry about inferior sound if they come across a copy of Shattered in Europe, which surfaced in the late '90s but spotlights a July 17, 1982, show at Stadio Paolo (Paolo Stadium in English) in Naples, Italy. The sound quality is excellent, as are most of the Stones' performances. The thing that makes Shattered in Europe appealing is its rawness; instead of going for an ultraslick presentation, the Stones favor a tough, forceful, almost punk-like approach. In the late '70s and early '80s, the punk movement was giving rock & roll a good, healthy kick in the tuchas -- and that fact doesn't seem to be lost on the Stones when they passionately rip into favorites that range from "Let's Spend the Night Together," "Brown Sugar," and "Tumbling Dice" to "Miss You," "Hang Fire," "She's So Cold," and "When the Whip Comes Down." To the Sex Pistols and the Ramones, feeling and emotion were more important than chops or precision; judging from how gritty and gutsy this Naples set tends to be, you wouldn't have gotten an argument from Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in 1982. That isn't to say that the musicianship of the Stones or their saxophonists is lacking on Shattered in Europe, but there is definitely a great deal of roughness on these hard-edged, inspired performances. Shattered in Europe isn't essential or perfect, but all things considered, it is an exciting document of the Stones' European tour of 1982.

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