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By 1981 the Stones were beginning to struggle under the weight of their own legacy, and it shows in "Let's Spend the Night Together". The first three numbers--'Under My Thumb', the title song, and 'Shattered'--are terrific, but the set soon descends into mediocrity. Part of the problem was that the band tried to cram way too many songs into a ninety-minute performance, which resulted in sped-up versions with no melody or musical texture. The other problem was that they had played this material too many times; what you see and hear in "Let's Spend..." is a great band simply going through the motions. The rest of the set ranges from decent ('Let It Bleed') to embarrassingly bad ('Miss You') to somewhere in between ('Start Me Up'). You might want to see this if you're a Stones fanatic, but it's not a must. Interestingly, the live album recorded during this tour ("Still Life") is far better than the concert film itself--better versions of the songs were chosen, and the sound is immaculate. "Still Life" is, in fact, my favorite Rolling Stones live album.
Hey, let's keep one thing in mind: This is a concert film! Forget Maltin. What does he know about the Stones? I'm sorry, but I love this film. As a film? No. As a concert? Yes. Why? Because the Stones play tunes one rarely hears with great punch. Why else? Because if you didn't get to go, this is the next best thing. Any true Stones fan need only explore the set list to know that this CONCERT rocks--from one of the best covers of JUST MY IMAGINATION I have ever heard (Ernie Watts kicking butt on sax), to an excellent TIME IS ON MY SIDE and BEAST OF BURDEN couplet, and finally a tremendous HONKY TONK WOMAN (as even Maltin notes) with Keith jamming that first riff out one-handed for a joyously extended period. Don't listen to the Danish guy below. He doesn't know anything. If you are a true LIVE Stones fan, you will adore this.
I've seen the Stones four times. Awesome show each time, but they pretty much play the same stuff the same way (Sympathy for the Devil, Satisfaction, etc.). This bare bones concert film captures the bands at its peak, playing a wide range of material and making each song sound as fresh as ever. The opener "Under My Thumb" is a rocker and the film's version of "Miss You" is pure raw funk with great sax line. Tons of songs from "Some Girls" and a mish mash of hits from the 60s and 70s. Also interesting is to see a stadium concert filmed at a time when big screen video screens were a rarity. A must-see for any Stones fan, and definitely worth the time of a casual enthusiast of the band.
This film documents the first of many comebacks by the World's Greatest
Rock and Roll Band. Are they in their prime here? Definitely NOT! But
rock they do...From the curtain rising "Under My Thumb", filmed
outdoors during daylight at Tempe's Sun Devil Stadium, vignetting into
their indoor arena performances at New Jersey's Meadowlands Arena, you
see a band that appears ageless at a time when rockers in their late
30's/early 40's were considered ancient.
Hal Ashby captures the raw essence of one of the last regular Stones Tours (back when they toured in 3-year cycles) backing one of their last strong albums, Tattoo You. "Start Me Up" is a brand new song the band is just breaking into their set. It's also the last tour with long time touring keyboardist Ian Stewart, whose obituary is noted in the film.
At times, LSTNT captures the raw energy and fun of a Rolling Stones concert from a fan's perspective. Falling balloons, confetti, the whole enchilada. After seeing this film, you'll want to either see it from the beginning again....or buy tickets to see them in person!
Forget what critics say about this one, it's a rock 'n' roll concert NOT
cinema verité and that's all I want from The Stones. Filmed at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona (outdoors segment) and
the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey (indoor segment) by
director Hal Ashby ("Harold And Maude", "Coming Home") in the fall of
1981 on the Stones' very successful Tattoo You Tour. This is the last tour to feature the basic meat and potatoes Stones lineup
(guitar, bass, drums, piano, sax) as every subsequent tour since has featured an musical entourage of 3 or 4 backup singers, big horn sections and
multiple keyboardists. The material is great although I wish they'd have
played "Gimme Shelter", "Monkey Man", "Street Fighting Man", "Bitch"
but hey, those songs were not performed on that tour so what are you
gonna do? I would have liked more backstage activity but then again that's what the
"C*cks*cker Blues" 1972 film by Robert Frank does to excess. "Let's Spend The Night Together" perfectly captures the Stones as they
were in 1981 in their late 30s and early 40s and is a must for any Rolling
4 - 1/2 STARS out of 5
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.
