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DVD Review
The Rolling Stones - Ladies & Gentleman, The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones

Ladies & Gentleman, The Rolling Stones
Record Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Review by Michael Sherer
January 2011

It’s hard to believe that the Rolling Stones have been around for 49 years. For me, they were certainly at their peak in the early ‘70s, which coincided with the era that talented guitarist Mick Taylor was with them. He joined in ‘69, replacing the recently fired Brain Jones, who shortly after being sacked drowned in his swimming pool under questionable circumstances. This was quite a tumultuous time for the band, and one which saw them mature and renew themselves.

In ‘72 they had recently released their double album “Exile On Main Street,” which was a reference to them leaving their native England to record in the south of France to avoid paying a huge tax percentage of their sizable earnings back home. They wound up recording in the basement of the home that Keith Richards was renting. They used their then new and highly coveted mobile recording console.

The footage on this finely restored and remastered DVD was filmed over four nights in Texas on their ‘72 tour to support “Exile.” It was screened in theaters in ‘74, and premiered at the most elegant and large theater in NYC, the Ziegfeld, on April 15. (Coincidentally the deadline for having U.S. taxes post dated by.)

This footage sees the Jagger swagger at his energetic and agile best. He struts, moves and dances all over the place. It’s always interesting to juxtapose this activity to that of original bassist Bill Wyman, who hardly moved at all. For the most part, the majority of the energy from the Stones emanates from Jagger, as the others can’t come close to keeping up with him, especially while being attached to their instruments.

The previous year saw them releasing what I consider their best record ever, Sticky Fingers. Horns and piano were featured on it, and that was all in tow for their ‘72 tour. It was a refreshing addition, bringing R&B elements to their rip roaring, bluesy rock & roll.

There’s some fun bonus footage included, which consists of tour rehearsal excerpts from Montreux and two interviews with Jagger. One is from ‘72, for the Britain based Old Whistle Test show. The other was filmed just last year, 38 years later.

I don’t know who came up with the slogan “The World’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band” for the Stones. Perhaps it was initially self promotion coined by themselves. Whatever the case is, this footage from ten years into their life makes this grand statement ring true. They were not too long into a new period where they had truly found and honed their own voice and visual persona. (Their beginnings found them being essentially a blues cover band.) Yet, they were still hungry, lean and mean enough to have the vigor and freshness that’s so elusive for a band that stays together for what has seemed like eternity for quite some time. Ah, to be young again…

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