The Rolling Stones historic and triumphant return to Hyde Park was without doubt the event of the summer. Over 100,000 delirious fans of all ages packed into the park for two spectacular ... See full summary »
The film follows the Rolling Stones across South America and Mexico and finally ends with their historical concert in Cuba. It begins with the band rehearsing and discussing what it takes to "get the rust out" before they tour. They seemed to hit all the major countries in South America before moving onto Mexico. Clips of them performing their most famous hits in huge concert venues are effectively interspersed with shots of the local culture and scenery of the various countries they toured. The energy of their fans is contagious. It also documents the great difficulty they had being the first rock and roll band to perform (for free) in Cuba for many decades. Only one of their setbacks included being preempted from their original concert date by President Obama's historic visit. Hint: when you see the credits start to roll, stay seated. The Rolling Stones perform several more songs after the credit have rolled.Written by
Another year, another excuse for a Stones concert film, it seems. This time the cameras are out to record the onstage and backstage happenings at their 2016 tour of South America, culminating in their much-publicised free concert in Cuba, which accidentally coincided with President Obama's visit to that country in the wake of the US lifting its long-running trade blockade of the island.
Obviously the Havana show is something of a big deal and much is made of it by the director here as clips about organising the show are trailed alongside countdown dates flashed on the screen like it's a space rocket launch. Personally, I could care less about the travails of the administrators setting up the show, making out as if it was almost a life or death enterprise, one woman on the organising committee actually breaks down in tears when talking about how the show has finally come together. That's called doing your job I would say.
The film is at pains to show the Stones as good tourists of the various countries they visit as we see them take in some of the local culture and mixing with the different people but to be honest it all has a vaguely patrician feel about it. These guys are super-rich rock-stars and seeing Mick almost grant an audience to two local rock musicians lays it on a bit thick I thought.
I did enjoy seeing and hearing some of the local stories and landscapes as the band flits in and out of Argentina, Peru, Columbia, Mexico, Brazil and Cuba, (loved the Samba version of "Happy") but of course being a Stones concert film, most of the footage centres on the band playing their hits on stage for the umpteenth time. Mick can still put himself about and hit his notes, although I could have done without seeing him dry-hump his pretty female backing singer during "Satisfaction", Keith and Ronnie play fairly raggedly as is their wont and Charlie Watts drums proficiently enough behind them. Yet again long-term bass player Darryl Jones is ignored almost completely by the cameras, confirming his invisible-man status within the group.
The sight of the massive crowds in the various stadiums loving the music is however still a stirring one and with the group trotting out pretty much the same greatest hits show every night, no-one probably went home disappointed.
Don't get me wrong, this is an enjoyable film of its type, slickly directed but for all the back-light supposedly reflected on the individual countries they visit, you're never left in doubt that its real purpose is to promote and bolster the pension funds of four very wealthy septuagenarians.
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