So far, the reviews seem to divide between people angry about Live Licks, and people angry about the people who don't like it. Let's try to reason together, folks.
What do people want from a 21st Century live Rolling Stones CD? Some folks want the Stones to dig into their treasure trove of back catalog for great songs that haven't been released live before. Some want the Stones to dig into their R&B roots for the old blues and soul songs that they started their career covering. Some will not be satisfied without hearing Stones classics. Of course, we all want the geezers to defy all odds and continue to care. Despite the whining from some quarters, all of the above goals are addressed.
In a solid programming decision, there is one 11-song disc of all classics (or overdone warhorses, depending on your viewpoint) - and a second 13-song disc devoid of same, with lots of really well-chosen stuff we've never heard the Stones do live. If you do want the classics, they are well-performed and recorded here. For those who can't believe that they are recording these songs again, you can buy Live Licks for $12 if you try (I got mine at a retail store for $11.99, and some Amazon vendors are also selling it around that price) - even if only one of these two discs appeals to you, is $12 out of line for well-recorded, energetic performances of music this good? OK, I understand the feeling behind "Jeez, do we really need another version of Honky Tonk Woman?" So toss disc 1 if you feel that way, and you still have disc 2 which starts out with terrific performances of "Neighbors," "Monkey Man," "Rocks Off," and "Can't You Hear Me Knocking." I didn't ever expect to hear "Knocking" from a post-Mick Taylor Stones - and they absolutely nail it. "Monkey Man" sounds like it was cut circa Let It Bleed.. Despite the hand-wringing about a seamless 2-second edit in "Rocks Off," you have a great bunch of Stones nuggets never before released live. There are terrific versions of beloved R&B covers the Stones did before they hit their stride as songwriters: "That's How Strong My Love Is" and "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" - the latter with a blast-furnace soul shouting cameo from Solomon Burke.
Can we all agree that Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out is the definitive Stones live disc without banning them from releasing any more live performances? I mean, come on, there are 24 tracks here, and only three repeat songs from Ya-Ya's It's only the second time for "Gimme Shelter," and the only other time was on the not-particularly-beloved "No Security." The way Lisa Fischer wails on it, and the way the Stones still play, no apologies are needed.
OK, so how do the old folks sound this time? There are no words for the unchangeable greatness of Charlie Watts, so I won't even try. Mick & Keith defy all odds by sounding as though they still love their jobs. We are now way beyond any precedent for rock & roll bands playing into their 5th decade, and they still play "Street Fighting Man" as though crucial to Western Civilization. The playing is crisp throughout, the recording quality is excellent. By all rights, the Stones should have gotten too bored to carry on, oh, about 20 years ago. Come to think of it, they were bored 20 years ago. This is their 2d wind..
OK, there are a few edits and if you know the songs well, you will notice. But the edits are technically seamless, and not jarring. Since the Stones have had total artistic control over their releases for over 20 years, I'll just sorta presume that they had good reasons to release it the way they did. Since neither of the two discs are pushing time limitations for the media, the edits were not done to squeeze more songs in. The edits are not that big a deal unless you are a fuss-budget.
Incidentally, I am not a Stones apologist or a newbie who doesn't know any better. I`ve been a Stones fan since the mid-60's, and I'd agree that their last really solid LP was Exile On Main Street (as far as I'm concerned, even Some Girls is a mixed bag). The only live discs that worked for me were Ya-Ya's and Flashpoint. But this one's a keeper.