Most helpful critical review
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 20 May 2008
As a Stones fan who's not very enthusiastic about most of their post-Some Girls output, I wasn't exactly drooling in anticipation of this album. But it's safe to say that while it's hardly essential, it does prove, if proof were necessary, that they can still be a very fine rock'n'roll band when they put their mind to it.
The trouble is that when they take their eyes off the ball, as they do several times here, they're quite embarrassing.
Good things: Ronnie Wood's guitar playing, almost throughout. Charlie. The backing musicians. Keef's rhythm playing. Keef's vocals. Mick's vocals when he stops trying too hard. Shattered; All Down The Line (near perfect - what price a whole set of this quality?); Loving Cup (effective guest appearance from Jack White); Some Girls (better than the original); Champagne & Reefer (superb guest appearance from Buddy Guy); Tumbling Dice; I'm Free. The fact that they clearly haven't overdubbed one iota.
Bad things: Keef's lead playing, pretty uninspired most of the time. Mick's ridiculously mannered vocals on quite a few tracks, all the more annoying given there's nothing obviously wrong with his voice - though notice the absence of any tracks requiring falsetto. As Tears Go By. Christina Aguilera - she can sing, but Live With Me isn't a duet. Sympathy For The Devil - staggeringly inept compared to some tracks here. Brown Sugar - sounds like they've played it a few hundred times too many.
Overall they make a pretty convincing, if not often brilliant, noise much of the time, certainly they don't sound like most of them are over 60 - but more than any other Stones live album this is a warts and all recording and there are plenty of warts. For the most part the stuff that comes off best is the better songs among the less famous tunes. Also worth mentioning - Ronnie and Keef's guitar lines have often been hard to separate; here, Ronnie's in the left speaker and Keef's in the right speaker and you can tell who's doing what.
Worth buying if you enjoy latterday Stones, a long way from being their worst album (or live album) but I'm not in a huge hurry to see the film.