Ladies and Gentlemen … The Rolling Stones
(Pollstar) The Rolling Stones have hit their peak again in 2010, this time in the form of a rarely seen rereleased movie of a 1972 concert.
“Ladies and Gentlemen … The Rolling Stones” was originally released in late 1973 in Britain, but the film was not widely shown. The digitally remastered version, which made its global premiere on Tuesday in London, shows the Stones at their best, belting out classics like “Brown Sugar,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” along with “new” songs like “Tumbling Dice,” Sweet Virginia” and “Rip This Joint.”
The latter songs were all on the 1972 album Exile on Main St., which was also remastered and rereleased this year to great acclaim.
None of the current Rolling Stones members that are in the movie – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts – made it for the premiere, but former bassist Bill Wyman was in attendance. Wyman was with the band for 30 years but quit in 1992 to explore other musical opportunities.
Although Jagger wasn’t there, a short interview with the lead singer was played on screen before the movie began.
“Everyone’s very together and on,” Jagger said in the interview, which was recorded about six weeks ago in London. “I can remember the Rolling Stones being very, kind of, lackadaisical, very sloppy band on stage. But this was obviously not the case on this day.”
The 1972 tour was the Stones at their peak, or at least at the tail end of it.
The five-year period leading up to that year is generally regarded as the band’s prime. From “Beggars Banquet” in 1968 through “Let It Bleed” in ’69 and “Sticky Fingers” in ’71, the Stones were the ultimate rock n’ roll band, playing hard and partying harder.
The movie, pieced together from several different concerts played in Texas, was digitally remastered and will be shown in theaters around the world in the coming weeks. The DVD and Blu-ray versions are set to be released in October, according to Eagle Rock Entertainment chief operating officer Geoff Kempin.
The Stones also released “Stones in Exile” this year, a documentary about the making of “Exile on Main St.”
“(Jagger is) very strategic about where and when he wants stuff released,” Kempin said.
The movie opens with a black screen and some background noise. Soon, though, the lights come on and Watts starts banging on his drums as the band breaks into “Brown Sugar.”
Throughout the movie, the clothes change as the concert footage switches from show to show, but the music remains crisp and tight. Before they start playing “Midnight Rambler,” Jagger personifies the attitude of the band at the time by taking a couple of swigs from a big bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey.
The footage also harkens back to the days when playing concerts was more intimate for the band because the stage was so small, especially compared to later tours when Jagger would constantly be on the move, sometimes even running through the crowd with security guards all around him.
“We were really close together, super close together,” Jagger said.
And with no additional vocals and only some keyboards and percussion in support, the sound was more raw.
“I haven’t heard the Stones signing without backing vocals for years,” said Mike Griffiths, a 59-year-old television director and longtime fan. “It took me back.”
The movie features 15 songs without interruption, finishing off with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Street Fighting Man.”
“It was,” Jagger said, “a good choice of songs.”