Music DVD Review: The Rolling Stones – ‘From The Vault – L.A. Forum (Live In 1975)’
The Rolling Stones new From The Vault collaborative concert series with Eagle Rock is off to a fine start with this show filmed in Los Angeles, during their tumultuous 1975 “Tour of the Americas.” A similar document from the Stones 1981 Tattoo You tour is also out this month as part of this series.
L.A. Forum (Live In 1975) captures the Stones during a period of transition on several levels, but mostly firing on all cylinders, and living up to their self-proclaimed title of “Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the World.”
New guitarist Ronnie Wood, though still officially on loan from the Faces at the time (Mick Jagger even acknowledges this during the band introductions on this DVD), all but nails the audition to become Mick Taylor’s permanent replacement here. His musical chemistry with Keith Richards is undeniable, as the duo trade off sizzling solos on several Stones classics. This new combination proves to be particularly potent on lengthier than usual versions of “Midnight Rambler” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” The latter also features a fabulous sax solo from Trevor Lawrence.
What is most notable about this show though, is how far the Rolling Stones – along with an extended lineup that includes Lawrence, percussionist Ollie E. Brown, and keyboardist Billy Preston – take the music down a deeper, much funkier, R&B infused path than on anything they had done up until this point.
On “Fingerprint File,” the band lays down a thicker than pea soup funk, anchored by Bill Wyman’s popping, surprisingly prominent bass lines and the crackling precision of percussionists Brown and Charlie Watts. Mick Jagger also straps on a guitar for this one, and doesn’t sound half bad in the role of second rhythm guitarist to Richards. This song, as well as others like “Heartbreaker” and Preston’s “Outta Space” from this show, provide a tantalizing peak into where the Stones would be headed next on the albums Black & Blue, Some Girls and Emotional Rescue.
The 1975 “Tour Of The Americas” also represents that curious period where Mick Jagger briefly flirted with an androgynous image influenced largely by the glam-rock of the day. With his thick makeup consisting of both black mascara and deep blue eye shadow, it’s sometimes hard to figure out whether Jagger wants to be more like Alice Cooper, David Bowie or both. The glam theatrics add just enough dramatic menace to “Midnight Rambler” to make effective work of the lyrics though, and are also fun (if slightly ridiculous), as Jagger wrestles with a gigantic, inflatable phallus during “Star, Star.”
With a setlist that mixes funkier fare like “Aint’ Too Proud To Beg” and “Fingerprint File,” with well worn favorites like “Honky Tonk Women,” “Brown Sugar” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” L.A. Forum (Live In 1975) makes for a nice compliment to other live concert films like Ladies And Gentlemen The Rolling Stones.
As Stones shows go, this one is a gas, gas, gas.
*Article first published at Blogcritics.