Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rolling Stones – Blu-ray (1974/2010)

by | Nov 7, 2010 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rolling Stones – Blu-ray (1974/2010)

Performers: Mick Jagger, vocals; Keith Richards, guitars; Charlie Watts, drums; Bill Wyman, bass; Mick Taylor, guitars; Bobby Keys, saxophone; Jim Price, horns, and Nicky Hopkins, piano.
Director: Rollin Binzer
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment EVBDR33367
Video: 1.33:1 1080p HD color
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0, PCM 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: (Interviews Only) English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese
Extras: Tour Rehearsal, Old Grey Whistle Test Interview with Mick Jagger,
Mick Jagger Interview (2010)
Length: 1 hr. 50 min.

Rating: Film: **1/2      Music: ****

Filmed over four nights in Texas in 1972 and released in theaters in 1974, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones captures the Stones at the height of their powers, having just recorded what many critics (including myself) feel is their masterpiece, Exile On Main Street. Sold by the band in the 70s, the film has been unavailable in any format until now. Available in both DVD and Blu-ray formats, the film has been restored from its original print and its audio remastered from the original audio multi-tracks, but those looking for Shine A Light-level picture and sound should be warned: This is a 70s concert film through and through, from the inconsistent lighting to the shaggy shot composition and 4:3 format.  [In fact sometimes the performers – in super closeups – simply disappear into the black voids of the stage…Ed.]

The highlights of the film include a pitch-perfect version of “Sweet Virginia” that allows saxophonist Bobby Keys to blow a beautiful solo; a rollicking version of “Tumbling Dice” that features a spirited bluesy breakdown; a somber performance of Robert Johnson’s “Love In Vain” that captures the more complex Jagger found on recordings, as opposed to the preening peacock he so often becomes on stage; a fiery cover of Chuck Berry’s “Bye Bye Johnny” that’s a perfect showcase for Richards to salute his musical idol, and Mick Taylor’s forceful steel guitar playing on “All Down the Line” and “Dead Flowers” – though the latter is ruined by a rushed tempo.

The special features include a rehearsal filmed for German television that features surprisingly strong performances, especially on “Tumbling Dice”, and a more subdued Jagger. Also included is a 1972 interview with Jagger from the Old Grey Whistle Test in which he oddly describes Exile on Main Street as very "dancey" and bristles at the suggestion that Marc Bolan from T-Rex might be more in touch with the youth than him, sniping that T-Rex is still "basically ripping off Chuck Berry."

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones is a must have for any true Stones fan. As opposed to a film like Gimme Shelter, Ladies and Gentlemen doesn’t have any kind of message or a dramatic arc, it’s just one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time kicking loose and blasting through classic after classic.

Brown Sugar, Bitch, Gimme Shelter, Dead Flowers, Happy, Tumbling Dice, Love in Vain, Sweet Virginia, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, All Down the Line, Midnight Rambler, Bye Bye Johnny, Rip This Joint, Jumping Jack Flash, Street Fighting Man

– Daniel Krow

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