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Credit: Gorup de Besanez


The Rolling Stones to officially release surprise 1977 gigs


In February of 1977, Keith Richards’ Toronto hotel room was raided by police. The authorities found heroin, arrested Richards, and charged him with drug trafficking. For the next two years, a dark cloud hung around The Rolling Stones as they attempted to record Some Girls, unsure if Richards would be formally charged and imprisoned. The band had lived through drug busts before, but now it seemed like a real possibility that Richards could land in jail for a long time.

Although he was released on bail, Richards had to remain in Toronto until April 1st, when he received clearance to enter the United States and treat his addiction. In the time between, the Stones did the only thing they knew how to do: play music.

In March of that year, the Stones booked two shows at the El Mocambo club in Toronto. They did it under the alias The Cockroaches, and ticket sales weren’t open to the public. Instead, radio contest winners were allowed into the 300 person capacity club, ostensibly to see Canadian blues band April Wine. But when the previously unknown opening act took the stage, it became clear that this was actually a secret Rolling Stones show.

The shows were almost immediately bootlegged, and Richards remembered the shows being high points in an otherwise distressing time. “The minute I got on stage, it felt just like another Sunday gig at the Crawdaddy,” Richards explained. “It immediately felt the same… It was one of those weird things in Toronto. Everybody’s going around talking doom and disaster, and we’re up onstage at the El Mocambo and we never felt better. I mean, we sounded great.”

Four of the songs from the gigs wound up on the live album Love You Live, but now the entirety of the second show that took place on March 5th is getting its own separate release. Live at the El Mocambo will also feature four bonus tracks from the first night, March 4th, as part of the release.

Ultimately, Richards received a light sentence, with the guitarist being required to put on a benefit concert for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. The Stones were once again able to travel freely, and Richards even managed to kick his heroin habit as a result of his treatment.

Check out the full setlist of the March 5th, 1977 show down below. Live at the El Mocambo is set for a May 13th release.

Live at the El Mocambo tracklist:

1. ‘Honky Tonk Women’
2. ‘All Down The Line’
3. ‘Hand Of Fate’
4. ‘Route 66’
5. ‘Fool To Cry’
6. ‘Crazy Mama’
7. ‘Mannish Boy’
8. ‘Crackin’ Up’
9. ‘Dance Little Sister’
10. ‘Around And Around’
11. ‘Tumbling Dice’
12. ‘Hot Stuff’
13. ‘Star Star’
14. ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’
15. ‘Worried Life Blues’
16. ‘Little Red Rooster’
17. ‘It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It)’
18. ‘Rip This Joint’
19. ‘Brown Sugar’
20. ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’
21. ‘Melody’
22. ‘Luxury’
23. ‘Worried About You’