“Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones” (Blu-ray) by The Rolling Stones

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones” (Blu-ray)
Label: Eagle Vision
Release Date: 10/12/2010
Genre: Rock & Roll
Rating: 5/5

Unquestionably my favorite DVD release of 2010, Eagle Vision’s Blu-Ray version of “Ladies and Gentleman, The Rolling Stones” got me going back to it far beyond the scope necessary for this review. Following closely on the heels of EV’s previous Stones piece, the documentary “Stones In Exile”, this disc completes the story with performances from 4 nights of the 1972 “Exile on Main Street” tour. The film’s limited run in the spring of 1974 left it a sought after “collector’s piece” in The Stones canon. It is a treat to finally get to watch it at home in a high quality transfer.

Where The Maysles Brother’s film “Gimme Shelter” found The Stones just getting their stage legs again in 1969 as unwitting passengers on the hell-bound train that crashed at Altamont California that December, “L&G” captures them as a super tight band performing beyond the usual chaos that could rule their performances. Even Jagger notes in the current interview included with the extras on their uncommon focus, with a kind of head scratching “is that my band” humor.

Though not every song played over those four nights in Texas is represented (a taste of “Rocks Off” appears in “Stones in Exile” but is missing here) the film gives a splendid cross section of the group’s latter day classics culled from “Beggar’s Banquet” through “Exile On Main Street”. The band is augmented by Jim Price and Bobby Keys on horns, as well as Nicky Hopkins on piano, a move Stones fans were skeptical about at the time but proved to be brilliant. Their presence is immediately felt in the opening one-two punch of “Sticky Fingers” era “Brown Sugar” and “Bitch”. The horn solos and arrangements give the tunes the rocking juke joint feel they so deserve. “Rip this Joint” does just as the title suggests, and the early airings of “Tumblin’ Dice” and “Happy” show why they have become “evergreens” in The Stones’ live act. Clearly The Stones were psyched to have such a killer batch of new songs to present on stage.

Mick Taylor fans will be thrilled with the amount of screen time he garners and the ability to hear his mellifluous lead work unfettered in a live setting. He rolls out line after line of beautiful liquid blues and country tinged double stop bends. A rollicking version of “All Down The Line” highlights his searing slide guitar prowess as does the acoustic blues of Robert Johnson’s “Love In Vain”. Taylor’s soloing over the coda of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” makes you wish he had been let loose on the studio recording. This incarnation of The Stones is my personal favorite and here-to-for has gone under represented with live material, another reason it’s such a treat to have this disc to savor over and over again.

Bonus Features: Including a couple of rehearsals originally filmed for “Old Grey Whistle Test” – are not unique to the Blu-Ray and while nice to have are ultimately superfluous next to the power of the concert film.

As noted “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones” has become a repeat viewing and listening experience at my house. I often put it on just to listen to as if it were a CD release. It kills Scorscese’s tepid “Shine A Light” and the “40 Licks” package and puts you on stage with The Stones at their mid period peak. The price of the Blu-Ray is only $15.00, just buy it.

Track Listing:
1. Brown Sugar
2. Bitch
3. Gimme Shelter
4. Dead Flowers
5. Happy
6. Tumbling Dice
7. Love In Vain
8. Sweet Virginia
9. You Cant Always Get What You Want
10. All Down The Line
11. Midnight Rambler
12. Bye Bye Johnny
13. Rip This Joint
14. Jumpin’ Jack Flash
15. Street Fighting Man

Official Website: www.rollingstones.com

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