We all know Gimme Shelter is the definitive Rolling Stones feature film, capturing all the demonism, decadence, and delirium swirling around the band in a more harrowing manner than anything else ever could, but it’s not necessarily where you want to head if you just want to hear and see the Stones play. Ladies and Gentlemen… The Rolling Stones (1974) is as straightforward in its delivery of the boys as its title suggests. Rollin Binzer’s concert film gives you the Stones at their peak performance prowess. They work their skinny asses off through 80 minutes of monsters from their quartet of records--Beggars Banquet through Exile on Main Street--most consider to be the group’s most enduring masterpieces (while I continue to be a lone voice in the wilderness screaming the praises of the Aftermath through Beggars period. Oh well). The film is dark, and not just because the set sports such evil hoodoo as “Gimme Shelter”, “Dead Flowers”, and “Midnight Rambler” (played here for a marathon 12 minutes). The stage is an inky void, the Stones’ pink little limbs providing the only significant contrast. But this newly remastered DVD of a film rarely screened in the 36 years since its release looks and sounds clean and strong. Hell, even Keith Richards looks sharp. His rendition of “Happy” is a highlight of the film, even as Binzer’s camera spends half the song lingering on Mick’s ass. Give the people what they want, I suppose.
Order Ladies and Gentlemen… The Rolling Stones here on Amazon.com.