Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sitting on a Fence

So I went to see the Martin Scorsese-directed Rolling Stones concert film over the weekend.

My short review: It's not as good as this.

That said, it's a beautifully staged and shot document of the current Rolling Stones on a pretty good but not great night. It drags a little toward the end -- Mick Jagger famously said he couldn't imagine singing "Satisfaction" when he was 60; I can't speak for Mick, but I can't imagine listening to him singing it again in the pro forma full-tilt boogie version he's been purveying since the early 80s -- and Christina Aquilera flat out sucks, although I must say it's amusing to watch Mick dry humping somebody young enough to be his granddaughter. But most of what's on view is vintage, including a hilarious "Far Away Eyes" and a gorgeous version of "You Got the Silver" sung by Keith Richards (in a long leather coat and sans guitar) as if his life depended on it. The band mostly sounds great, although they're still not even close to slick, and it's perhaps relevant to note that Keith has developed an extremely elastic sense of time in his old age. Here he plays behind the beat (sometimes, it seems, as long as five minutes behind) or simply pretends to be playing a chord, rather than actually playing one, when the mood strikes him. Apparently, at long last, he's finally turned himself into the broken-down 90-year-old black bluesman he's always wanted to be. As for Mick, meanwhile -- well, let's just say that however he's done it, he's found some way to stay Mick Jagger forever. In fact, short of supernatural, perhaps demonic, intervention, I simply can't conceive of how a 64 year old can carry on the way he does here.

In any case, the whole thing is definitely worth seeing, especially in a big theater (I saw it at the Ziegfeld in NYC, which is pretty much state of the art) and whatever you do, don't leave your seat until the final post-show, pre-credits sequence; otherwise you'll miss one of Scorsese's little visual jokes (think of the very last shot in "The Departed") and, in this case, a great one.

Heavy sigh: In one of the backstage sequences, we learn that Jagger was briefly considering including this fairly obscure early Stones beauty in the show's set list.

One of my all time favorite songs of the period, but alas, it was not to be.


TMink said...

"Christina Aquilera flat out sucks" Yeah, not at all ugly though. I bet Dave TM would hit it TM.


steve simels said...

She's grotesquely out of her element here. Hasn't a clue what the song is supposed to sound like, so she's reduced to sort of generic Janis Joplinesque bleating.

Jack White, on the other hand, knows exactly what he's doing in his "Lovin' Cup" duet with Mick.

Brooklyn Girl said...

The Jack White bit was very cool. Not only did it sound great and have a sly, relaxed vibe, it didn't feel as though he was trying to prove anything. Ms. A, otoh, seems to be suffering from Celine Dion Syndrome ... she confuses screaming with feeling (watching Dion try to upstage Aretha a couple of years ago was one of the funniest things I've ever seen).

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Thanks for the review, Steve. That clinches it: we’re going to check it out this weekend at our local monster Omni.

And hey speaking of things that are OK, maybe not as good as in the day but still capable of being pretty freaking great, Ray Davies will be on Sound Opinions this weekend. (If one's city doesn’t carry the show, one can always stream or download the mp3 file, can't one? Yes one can!) I’ve no idea whether Ray’s new CD is any good but I’ll probably buy it either way, and I'm sure looking forward to the interview.

reddyrooster said...

Yeah, I gotta see this, too. I got a sense of the theater in which it was filmed when I watched the stargasm for autism on ComCentral Sunday nite. (Talk about totally sucking...)

Ah... "19th NB". One of my faves of theirs. The crappy little barely-outta-the-garage bar band I was in back in 79-80 used to open with that. We also useta dedicate "Under My Thumb" to "all the ERA supporters in the audience..." until I got a beer bottle tossed at me one night. (Well, it seemed funny at the time.)

Good times...