Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Rolling Stones - Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live (Eagle Rock, 2013)

I recently read a compilation of work by the great rock critic Lester Bangs called Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste. A couple of pieces he wrote about the Rolling Stones were from the early 1970’s and he thought that they were over the hill and nearly washed up. If he only knew… As part of their 50th anniversary celebration, the Stones reprised one of their most famous concerts, playing in Hyde Park, London to overflowing crowds. This 2CD/1DVD release commemorates these concerts, and shows the band is surprisingly good form. Much of the power and excitement of the band is retained and they are spurred on by the enormous crowd. The concert has the band strolling through anthems like “Start Me Up” “It’s Only Rock and Roll” and “Tumbling Dice.” The group has fully assimilated its influences whether it is country music, on “Honky Tonk Women” and the deep blues on “Midnight Rambler.” Keith Richards is featured throughout playing excellent guitar alongside Ronnie Wood and guest Mick Taylor. He also sings a couple of songs, the acoustic “You Got the Silver” and the uptempo “Before they Make Me Run.” So the audio CDs are excellent and the band plays splendidly throughout, but the real shock comes through on the DVD. The main players in the group are nearing 70 years old, and they still play like dynamos but it’s quite a shock to see them in hi-def. Mick Jagger still runs around like a maniac but his face is a pale gaunt rictus mask. Keith Richards as you can imagine looks like the life he’s led, and Ronnie Wood looks like he has a foot in the grave. But regardless, the music is what matters, and for the most part they can still deliver. Sweet Summer Sun - amazon.com

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