Ladies & Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones
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Ladies and Gentlemen… The Rolling Stones finally comes to Blu-ray. This Legendary Rolling Stones concert film, shot over four nights in Texas during the "Exile ON Main Street" tour in 1972, was released in cinemas for limited engagements in 1974 and has remained largely unseen since. Now, restored and remastered, Ladies and Gentlemen makes its first authorized appearance on DVD. This is one of the finest Rolling Stones concerts ever captured on film and features outstanding performances of classic tracks from the late '60s and early '70s.
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Throw in a LP sized book - almost all pictures, a flimsy and small scarf, a piece of a film from Ladies & Gentlemen and a replica poster.
The box is numbered.
Unless you see this at a dirt cheap price [and/or don't have Stones & Exile or Ladies & Gentlemen], stick with the individual releases - especially if you want it on Blu-ray.
The video runs an hour and 10 minutes but seems like longer because it starts out at warp 10 and then accelerates with no break. All the songs (well, except for Bye Bye Johnny) are part of the Stones' greatest hits oeurvre and are sequenced pretty much as they might be played during a single Stones concert was/is (starts out with Brown Sugar, and ends with JJ Flash and Street Fighting Man. The performances of Midnight Rambler and All Down the Line are especially good - the stuff of legend. There are also three additional songs recorded and filmed during rehearsals for the tour, but they are nothing special (except that Keith plays almost all the leads - en though he is playing a 5 stringed Tele presumably still tuned to open G), plus a couple of interviews with Jagger, one from 1972 and one from 2010. The Mick of 2010 is a bit scary, especially in contrast to the Mick of 1972, and I'm sort of sorry I watched it.
When Mick Taylor joined the band in 1969, the Rolling Stones live shows changed dramatically. Keith reverted back to playing mostly rhythm guitar (with some occasional leads) leaving Mick Taylor to play most of the leads and fills. The combination worked spectacularly well in concert, as seen in this video. Keith was able to play most of the time in (his relatively recent discovery of) open G, with 5 strings (removing the low E) and capo'ed at the 4th fret to get these amazing chops - half rhythm-half lead, that provide the trademark Stones sound on songs like Brown Sugar, Midnight Rambler, Street Fighting Man, Jack Flash and many, many more. On top of this, you get Mick Taylor, playing far and away the best lead guitar ever heard at any Rolling Stones concert,including some astounding slide guitar. Why he left the band is considered a great mystery by most but it seems pretty clear to me that in the studio Keith was free to play both his trademark rhythm as well as overdubbing the lead (which he often did), leaving Mick Taylor as pretty much a 5th wheel. It was only on stage that you could hear Taylor let loose and wow, is it ever hot as this video clearly demonstrates.
Mick, Keith, and Charlie are clearly having a great time, grinning, sweating and putting out. Bill Wyman, as usual, appears to be on haldol to look at him, but sounds great. And Mick Taylor - most of the time is standing stock still, completely expressionless, as his fingers fly over the fretboard and great lead riffs emerge. He is also the only one that looks reasonably buff and healthy, even though in 1972 all the others would also still have been in their late 20's or early 30's.
I think I have all of the live (and studio) Rolling Stones that has been released on CD, DVD or (gasp) tape, but this is far and away the very best live Rolling Stones video that there is. The sound is as good as that on "Get Your Ya-Ya's Out", previously the best live Stones available.
This may be too lo-fi for those who grew up on digital video and sound, but for old geezers like me, I barely noticed the flaws for the brilliance of the performances. This one is just too good to miss.
No doubt I'm still somewhat euphoric after having just seen it in a theater, but this might be - MIGHT BE - the best rock and roll concert film every done. No fluff, no background info, no personality profiles - just one hell of a rock concert by a band at the absolute height of their powers. I've seen the Stones many times, and always felt this tour was by far the best. After last night, now I'm sure of it. A brief show by today's standards, on a small stage (the players are very close together), with period lighting, and the band starts with a bang and it only gets better from there. There's an incredible amount of energy on that stage, and more than a little bit of controlled chaos. God, it's freaking PERFECT!
It is pieced from four performances, so there's no clothing continuity at all, but who cares? Jagger has glitter on his face, Keith is playing unbelievable riffs, and Mick Taylor demonstrates why he's probably the most overlooked and underrated rock/blues guitarist who ever walked the planet. Wyman stands stock still (how does he do that), and Charlie Watts wears funny clothes and nails that backbeat like only he can.
Get this DVD. Don't even think about not getting it.
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