By Dan Meade
(WORLDNOW) -- The Rolling Stones turn 50 this year, but you probably won't be able to see them live. Rumors say that either a limited tour or a series of residencies will take place in 2013, but no one knows where or when this will take place… or how much the tickets will cost. So what's a Stones fan to do? Luckily, there is another way to hear the Stones live this year.
The Rolling Stones Archive -- www.stonesarchive.com -- was launched as a way to give fans a look into the band's archive, and to purchase pieces of it. Photographs, set lists, interviews, t-shirts, mugs and other tour ephemera are available on the site, but there is one item that stands out from the rest: the Stones have made official concert bootlegs available for sale, each for under ten dollars.
Priced at two levels ($7 for MP3s, $10 for higher quality FLAC files), the concerts span the middle years of the band's career. If the early Stones are your favorite, give 1973: The Brussels Affair a try. If you like some Faces in your Stones, then you can listen to one of Ronnie Wood's early shows with the bad, LA Friday '75. 1981: Hampton Coliseum stands out because it was at this show, during "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" that Keith Richards had to clonk a fan over the head with his guitar after the intruder had ambled on stage. Finally, if you want an idea of what a 2013 Rolling Stones show might sound like, their first concert in Japan, Tokyo (Live 1990), is the most recent one offered.
Even at these low prices, the Stones don't make their fans buy the concerts without a first listen. On each concert's page is a sidebar of thirty-second previews for most of the show's songs. These previews give the listener an idea of the quality of the tracks, but also serve as a tease, cutting off just as the songs begin to build up.
If you're the type that doesn't take kindly to teases ("Tumbling Dice" '75 and "Shattered" '81 are particular cruel), or aren't able to purchase a concert at the moment, the Stones have you covered. The band has put together a YouTube playlist of a complete 2006 concert from Copacabana Beach: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL233073E9B7D5F671
If you add the Copacabana Beach show to the four available on their Archive, that is a set of concerts spanning 33 year of their career made available by the Rolling Stones to their fans. You may not be able to go to a 50th anniversary concert this year, but being able to listen to a classic bootleg show at any time is still pretty satisfying.
Dan Meade is the Entertainment editor for Worldnow. You can follow him on Twitter here.