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Rolling Stones – From The Vault: The Marquee Club Live In 1971 – Blu-ray + CD (2015)

Cast: Mick Jagger (vocals, harp); Keith Richards (guitar, vocals); Charlie Watts (drums); Mick Taylor (guitar); Bill Wyman (bass guitar); Ian Stewart (piano); Nicky Hopkins – keyboards; Bobby Keys – saxophone; Jim Price (horns)
TrackList: Live With Me; Dead Flowers; I Got The Blues; Let It Rock; Midnight Rambler; (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction; Bitch; Brown Sugar; Bonus Footage: I Got The Blues (Alternate Take 1); I Got The Blues (Alternate Take 2); Bitch (Alternate Take 1); Bitch (Alternate Take 2); Blu-ray only: Brown Sugar (From Top Of The Pops)
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment EYSBD30983 [6/30/15]
Director: Bruce Gowers
Audio: DTS-HD MA 96/24 surround; PCM 2.0 (CD is standard CD stereo)
Video: 4 x 3 for 1080i HD color on Blu-ray
Length: 65 minutes
Rating:  Audio: ****:        Video:  ***:         Overall: ***1/2:

In the late sixties and early seventies, The Rolling Stones were experiencing a creative zenith in their studio work. Beggar’s Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exiles on Main Street all became rock classics. What separated the group from the rest of the British invasion (and of course The Beatles) were their live performances. They became (and to many still are) ‘the greatest rock and roll band” in the world. Get Your Ya Ya’s Out was as significant as the other releases in this era.

Eagle Rock Entertainment has released a video Blu-ray + CD of a 1971 London club performance by The Rolling Stones. Filmed for U.S. television, The Rolling StonesFrom The Vault: The Marquee Club Live In 1971 is a concise, intimate look at a band at its peak. Without fanfare and limited histrionics the band opens with a high octane version of “Live With Me” from Let It Bleed. Jagger and Richards display their individual charisma and long-time band member Bobby Keys wails on saxophone. The Stones are all business with limited soloing. One of the “new” songs, “Dead Flowers” gets the live crank-up replete with raunchy Jagger-Richards harmonies and signature guitar hooks. The second (of a total of four Sticky Fingers cuts) is “I Got The Blues”, featuring Jagger’s command of blues. The band has significant chemistry and it shows on Chuck Berry’s “Let It Rock.”

“Midnight Rambler’ is the quintessential live Stones number. With the seamless rhythmic backing of Watts and Wyman, and the dual-pronged guitar attack (with a great tempo change) of Richards and Taylor, the song is timeless and visionary for rock. Of course, “Satisfaction” is a must. This version features some r & b call and response bringing spontaneity. The finale “Brown Sugar” is the highlight. The bonus features include alternate takes of “I Got The Blues” and “Bitch”. A Tops Of The Pops performance of “Brown Sugar is a show-stopper.

The restored sound (mixed in stereo and surround by Bob Clearmountain) is very good and gives the customarily jagged density a technological boost. The filming is adequate, but at times erratic. There are uneven colors, glare and the camera focuses too much on Jagger. The credits list Ian Stewart and Nicky Hopkins, but they are nowhere to be found. Still The Rolling StonesFrom The Vault: The Marquee Club Live In 1971 is a bona fide glimpse into a rock and roll institution.  The CD is just a plain stereo transfer of the selections, without some of the in-between stuff in the video.

—Robbie Gerson