The Stones are still at it and as good as ever.
The Rolling Stones – Totally Stripped, Blu-ray + CD (2016)
Cast: Mick Jagger – vocals, guitar; Keith Richards – guitar, vocals; Charlie Watts – drums; Ronnie Wood – guitar, vocals; Darryl Jones – bass; Lisa Fischer – backing vocals; Bernard Fowler – backing vocals; Chuck Leavell – keyboards; Bobby Keys – saxophone; Andy Snitzer – saxophone; Kent Smith – trumpet; Michael Davis – trombone
Studio: Eagle Rock Ent./Universal Musical Group EVSBD30976
Video: 16:9 for 1080i HD, Color, Black & White
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio, PCM 2.0
Length: 91 minutes
Ratings: Audio: **** Video: ***1/2 Overall: ****
CD: Not Fade Away (Amsterdam);Honky Tonk Women (Paris); Faraway Eyes (London); Shine A Light (Amsterdam);I Go Wild (Paris); Miss You London;’ Like A Rolling Stone’ ; Brown Sugar (Paris); Midnight Rambler (London); Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Paris); Gimme Shelter (Amsterdam); Rip This Joint (Amsterdam); Street Fighting Man; Rip This Joint (Amsterdam)
Blu-ray: Love In Vain; Spider To The Fly; Wild Horses; Let It Bleed; Tumbling Dice; Not Fade Away; Dead Flowers; Gimme Shelter; You Got Me Rocking; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Shine A Light; I Can’t Get Next To You; Honky Tonk Women; Like A Rolling Stone
As the Rolling Stones continue their inexorable, time-defiant march to immortality, the catalogue expands. Re-mastered discs, vinyl and vintage concert performances are being released frequently. With occasional touring, the band has maintained its reputation as “The Greatest Rock And Roll Band” ever. Their highly refined, dense blues-based rock is easily recognizable and still very effective. And the latest gem to be brought into the spotlight is Eagle Rock Entertainment’s The Rolling Stones – Totally Stripped. Playing off the popular MTV Unplugged format, the film includes pared down, acoustic-like performances of lesser known material in studio during their Voodoo Lounge tour. Additionally there are clips from their small club dates.
It is apparent that not only are The Rolling Stones a rock and roll behemoth, but their material is unforgettable. The opening studio material (shot in black & white) show the members of the band in a relaxed, bluesy groove. “Love In Vain”, “Spider To The Fly”, “Wild Horses” and “Let It Bleed” represent what Keith Richards describes as “songs we liked, but thought we would never play again”. The acoustic guitar work by Richards is augmented by Ronnie Wood’s slide work. Jagger is also singing casually and playing harmonica. But he is always camera-savvy. The songs also highlight the group’s country roots.
The interviews about these sessions are in color, and appear unforced. Richards jokes how nothing is really unplugged or acoustic because of all the amplification. The movie chronicled several of the Stones legendary “small club” dates with some perfunctory travel segments. The epitome of the stature of the band can be seen in their “groupie”, actor Jack Nicholson. Then the innate showmanship comes through on the concert footage. “Gimme Shelter”, “Not Fade Away’, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, “Shine A Light” and “Honky Tonk Women” are as vital as ever. The group (with trumpet and horn, phenomenal keyboardist Chuck Leavall, who is terrific in an impromptu hotel jam on “Tumbling Dice”, and backup vocalists) is dynamic and thrills the audience. The group even covers Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone”.
The video quality is good, if not exceptional. There are some perimeter focus issues. Close ups of the band are more effective. The sound is very good and mixes the density and simplicity of a Stones jam. The CD is also clear and mixed well with a different track sequence.