Reviews

'Ladies and Gentlemen... The Rolling Stones': If I Had Panties, I’d Toss Them at the TV

In 1972 the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world released the greatest rock 'n' roll record the world has ever known and then went on tour to prove it. Some of the results are here.


The Rolling Stones

Ladies and Gentlemen... The Rolling Stones

Label: Eagle Rock
Release Date: 2010-10-12
Amazon
iTunes

It’s hard to overstate the influence of Exile on Main Street, the sprawling rock 'n' roll masterwork that might just be the best record you have ever heard. Featuring swamp, blues, gospel and country all shot through with the intimacy of a world-conquering rock outfit taking a step back from the limelight, the record was like some kind of rock 'n' roll proving ground. The Stones poured everything they were, all they had learned in ten years of constant touring and playing, into 18 tracks. No note out of place. No idea undercooked. It was, and is, the record every rock band goes into the studio hoping to make: an honest and true statement about where they came from, who they are today, and where they might be tomorrow.

Though the tour was famously fraught with problems and poor performances – they may have been at the height of their powers, but they were also at the height of their rather heroic consumption of booze and dope, as well – there is little wrong with the stuff captured at the four shows from which this film was culled. Here we see the Rolling Stones as the band they always were (but were sometimes too pretentious or power-hungry to show us): a raunchy, rough, riff-heavy bar band with a kinetic, sexy beast of a frontman. The setlist is all winners, too – from “Dead Flowers” to “Happy” to “Gimme Shelter” to “Tumbling Dice”, this was the Stones at the peak of their songwriting genius.

Ladies and Gentlemen… The Rolling Stones – economically directed by a guy with the fairly unconventional name Rollin Binzer – was first released in 1974, but fell into a legal wormhole, of sorts. It was rarely screened thereafter, and became a much-sought bootleg on VHS for a couple of decades. Now, gratefully, fans can get their hands on a remastered and enhanced DVD or BluRay version of the film. Sound is improved, visuals are optimized, and the whole package works very well.

There are a few extras – including a surprisingly insightful interview with Jagger – but the real interest here has to be the 80-minutes of music -- and the music is certainly great. Having seen the Stones a half dozen times (but only post-'90), I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to see (and hear) them as a small-scale rock act instead of the huge ungainly beast that they have become in the arena era. As good as they can be on the big stage, the energy they were able to produce in this little theatre is very nearly overwhelming. Like, if I had panties, I’d have been tossing them at the stage. Just ‘cause.

Too bad that lead guitarist Mick Taylor, though he sounds amazing, looks half asleep throughout much of the film. (Is this the reason he would soon be replaced by Ron Wood, a lesser guitarist with a mightier stage presence?) Too bad also that the sound can’t be improved any further than this, since the mix sometimes feels lopsided, especially when horn players Bobby Keys and Jim Price join the band for a few tunes. Still, as rock 'n' roll pictures go, it’s tough to find much to complain aboutm here. This is a plug and play type approach to the band onstage; no cameras on the crowd, few wide shots, and almost no context. Just plain old live music on film. Get your rocks off.

8

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

'World War 3 Illustrated #51: The World We Are Fighting For'

World War 3 Illustrated #51 displays an eclectic range of artists united in their call to save democracy from rising fascism.

Music

Tiphanie Doucet's "You and I" Is an Exercise in Pastoral Poignancy (premiere)

French singer-songwriter Tiphanie Doucet gives a glimpse of her upcoming EP, Painted Blue, via the sublimely sentimental ode, "You and I".

Music

PM Picks Playlist 3: WEIRDO, Psychobuildings, Lili Pistorius

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of WEIRDO, Brooklyn chillwavers Psychobuildings, the clever alt-pop of Lili Pistorius, visceral post-punk from Sapphire Blues, Team Solo's ska-pop confection, and dubby beats from Ink Project.

By the Book

The Story of Life in 10 1/2 Species (excerpt)

If an alien visitor were to collect ten souvenir life forms to represent life on earth, which would they be? This excerpt of Marianne Taylor's The Story of Life in 10 and a Half Species explores in text and photos the tiny but powerful earthling, the virus.

Marianne Taylor
Film

Exploitation Shenanigans 'Test Tube Babies' and 'Guilty Parents' Contend with the Aftermath

As with so many of these movies about daughters who go astray, Test Tube Babies blames the uptight mothers who never told them about S-E-X. Meanwhile, Guilty Parents exploits poor impulse control and chorus girls showing their underwear.

Music

Deftones Pull a Late-Career Rabbit Out of a Hat with 'Ohms'

Twenty years removed from Deftones' debut album, the iconic alt-metal outfit gel more than ever and discover their poise on Ohms.

Music

Arcade Fire's Will Butler Personalizes History on 'Generations'

Arcade Fire's Will Butler creates bouncy, infectious rhythms and covers them with socially responsible, cerebral lyrics about American life past and present on Generations.

Music

Thelonious Monk's Recently Unearthed 'Palo Alto' Is a Stellar Posthumous Live Set

With a backstory as exhilarating as the music itself, a Thelonious Monk concert recorded at a California high school in 1968 is a rare treat for jazz fans.

Music

Jonnine's 'Blue Hills' Is an Intimate Collection of Half-Awake Pop Songs

What sets experimental pop's Jonnine apart on Blue Hills is her attention to detail, her poetic lyricism, and the indelibly personal touch her sound bears.

Music

Renegade Connection's Gary Asquith Indulges in Creative Tension

From Renegade Soundwave to Renegade Connection, electronic legend Gary Asquith talks about how he continues to produce infectiously innovative music.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.

Books

Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.

Film

'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.

Music

Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.

Film

Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.

Music

Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.