The Rolling Stones – Sweet Summer Sun/Hyde Park Live, Blu-ray (2013)

The Rolling Stones – Sweet Summer Sun/Hyde Park Live, Blu-ray (2013)

Performers: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor, Ron Wood Chuck Leavell; Darryl Jones; Bobby Keys; Tim Ries; Bernard Fowler; Lisa Fischer; London Youth Choir and The Voce Chamber Choir
TrackList: Start Me Up; It’s Only Rock And Roll; Street Fighting Man; Ruby Tuesday; Doom And Gloom; Honky Tonk Women; You Got The Silver; Happy: Miss You; Midnight Rambler; Gimme Shelter; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Sympathy For The Devil; Brown Sugar; You Can’t Always Get What You Want; (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction; Bonus Tracks: Emotional Rescue; Paint It Black; Before They Make Me Run
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment [11/12/13] 
Director: Paul Dugdale
Video: 1.78:1 for 16×9 1080i HD Color
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (96 kHz 24-bit); PCM 2.0 (96 kHz 24-bit)
Length: 118 minutes
Rating: ****

For most rock and roll outfits, being fifty means you are over the hill. For the Rolling Stones, fifty is a commemorative anniversary. Incredibly, this band has been making music, touring and sitting at or near the summit of popular culture for half a century. Dubbed the greatest rock and roll band (and this is in the seventies), they have never forfeited their crown. Their gritty blues-based songs are iconic. Their performance standards never diminish. Eagle Rock Entertainment has released a concert performance on Blu-ray, Sweet Summer Sun/Hyde Park Live. There have been many other filmed concerts of The Stones, and this one follows suit… an energetic (for their age), professional set full of hits and a new song or two. Filmed in Hyde Park in the summer of 2013, the return to this venue is historic. The band played a concert there in 1969, two days after the death of Brian Jones. From the opening chords of “Start Me Up”, it’s clear that The Rolling Stones are home again. As they segue into “It’s Only Rock And Roll”, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood are rocking furiously as Charlie Watts and Darryl Jones drive the rhythm. Mick Jagger is still a dynamic front man at seventy. His voice isn’t what it used to be, but he is a remarkable performer. He belts out “Gimme Shelter” and “Sympathy For The Devil” like it is 1969.

There are some moments for Richards to shine on vocals. On the obscure “You Got The Silver” (from Let It Bleed), his twangy, hoarse voice is augmented by Wood’s slide guitar. He offers a second vocal lead on “Happy”. Adding to the historical context is the addition of former member Mick Taylor. Ironically, Taylor played his first gig with the group at the 1969 gig. When he joins Richards and Wood on “Midnight Rambler”, the crowd goes wild. Many consider this song to be the definitive Rolling Stone number (including the band). The three-prong electric guitar jam is the high point of the concert. There is a limited amount of new material, but “Doom And Gloom” ignites the audience. Of course this edition of the group cannot be compared to vintage tours, but they not a nostalgia act. Included are three divergent bonus numbers: “Emotional Rescue”, Paint It Black” and another Richards tune, “Before They Make Me Run”.

The video transfer is excellent. All the natural light of an outdoor venue facilitates crisp imagery in high-definition. The variety of camera positions and angles is state of the art (at times excessive on individual fans, but terrific on expansive audience shots). The sound mixes (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and PCM 2.0) are shimmering. The dense, sometimes muddled RS acoustics are absent. This represents the best separation of any prior concert mixes for this band.

Long live The Greatest Rock And Roll Band in the world!

–Robbie Gerson

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