But you wouldn’t know that listening to Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones. While highlights come in the form of “Bitch,” “Dead Flowers” and “Tumbling Dice,” the sound mix is muddy here. In addition, Mick Jagger more moans and howls than sings – though that only illuminates the fine contributions of drummer Charlie Watts and tour sax player Bobby Keys to the mix. For completists only.
Fun fact: The second film to emerge from the tour, the documentary Cocksucker Blues, was the most controversial thing the band ever committed to the screen, its legend buoyed over the years by the fact that it was rarely seen (though these days it’s screened in places like the MFAH).
Of more interest and worthiness is Some Girls Live in Texas ’78. It captures a gig at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth during the tour for that album that found the Stones mixing punk, new wave and disco into their sound. And their tour staging was definitely a back-to-basics approach after previous, more elaborate set-ups.
The Stones have throughout their entire career never hidden their reverence for and appreciation of Chicago-based blues, and especially the work of Muddy Waters (hell, their very name comes from one of his tunes).
The master first met the acolytes in 1964 at Chess Studios, and on a very special night off of their massive 1981 U.S. tour, some of the band got together with Waters and his own group at a tiny club on the south side of Chicago.
Muddy Waters and the Rolling Stones: Live at the Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago, 1981 is the live recording from that night, now available for the first time ever. Sure, there are more “definitive” versions of these ten blues/Waters standards, like “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Long Distance Call,” “Got My Mojo Workin’” and “Champagne and Reefer,” out there, but they don't carry the amount of fun that these seem to.
There’s not a lot of spontaneity here (in the video, you can see how the ’80s-style video cameras with the jarring white lights affect the crowd); this is a nice little souvenir of “fathers and sons” coming together for one night only.
I’ve reviewed scores of concert films and seen many more, but the camera editing and pacing here is so frenetic, helter-skelter and constantly changing that it actually made me dizzy to watch.
In addition, the sometimes-unfocused lens never rests on one performer long enough – that includes vocalist Roger Daltrey and guitarist/vocalist Pete Townshend – to give a visual resonance. So this show is recommended only to doctors who are trying to trigger seizures in patients.