Ladies and Gentlemen, Please Welcome the Rolling Stones

Jesse Christen

Jesse Christen

This DVD came out a short while back and caused a good amount of controversy.

You see, this disk, Four Flicks, by the Rolling Stones caused boycotts of all Stones albums at record stores across the nation; it was limited to sale only at Best Buy stores. How can you still be a rebellious rocker and jip the independent record stores that carry the music that really matters out of money.

Well, Best Buy’s price-per-share has probably gone through the roof because the Stones sell. No matter how crappy their latest album is, they always sells millions. But how about Four Flicks? Do Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie still have the stuff to be out on the stage rockin’ away?

I was a little skeptical about this DVD. I love the Stones. They kicked ass back in the ’60s through the early ’80s with the only exception being the album Black and Blue.

As for much of their material in the last 20 years, it’s been spotty at best. Perhaps original bassist Bill Wyman had the right idea in 1992 when he left the group.

But do the Stones still have what it takes to be “the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world?” That depends on your opinion of what makes a band great.

Four Flicks contains three full length concerts by the Stones from their last tour. The films captures the group in all the types of venues they’ve haunted over the years: clubs; arenas and stadiums. All the concerts are beautifully filmed and the sound quality is excellent.

The fourth film is a documentary of the Stones’ last tour. It was my favorite of the four films. It would even appeal to those who aren’t necessarily interested in the Stones. Keith Richards is an entertaining guy with a witty sense of humor. The film also looks at Richards’ and Jagger’s sometimes tense relationship over the last 40 years. The film also shows an older stones with, god forbid, a now sober Ronnie Wood. The half-naked groupies and mounds of cocaine on their private jet has now been replaced by wives and kids. Oh well, at least Richards still drinks a lot.

As for the concert films, the stones put on about the same show in all three venues. The performances are all pretty good, but nothing amazing. Both Richards’ and Wood’s are mixed a tad too clean, failing to capture the the Stones’ life blood – dirty guitars.

At least their ticker, drummer Charlie Watts, is still in tip-top shape, keeping the blood flowing despite a few clogged arteries. The man is as rock solid as drummers come and add an effect that very few rock drummers can do: he makes the group swing. Most rock drummers provide a tense thud-bash-pow feel. Watts’ stick-work lets the songs flow with ease and a sense of precision. God bless the man.

Jagger is still Jagger; he struts around the stage keeping the audience entertained. Despite being the butt of most all non-drug related Stones joke, the man is one hell of performer.

The biggest disappointment with Four Flicks is the onstage appearance by AC/DC’s Angus and Malcolm Young. It’s excellent, what you get to see of it. The segment is limited to a DVD extra that’s way too short and mostly filled with interviews. The few brief scenes where Angus is duck-walking alongside Jagger’s famous strut and the Young brothers fiery guitar-work light up the Stones is by far the highlights. I want to see more.

So, are the Stones still great? No, but there still pretty good. Overall Four Flicks is mediocre. It’s not terrible by any means, but it’s in no way close to the Rolling Stones that were captured in the 1969 tour documentary, Gimme Shelter.

2.5 stars (out of 5)