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The Rolling Stones Shine A Light Review

Soundtrack. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

Amazingly proves that after 45 years they've still got live, if you want it

Chris Jones 2008

Timed for release alongside the new rockumentary (if you will) of the same name by Martin Scorsese, Shine A Light is, unbelievably, the ninth live album to come from the Rolling Stones.

As with many concert souvenirs these days the band sound great but there's a palpable sense of something missing. It's the visuals. You just know that Richards and Wood are throwing great shapes, but without the creased visogs leering at you in HDTV pixel perfection the riffs can be a little too slapdash and mechanical at times. Still, like an old motor with r 'n' b rather than oil pumping through its veins, the Stones barrel manfully (and , it has to be said, very rapidly) through a set containing both the obvious (Sympathy For The Devil, Start Me Up, Brown Sugar etc) and the less so ( Faraway Eyes, anyone?). For this we have to be thank Scorsese who encouraged the band to explore the dustier corners of their repertoire. It's a trick that works brilliantly. Making them sound as though they really care about their legacy, rather than the fiscal benefits. And at the heart of this rock 'n' roll engine sits Charlie Watts: A man who after all these years is still 'good tonight, innee?'. We are not worthy...

What isn't so surefire is the inclusion of guests. One senses that Jack White (on Loving Cup) and Christina Aguilera (Live With Me) are there more as a savvy attempt to lure in more than just the plus 30s. White does feel right at home here, his roots being in British r 'n' b anyway, but Aguilera's 'raunchy' caterwauling is innapropriate. Lyrics that are ironic don't sit well in her mouth and her inability to hold onto just one note instead of 53 removes the grit and menace necessary for such a louche song. Again, maybe you need the visuals to distract you from the mismatch.

But mostly a collection of rowdy, raucous fun that doesn't detract from the Stones' legacy and amazingly proves that after 45 years they've still got live, if you want it...

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