Stones at their peak, a-ha documentary – Knox County VillageSoup
Rolling Stones: Licked Live in NYC (Rolling Stones/Mercury Studios, 2 CDs + Blu-ray or DVD, NR, 217 min.). Just a month after the release of the complete 2-CD set “Live at El Mocambo” from 1997 comes this brilliant Rolling Stones concert from January 18, 2003, which was originally an HBO special, and this time we let’s also get a 135-minute full-show video, which includes a guest vocal appearance by Sheryl Crow on “Honky Tonk Woman.”
The concert has been fully restored and remastered, with four previously unreleased songs included. These are “Start Me Up”, which follows the opening “Street Fighting Man”; a beautiful “Tumbling Dice”; “Gimme Shelter,” with Mick Jagger and backing vocalist Linda Fischer exchanging passionate vocals; and the always epic “Sympathy For the Devil.” The latter is the first of a hot two-song encore, followed by “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”.
Licks’ 40th anniversary tour was the band’s first in three years and the band seem super energetic, with lead singer Jagger constantly on the move, but with less stage setup than usual, as there was only a single small raised area on the Madison Square Garden stage. There was the usual extension in the audience, with a smaller stage at the end for the closing trio of the main set of “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)”, “When the Whip Comes Down ‘ and ‘Brown Sugar.’ Jagger seems particularly manic on “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”.
It is more poignant to see the joy of drummer Charlie Watts on stage since his death last August. Guitarist Ronnie Wood, then newly sober, appears to be having the time of his life and has a mini-camera at the end of his guitar during “Don’t Stop,” one of four new songs that graced the 2-disc. Release of the Forty Licks compilation by the Stones in 2002. “Don’t Stop” quickly became a Stones classic. Here, Jagger plays rhythm guitar on it. Elsewhere, Wood adds nifty slide guitar on “You Got Me rocking”.
Guitarist Keith Richards, who’s been unbuttoning his shirt all night, looks like he’s having fun, too, and sings on both “Thru and Thru” (one of his best vocals) and “Happy.” The rest of the band includes Darryl Jones on bass and backing vocals, Chuck Leavell on keyboards and backing vocals, Bobby Keys on saxophone (featured on “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”), Fischer and Bernard Fowler on backing vocals, Blondie Chaplin on backing vocals, percussion and acoustic guitar, Tim Reis on saxophone and keyboards, Kent Smith on trumpet and Michael Davis on trombone.
Two numbers are long, with “Midnight Rambler”, which followed “Let It Bleed” from that same album, being 12 minutes long and fueled by Jagger’s harmonica. Lasting 11 minutes, “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”, which has an extended instrumental section which again prominently features the harmonica of Keys, Wood and Jagger.
This version also comes with fabulous bonuses. There are live performances on stage in Amsterdam of “Star, Star” “I Just Want to Make Love to You” and “Street Fighting Man” (15:24), plus two mostly instrumental numbers, “Well Well” and ” Extreme Western”. Grip,” captured live during a studio rehearsal. There is also a documentary “Tip of the Tongue” (51 min.), which follows the band designing and preparing for the tour, which combines three different types of performances – stadiums, arenas and ballrooms or theaters – and the different setlists for each . There are images from a studio in Paris and their usual rehearsals in Toronto. The extras end with bonus behind-the-scenes footage (14 min.), including a performance of “All Down the Line” at a Toronto club.
The concert is also available in standalone 2CD and 3LP versions. Rating: A+
Megadeth: A Night in Buenos Aires (Cleopatra/MVD Visual, Blu-ray, NR, 95 min.). The Argentinian city is famous for hosting huge concerts and this October 9, 2005 show at the Obras Sanitarias stadium is no exception, with heavy metal band Megadeth performing in front of 25,000 elated fans, including joy and exuberance are notable throughout the film. Often the crowd, which hops en masse or waves their arms in the air, sings parts of the songs on their own.
Previously released on DVD and CD in 2007, this is the only Megadeth release to feature bassist James MacDonough. The program opens with cuts of founder/vocalist Dave Mustaine and guitarist Glen Drover performing a few acoustic songs for some fans on the lawn outside the band’s hotel. During the show, the band rips through fan-favorite tracks like “Symphony of Destruction”, with the crowd singing much of it (an alternate version, with the crowd almost singing out of the mix, is included as a bonus track),” Tornado of Souls” and “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due”.
Other highlights included “Wake Up Dead,” “In My Darkest Hour,” and “A Tout Le Monde,” with its softer start and the crowd singing part of the song to themselves. The crowd also sings the start and is really into “Hangar 18”. The crowd enjoys the “Coming Home” acoustic, as the band adds the words “in Argentina”. Visually, the disc is also remarkable. Rating: A
a-ha: The movie (Lightyear, Blu-ray, NR, 109 min.). While Rolling Stone magazine ranked a-ha’s memorable “Take on Me” as the top vote-getter in a hit wonderland poll, that label isn’t even true in the United States, as the The band’s follow-up, “The Sun Always Shines on TV,” briefly cracked the Billboard Top 20 and, later, “Cry Wolf” hit No. 50. And certainly, the Norwegian trio had plenty of singles and albums in topping the charts in Norway, with success in Germany and Great Britain also prevail.
The film opens with separate mini-interviews with the three band members, guitarist Pål Waaktaar-Savoy, keyboardist/guitarist Magne Furuholmen and vocalist Morten Harket, as they prepare to perform. The three discuss their thoughts on doing new work together, at which point Furuholmen says they tend to want to butt heads after a while of working closely together. This is the first view of the tension just below the surface that exists between the three. It seems Furuholmen may still harbor some resentment at being forced to give up the guitar and play keyboards instead, despite everyone saying he came off as a natural with keyboards.
Parts of the film, especially at the beginning, use the same cartoonish style used in the classic “Take on Me” video. Both group breakups are also covered. There are also three deleted scenes (6:26). Grade: B+
The Beatles and India (MVD Visual, Blu-ray, NR, 95 min.). In 1967 and early 1968, the Beatles’ interest in India, fueled by guitarist George Harrison’s appreciation for the music his mother listened to on the radio, peaked worldwide, leading to a stay that could go up to almost four months for Harrison and less time for the others — Ringo Starr and his wife left after 10 days; Paul McCartney left a month before Lennon. Their visit to the remote Himalayan ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and their commitment to Transcendental Meditation helped make the master a media star, but more importantly resulted in the writing of much of the material for their self. -called white album.
The documentary uses never-before-seen photographs, video footage and interviews uncovered in India during research for the project, including never-before-seen 35mm footage from a film shot at the ashram but never released and an interview with Harrison recorded for All India Radio in 1966 and unreleased since then. The archive footage with the Beatles is stunning – you’ll also see actress Mia Farrow and singer-songwriter Donovan – and the film crew visits the sites the Beatles visited in Mumbai, New Delhi, Rishikesh and Dehradun. Several of the new interviews relate to the children of those who interacted with the Beatles when they visited or even returned to London, when Harrison was looking for a replacement string for his sitar.
The friendship and sitar lessons given by Ravi Shankar to Harrison are also covered. Portions of their appearance on The Dick Cavett Show are included.
Bonus features include an interview with Ajo Bose (21:17); a visit to the ashram, then and now (5:58; it had to be recovered from the jungle after being abandoned in 1981); and a production photo gallery (3:18). Rating: A-
Owls Head’s Tom Von Malder has been editing music since 1972, right after graduating from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. It has been reviewing videos/DVDs since 1988.
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