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Outside of a few tunes (Start Me Up to name one) nearly all of the Rolling Stones best work was behind them by 1975. Their popularity however was bigger than ever and the once scruffy arena band was now playing stadiums with stages larger than some of the clubs they started out in. With Let's Spend the Night Together we are given front row seats to the tawdry spectacle but after a song or two you'll be looking for the exit sign.
Director Hal Asby opens things in an interesting way as his camera roams the stage picking up the principles before suddenly going into Under My Thumb before an audience that looks as vast as the Atlantic but like everything else in this concert it lacks the power of place and impact of the Maysles documentation of it in Gimme Me Shelter.
Jagger is energetic throughout as he hops and preens about but his voice is hoarse much of the time and do we really need his guitar work? It's bad enough that Ron Wood is holding up Keith Richards most of the way. They do mostly poor covers (All Down the Line is a disaster) and turn things into a real three ring circus with Honky Tonk Woman parading a bunch of tarted up floozies (led by Jerry Hall and including I guess Ron Wood's little girl) to cavort the stage.
During Time is on our Side Ashby diverts us from the carnival atmosphere on the midway to nostalgically return us to the 60s with documentary footage of the original band's compliment, Pope Paul and a severed Vietnamese head (Hal always was a counter culture rascal). But then it's back to the landing field for more Jagger vamping, Richard posing, Watts sober steady drumming and the unaffected stoicism of bassist Bill Wyman probably eying one of the thousands of groupies he laid claim to.
Let's Spend the Night Together is the Stones after they reached legendary status. Their venues and production values may be bigger and slicker but the quality is stale and forced, making it almost a parody of the once tight and original R&B band that hit the big time and slowly evaporated into a stagy musical revue.
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