1974, Movies, Music

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones (1973, Rollin Binzer)

This is a straight-up concert film of a performances pulled from four shows in Texas during The Stones’ 1972 tour (the Cocksucker Blues tour), their first tour of the US since Altamont. I’d say it’s for fans only.

Imagine directing a concert film of The Rolling Stones and your name is Rollin Binzer. I really thought it had to be fake.

The songs are mostly drawn from Exile, the greatest rock and roll album of all time, Sticky Fingers, Let it Bleed and recent singles. There’s a Chuck Berry cover but that’s the only thing from another source. There’s no “Satisfaction” for example, and all their other mid sixties hits are missing.

The sound quality is really good overall but I guess that’s because it was recorded for the express purpose. The mix for at least one of the shows is at least a little too vocal heavy but once I turned it up (as I should!) it was okay.

The Stones are accompanied by their usual horn section and keyboard players of the time, but not backing vocalists. I really missed them on a number of the songs but that’s because I know all of these songs (save the Berry cover) really well and expect to hear them. But the versions are different, some more than others, so that’s something.

I have never seen The Stones live but this doesn’t feel like the very best performance. Mick Taylor is hilariously staid, even as he plays faster and more precisely during his solos than probably anyone in the band’s history. Otherwise, the performances are fine but I only occasionally felt like I was listening to something better than the recorded version. A good example is “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” which is admittedly different, but definitely not as good as the original, plodding rather than swinging and never building to its crescendo. (Meanwhile, “Midnight Rambler” is, as always, better live. “Street Fightin’ Man” is also pretty good.)

I would have been perfectly happy to see any of these shows, had I been alive, but I also think the shows don’t really live up to the legend of the tour.


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