Voodoo at Halloween – 1994
Voodoo at Halloween 1994
Review by EOMS’s Stonehearted
The first thing one is likely to notice about Voodoo at Halloween, a live concert from Oakland, California, on October 31, 1994, is how it begins. Typically a Stones concert starts out big and ends big, with slower numbers reserved for the middle portion of the set. But for the Voodoo Lounge tour of 1994, a typical Stones concert doesn’t so much “kick off” but instead “steps in”, as if from out of a deep, dark jungle, with a slowed down cover of Not Fade Away that is steeped in an atmosphere of voodoo as it begins with the rattling percussion and electronic roar, then takes shape with the hissing maracas, the slow funk groove, and the tribal beat of the sensual snare. It is one of their most inventive, creatively decorative covers ever, and it is fantastic. It works as a sort of prelude, welcoming the audience to the “Voodoo Lounge”.
At a point in their career when a new album could still affect a set list, 25% of the concert is comprised of new songs – 5 of the first 13 (You Got Me Rocking, Sparks Will Fly, Out Of Tears, Love Is Strong, and I Go Wild), with the sixth (The Worst) sung by Keith during his 2-song miniset. The last half dozen songs, which follow Keith’s set, form the big closing that listeners have come to expect, but nonetheless the concert as a whole features some rarely played nuggets that are sure to please, including Monkey Man, It’s All Over Now, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker), and Rocks Off. Mick sings the latter a bit flatly, but the band is on fire and sound like they had just recorded the song in the studio the day before.
Most unusually for a live concert recording, Mick is especially fun to listen to as he interacts with the audience in between songs. A lot of the time he is laid back and conversational, and when he says at one point in a relaxed, low voice that is particularly slanted with an extra lilt of upper British brogue, “I haven’t had a chance to look at your costumes,” it reminds one of the famous Madison Square Garden concert of 1969 that is the opening for the Gimme Shelter movie where he says, “Let’s have a look at ya.” It’s also amusing when he introduces Heartbreaker where for a moment he can’t recall which album it’s from. Another funny thing he does is when, throughout the concert, he keeps addressing the audience as “San Francisco” despite the fact that this is their fourth show at the Oakland Coliseum.
Perhaps the best thing about this bootleg is that it’s a stage-mix recording. You hear hardly any of the audience, as they sound remote, far away, “out there” somewhere. Even better, you hear with great clarity all the comments of the band members as they interact between numbers. As well, you get the full undiluted sound of the band itself as if you are onstage as they are playing. You almost feel as if you’re a member of the
Voodoo at Halloween touring crew, or at the very least a specially invited VIP guest. Overall, Voodoo at Halloween provides one of the most remarkably intimate audio concert glimpses of their 1994 tour, which is amazing given that this was a stadium concert with some 60,000 fans in attendance.
Voodoo at Halloween is short on tricks and long on treats.