Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Music/Concert DVD Review: Rolling Stones: Let's Spend the Night Together (1981)

Now Available to Own 

Regardless of the fact that it was a brand new track when Harold and Maude filmmaker Hal Ashby and his Being There cinematographer Caleb Deschanel shot the Stones concert film Let's Spend the Night Together in 1981, Mick Jagger waits until roughly the middle of the set-list to unleash “Start Me Up.”

Instead, as a natural born entertainer who most likely is “on” every waking minute of his life, it's only fitting that Jagger kicked off the show with “Under My Thumb.”

Looking out into a massive crowd that's roughly the size of an ocean, Jagger sings at admirers rather than to them.

Thus, knowing full well that in stark contrast to Thumb's openly misogynistic lyrics wherein he likens an obedient girlfriend to “the sweetest pet in the world,”when Jagger opens with that tune he's changing the meaning completely, acknowledging that his captivated audience has become his largest, highest paying pet in the world.

And unfortunately, this is the biggest part of the problem as although we see a polished, highly energized Jagger lunge onstage, he's been started up to go through his chart-toppers completely on dispassionate autopilot.

Gyrating wildly in what has become his trademark “eroticism” that leaves nothing to the imagination, Jagger tries to force sex into some of his most earnest hits, forgetting the fact that not everything works well as a double entendre when you're applying the double meaning in laughable crotch-accentuating football pants.

In my mind, there's absolutely nothing sexier than the right rhythm and blues laced Rolling Stones song and especially the ones that allow death-defying guitarist Keith Richards the chance to wail and this could've only been heightened with a more bare-bones, intimate venue concert. Sadly and aside from the inclusion of a jukebox worth of Stones hits, there's nothing less sexy than the performance on this DVD.

Seeing Jagger's androgynous presentation as a cross between Olivia Newton John's jazzercise aerobics favorite “Let's Get Physical” and glam rock era David Bowie is the equivalent of “baby, I've got a headache.”

And given the stellar material of the Stones catalog, I think he'd be much more effective without the cold shower inducing pomp and neon circumstance of the '80s arena rock concert venue and weird Aerosmith flag plus football attire approach.

Throughout, Jagger speeds through classics he must be tired of singing like “Jumpin' Jack Flash,” so that we lose the punch of those pre-punk, post-Dylan poetic lyrics about being “born with a spike right through my head.”

Essentially, he's the only band member that tries to ignite lust or excitement in the audience (even if by force) as amusingly even a parade of gorgeous girls during “Honky Tonk Women” can't distract the perpetually smoking Ron Wood and Keith Richards from showing each other their killer guitar skills.

And while we'd love to know exactly what he seemed peeved about, privately mouthing off to himself after it appeared as though Ron Wood gave Jagger some direction, Ashby's film remains a slick commercial concert piece.

Obviously, Let's Spend the Night Together may please some die-hard fans looking for a quickie that masquerades as a one-night stand. However since I prefer a musical love affair, let's just say that athletic wear and male eyeliner simply doesn't “Start Me Up” like hearing the album version of “Satisfaction.”

Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC; All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  

FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.
Best Buy Co, Inc.