Shine a light

Bill Clinton introduces Keith’s band and a member of the crowd gives it the cigar treatment. The whole shebang smacks of big-business and self congratulatory, big time schmooze – but 45 odd years in any game will turn to gold surely?

But the gig starts off  pretty loose, with a throw it to the dogs performance. It is quickly saved by Buddy Guy’s vocals. Highlights throughout include Keith Richards’ crumpled face and Mick Jagger’s gob iron (harmonica). The rock steady, self effacing solidity of Charlie Watts offsets it all….And then there is the amazing Ronnie Wood. Wood of course proves exactly why he was stolen from the Faces and given an offer that was probably impossible to refuse?

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Ron Wood – Jack White

So it’s back to Richmond were the Stones started in 1963, when they were rough and ready, for this bunch of scruffy, ragamuffin, raven like millionaires – well – they are a  (the greatest) rock ‘n’ roll band after all. Suddenly an all-star guitar-jam breaks out as a dark circled, pallid looking Jack White is wheeled out for the ‘yoof’. More importantly it looks as though all the hot chicks in the front 5 rows have been hired from Models One – Bill Wyman must be down there somewhere…

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Keith Richards Guitar Mix

But the backing band, including the stellar Bobby Keys are on form. The truth is it’s just heating up even though the stsge seems far too well lit at the beginning, especially for a giant boudoir. Ron Wood sounds so damn good, especially on that reverse head Firebird and the old strat’ – it’s a slow burner of a gig and ultimately it’s still pretty damn good – despite being RUINED, on our equipment, by a ridiculous audio mix that makes very little sense of Richards’ guitar, overexposing it in places.

Guitars, Guitars, More Guitars, and Clothes

An absolutely stunning array of guitars, and clothes, are borne across the gig as an almost emaciated Sir Mick Jagger, telecaster ahoy, preens, poses, prances and oscillates his way through the set: “You made the goat man cry” he wails. Poor Satan – he might have the best tunes but he can’t dance half as well as Mick. He’s the ghost of Spike Milligan in Michael Jackson’s body.

Keith Richards – Mick Jagger

Richards sings – it’s fantastic, hilarious but brilliant, beautiful too, in an almost self reflexive parody of decay, a fading carbon copy of an ancient south London bricklayer,  warm, comical, humble, warts and all, he delivers some stellar moments in rhythm guitar too and then suddenly Christina Aguilera appears – what a voice.

But Jagger is great – as usual he manages to parody himself to perfection. The whole thing is all a bit tongue in cheek, and Keith even looks like he’s trying to remember which song he’s going to sing at one point, shame it isn’t “Happy”. He is however, amazing: like Max Miller, like Chaplin.

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Rock n Roll

The film should have really been called “Million Dollar Smile” because you can see it in their Faces: “I love this!” Richards seems to effortlessly convey, as he always does – and there goes another 50k or so. That’s what makes them Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the world, and the most downright real and honest – they are dinosaurs. It’s great to see the Union Jack flying in the big Apple (“I hope THEY don’t get back together”).

They’re a clever bunch, don’t ever think it was any other way, and they know exactly what they’re doing despite the swagger. These cats are too smart to die.

Paint it Black – Undercover of the Night – Exile on Main Street

The “extra” material is absolutely magnificent and it is worth seeing the film for this alone – SO why is it an extra? – Especially Paint it Black featuring Brian Jones’ ghost on guitar and the Burroughs inspired Undercover of the Night. Rock the Hell On. Get the film out. Break out the vino, and rip a string off the tele’, but just don’t get busted in Toronto. If you get a chance to see them – go! – they always blow the roof off at Wembley, if you can’t, get your hands on the album Exile on Main Street.