Ladies & Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones DVD

Ladies & Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones

Originally recorded on 16mm film back in 1972 and much bootlegged, Ladies & Gentlemen was shot during four shows on the Rolling Stones' North American tour whilst promoting their classic Exile On Main Street album from the same year.

After almost three minutes of total darkness punctuated only by occasional flashes of light and random noise/chatter, the band finally take to the stage with Brown Sugar. This is the beginning of a raw Stones performance, complete with occasional bum notes and feedback, and documents a band at their creative peak. Say what you like about Mick Jagger, the man is/was a consummate showman; All sink-plunger lips & snake-hips, he works every inch of the stage leaving little room for anyone else. His hyperactive wiggling may be excruciatingly undignified these days but, back in 1972, it provided a much needed focal point in contrast with the rest of the band who, with the exception of Keith Richards, remain fairly static for the entire show.

The sound quality and picture is impressive throughout, ok, obviously it's not HD quality but, nonetheless, is surprisingly clear both visually and aurally. One criticism of the film is the obvious focus on Jagger. This is fine initially, but it does mean that, even while the ever-impassive Mick Taylor is soloing or Keith Richards is singing, the cameras are never far from the prancing frontman.

As setlists go it isn't perfect; It starts strongly with Brown Sugar, closely followed by Gimme Shelter, but drags slightly in the middle of the film before ending with high energy (and slightly shambolic) versions of Jumping Jack Flash and Street Fighting Man then finally climaxes in a shower of rose petals and fireworks.

Definitely worth buying if you're a Stones fan, this is a well put together live film that captures the band at a salient point in their career.