Filmed in 1981, this Rolling Stones concert features performances of the
majority of their hits, but the performances are uneven, ranging from good
("She's So Cold", "Time is on my Side) to lackluster ("Miss You",
"Satisfaction"). Conspicuously missing are classics such as "Sympathy for
the Devil" and "Gimme Shelter".
**1/2 of out ****
Strange- I had maybe too high expectations for this concert movie (not
a documentary, suffice to say it is not Gimme Shelter's mix of concert
and behind the scenes). Mostly it was on the basis of it being 70's
iconoclast director Hal Ashby behind the lens of the Stones on two
dates of their 1981 shows. Curiously enough, even as just a piece of
film of the concert itself, the editing and shots of the concert are
sometimes just ill-conceived. Sometimes Ashby's style of 'kicking back'
and not cutting away from a shot is effective, as one almost gets that
feeling of being in the same spot looking at the stage and (somewhat)
lively performers. Unfortunately, there seem to be some songs that get
editing treatment that displays, a little too much so, that Ashby is
not really too adept at mixing archival footage in with the rest of the
The cutting back to the backstage during the song isn't too distracting, but the cutting to the 60's footage during 'Time is on My Side' of the Stones and (particularly) Mick Jagger is a bit shabby in the ways that should make for some convincing footage. And considering Ashby's strengths started as an editor it's kind of sad to say more often than not what isn't too appealing about the film is based on his work on it. This being said, his work as just capturing the footage ON stage is not too bad, which is helped by the Stones doing well with their songs. Some of these even I hadn't heard before, as they seem to reach back into either their latest of the period (late 70's into Tattoo You numbers) or some of the songs from the 60's albums. And performance wise it's hit or miss- more hit than miss, with the good numbers being very good (i.e. the title song, Under My Thumb, Shattered), and the misses being sort of forgettable in the midst of a large, overwhelming arena crowd as in Phoenix. The film itself is not as readily available as the better Stones documentary Gimme Shelter, but for fans its worth a view at least once, maybe more depending on reaction. As an Ashby fan I should say it has some liabilities.
I saw this movie for the first time in June 1983 when it was released in
France (my God, 20 years already), i was 11. I saw it many times after this.
I watched it again this week, for the first time in 12 years and i can say,
it's a great movie. Don't know what people expect of it. It's colorful,
kicking, music is good, and you can hear some songs never or rarely heard
after and before in other concerts. What to ask more? I give it a 10/10.
I Don't understand people (see others comments) who blame musicians' behavior : Keith is like this, Bill is like that... or that we don't have access to the backstage. Who cares?
This movie is a concert and it's a GREAT concert, with no boring conversations, as you can hear sometimes with music in background (the height of bad taste). People interested by History should rather read a book.
Among all the Rolling Stones' concerts i watched (probably all those available in video) this one is probably one of the best, if not the best.
Finally, having a recent DVD version of this movie i can say the picture is nice and the sound is powerful.
To conclude, i should say, subjectively, that this concert is a contribution in the foundation of my being (more or less...). Hope i convinced someone.
This tour was my first experience with The Stones. Saw them in the
Superdome in New Orleans. Was and I think still is the largest indoor
concert of all time. I was a junior in high school. I've been fortunate
enough to see them many times since, but there will never be another
1st time like this time.
The tour used a lot of high tech effects back in 1981, only some of which are picked up on the movie screen. This tour and movie coincided with the infancy of MTV. I can still picture "Waiting on a Friend" video being played every other hour on MTV.
This movie captures The Stones back when they were written off for the umpteenth time. Everyone was writing about how old these guys were and couldn't believe they were going on a stadium tour. This movie proved all of the media critics wrong.
This movie isn't about the quality of the singing, or how tight the band sounded. The Stones have never been about that. Its rock and roll dammit! These guys put on a good show and I think it was adequately captured by this film.
If you like The Stones, you will more than likely enjoy this film. If you are looking for a biography of who The Stones are, this isn't your film.
Also, I believe this tour was The Stones 1st venture into commercialism and the corporate world. The tour had a major international sponsor.
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