The Rolling Stones European Tour 1973

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The Rolling Stones 1973 European Tour
Tour by The Rolling Stones
One of the Stones' more lurid tour posters.
Associated albumGoats Head Soup
Start date1 September 1973
End date19 October 1973
No. of shows42
The Rolling Stones concert chronology

The Rolling Stones 1973 European Tour was a concert tour of Great Britain and Continental Europe in September and October 1973 by The Rolling Stones.


The tour followed the release of the group's album Goats Head Soup on 31 August. It began at the Stadthalle in Vienna, Austria on 1 September. It then saw, in large halls to mid-sized arenas, West Germany, England (including four shows at the Empire Pool in London), Scotland, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, and Belgium, finishing on 19 October with the band's fourth entry into and thirteenth show in West Germany, at the Deutschlandhalle in West Berlin, which would turn out to be Mick Taylor's last live performance with the Stones as a member of the band. Altogether 42 shows were played in 22 cities, with two shows in a day a commonplace.

This was the Stones' first trip to Europe since the European Tour 1970, and was part of parallel three-year cycles of touring the United States and Europe.

The shows[edit]

Without all the ballyhoo, media attention, and jet set hangers-on of the group's 1972 American Tour, the 1973 European Tour was seen as having less drama — the biggest pending issue was the resolution of Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg's 25 June drugs and weapons bust, which hung over them until a 24 October £205 fine from the Great Marlborough Street Magistrates Court resolved it — while showcasing consistently good musicianship. Songs like "Brown Sugar" and "Gimme Shelter" were well received and Billy Preston's organ and clavinet added a contemporary and funky edge to the "classic" Stones sound, although the tour's relatively conventional delineation between rhythm (primarily Richards) and lead guitar (primarily Taylor) parts were later criticised by Richards.[1] By the time of the group's following Tour of the Americas '75, Ron Wood would be in the band and Richards' preferred interweaved approach would be restored.


No live album was released from the tour, although a recording of the first 17 October show in Brussels was headed towards official release but pulled back for legal reasons. As Brussels Affair (and some other names such as "Bedspring Symphony - A Box Lunch and Meat Whistle"), it has been a popular bootleg in superb stereo sound, and is often considered a 'lost classic' of bigger importance than some of the official Stones' live albums. The album also included recordings from Empire Pool, Wembley. These recordings were broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour (KBFH). Another broadcast included three soundboard mono recordings from Newcastle. One concert at Empire Pool, Wembley, was filmed professionally by the BBC, but it is unknown if the tapes still exist.

In November 2011, the Rolling Stones launched a web enterprise, and released the second 17 October Brussels show with two tracks from the first Brussels show as Brussels Affair (Live 1973) worldwide as a digital download in FLAC or MP3 format and as a box set.[2]


The Rolling Stones[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Billy Preston – piano, organ, clavinet, backing vocals
  • Steve Madaio – trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Bobby Keys – saxophone (until 30 September 1973)
  • Trevor Lawrence – saxophone
  • Manuel Kellough – percussion (some dates)
  • Marshall Chess – trumpet on "Street Fighting Man" (some dates)

Bobby Keys left the tour after the Frankfurt dates. In his memoir,[3] he states that he left to clean up from drink and drugs to save his life.

Tour support acts[edit]

Opening for the tour's shows was Billy Preston and for him, Kracker, the first band ever to be signed to Rollings Stones Records. Part of the opening show by Preston was released on Preston's 1974 album release Live European Tour, which featured Mick Taylor.

Tour set list[edit]

The standard set list for the tour was:

  1. "Brown Sugar"
  2. "Gimme Shelter"
  3. "Happy"
  4. "Tumbling Dice"
  5. "Star Star"
  6. "Dancing with Mr D"
  7. "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)" (not on all shows)
  8. "Angie"
  9. "You Can't Always Get What You Want"
  10. "Midnight Rambler"
  11. "Honky Tonk Women"
  12. "All Down the Line"
  13. "Rip This Joint"
  14. "Jumpin' Jack Flash"
  15. "Street Fighting Man"

This set list was pretty stable once established, however, during the first few shows Goats Head Soup tracks "100 Years Ago" (Vienna and Mannheim) and "Silver Train" (Vienna, Cologne, London 1st) got a trying out, as did "Bitch" and "Sweet Virginia" in Vienna. All of the pre-Goats selections had been played on the 1972 American Tour as well, and pretty much in this order. Completely absent was anything from before 1968 in the Stones' catalog. Indeed, on 18 August, before the tour began, Jagger had been quoted, "The only thing I don't really enjoy about playing live is having to perform the old numbers, even though that's what a lotta people wanna hear us do."

Tour dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue
1 September 1973 Vienna Austria Stadthalle
3 September 1973 Mannheim Germany Eisstadion am Friedrichspark
4 September 1973
2 shows
Cologne Sporthalle
7 September 1973 London England Empire Pool
8 September 1973
2 shows
9 September 1973
11 September 1973 Manchester Kings Hall
12 September 1973
13 September 1973
2 shows
Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle City Hall
16 September 1973 Glasgow Scotland Apollo Theatre
17 September 1973
19 September 1973
2 shows
Birmingham England Odeon Theatre
23 September 1973 Innsbruck Austria Olympiahalle
25 September 1973 Bern Switzerland Festhalle
26 September 1973
2 shows
28 September 1973
2 shows
Munich Germany Olympiahalle
30 September 1973
2 shows
Frankfurt Festhalle Frankfurt
2 October 1973
2 shows
Hamburg Ernst-Merck-Halle
4 October 1973
2 shows
Aarhus Denmark Vejlby-Risskov Hallen
6 October 1973
2 shows
Gothenburg Sweden Scandinavium
7 October 1973
2 shows
Copenhagen Denmark Brøndby Hallen
9 October 1973 Essen Germany Grugahalle
10 October 1973
11 October 1973
13 October 1973 Rotterdam Netherlands Ahoy Rotterdam
14 October 1973
2 shows
15 October 1973 Antwerp Belgium Sportpaleis
17 October 1973
2 shows
Brussels Forest National
19 October 1973 Berlin Germany Deutschlandhalle


  1. ^ Mentioned in several interviews over the years, among them in Guitar Player magazine 1977.
  2. ^ Dice, Tumblin (17 November 2011). "The Rolling Stones launch and release The Brussels Affair worldwide". The Rolling Stones. Archived from the original on 20 November 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  3. ^ Keys, Bobby; Ditenhafer, Bill (28 February 2012). Every Night's a Saturday Night: The Rock 'n' Roll Life of Legendary Sax Man Bobby Keys (First ed.). Berkeley, Calif.: Counterpoint. ISBN 9781582437835.

External links[edit]