No Sunday Service this week, folks. The Canada Day weekend has kept me busy and away from the house for a lot of it.
However, inspired by Deke’s review of this one, I grabbed up a copy for myself, the CD/DVD edition (since I don’t have a blu-ray player, or a TV). But my trusty Mac can play DVDs, so away we go!
NB: For thos einterested, I also covered the original Stripped CD a couple of days ago.
And now, let’s get Totally Stripped.
Part One: The CD
Not Fade Away* is another great version, glad they still play this old stuff. Honky Tonk Women slows down and goes barroom brawl on us. So glad the horn section is ever-present. Great piano solo from Chuck Leavell. Dead Flowers* is rocked up and countrified. Yes!
Some Girls’ Faraway Eyes is pure Stones country, old school-style. A lot of other bands trying to pull this off in the middle of a show like this would fall flat, but the Stones do it with a wink and a smile and, incongruous as it might be with many of the other songs here, it fits perfectly. Shine A Light* is gorgeous and totally welcome no matter how many times they play it. It always lifts me!
I Go Wild, from Voodoo Lounge, satisfies my wondering that they hadn’t included any tracks off their most recent studio album on the original Stripped! And oh man, what a cool version. Super-strong, bluesy and slinky… in other words, pure Stones magic. The party is kept rolling by old classic Miss You, which isn’t one I would’ve expected them to pull out of their bag of tricks for a gig like this. But here it is, at almost ten minutes long, and it’s still pure disco blues and fun times. The breakdown section is fun. Did Mick just tell the crowd to “shut the fuck up” (at 2:45)? Hahaha. Also, an absolutely killer sax solo from Bobby Keys.
Like A Rolling Stone* gets introduced by Mick as “a song Bob Dylan wrote for us,” the cocky bastard haha. It hasn’t got quite the same lift and energy as the perfect Stripped version, but it’s always fun to hear the band bang their way through this one. Brown Sugar is pure party, all energy and fun. Great version.
Midnight Rambler is always a highlight, and it is no holds barred awesome. As it does, it shifts tempos and feels several times, all of them bluesy as hell. Jumpin’ Jack Flash is a pretty by-rote run through, but I liked the thumping ending. Cool.
Gimme Shelter is Lisa Fischer’s time to shine. It’s a slow, groovy version and it is glorious. Fischer nails it. I also love the guitar flourishes throughout. This track is a highlight of the disc! Lead-off track from the amazing Exile, Rip This Joint has a false start while they sort out things out, then it takes of into speedy blues bliss. Talk about a barnstormer of a tune, holy crap! This was awesome!
Oddly, next comes Street Fighting Man**, the same version we already have from the old Stripped record. I thought Rip This Joint was the high point they ought to have gone out on. Why rehash a track? Why does no one ever ask me these things before releasing albums? Sigh.
Part Two: The DVD
At over an hour and a half long, this documentary/live performance footage shows some of how, when and where the Stripped stuff got made. Right off the top we get a super-cool in-studio black and white video of Love In Vain. Fun to watch Ronnie play that slide. The band talks about dredging up old songs they hadn’t played in ages, then they play Spider And The Fly in studio! Keef makes a great point, about how cool it was to have the whole band in a small room, playing takes through together. If I were in a band, it’d be the only way I’d wanna do it. You’re a group, play together as one!
Wild Horses goes into a snippet of Let It Bleed. Then we flash to the Paradiso in Amsterdam. The band can’t even enjoy a ride on the canal without fans following them by bike on shore, and driving boats right up to theirs. Crazy. It’s bittersweet to see interview time with Bobby Keys (may he R.I.P). I loved the Chuck Leavell-led warm-up on Tumbling Dice. Sounds like a gospel revival, what fun they’re having! That scene is solid gold, a highlight in the reel! In fact, it’s so enjoyable, here it is!
The Paradiso footage is awesome. Only 1500 people wristbands to get in, and it looks tight and small and awesome, with those balconies running along both sides. Gimme Shelter, oh my goodness. I could hear Lisa sing her parts on that a zillion times. Cool beans.
Zap to Paris’s Olympia, which is cool as Mick mentions it was one of the first places they played in France in 64 or so, and they’d had a gig at 2pm or something silly, so they thought it’d be a lark to do it again. Even Jack Nicholson showed up for this one. 2000 got to attend this one, a highlight being footage of them playing You Got Me Rocking. How come this wasn’t on either CD set, or any of the single releases?????? Gah! I Go Wild is here too. More interviews with Keef and Bobby Keys, then Shine A Light. Ah yes. More Jack Nicholson and then Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Appropriate! The band bows, loads out and…
Brixton Academy, London! Somehow fitting the first thing we see is a police car rocketing around a curve in the road. I don’t know why, it just is ha. Interviews with fans, set-up for the gig, a soundcheck of Can’t Get Next To You (awesome) then part of Honky Tonk Women, and Faraway Eyes too, with Mick (who always wished he was from Texas) on piano and some excellent pedal steel from Ronnie. Interesting points made about Mick not needing to ham it up so much like he does in stadium shows. With the smaller stages like these he can relax and play more harmonica and just entertain and have a good time. Roll into a bit of Like A Rolling Stone, with Mick and Keef talking about it being a natural tune for them, obviously, but Keef saying if it hadn’t been named what it is, they would’ve cut it years ago! Then the cameraman found a pretty blond in a cut-off top dancing with her arms over her head in the balcony, so we got some of her too, nice one haha.
Some soundbites from the crowd on their way out the door and that’s about it.
Really a cool DVD. Cool gigs, cool songs, cool band, yes yes yes!
Part One: The CD
This totally (stripped, natch) hit the spot, and I’m thrilled to get these versions into the collection. It would have been easy for them to just phone in these shows, but there’s a real feel of energy and freshness to the whole thing that is completely exciting. I really wish they had done it up right and included all 7 of the extra tracks from the original Stripped (the ones that only appeared on singles, etc). May as well put it all together, so that was a bit of an oversiiiight that means they misused the word Totally in the title of the release! !
Part Two: The DVD
A brilliant watch, wonderful to get some behind the scenes stuff and interviews, sound checks and stuff you’d never otherwise see. I liked the documentary style of it.
The Whole CD/DVD Set: In Sum
Fan-fucking-tastic. Yes. Yes yes YES! This was an exciting period for the band, they were flying high and knocking it right out of the fucking park. These stripped discs are amazing. Buy it now!
NB: It’s also worth noting that there is also a 5 disc deluxe set, which probably contains all the stuff I was complaining this one didn’t have, and more besides! But this one was affordable for me and I’m cool enough with everything that was here.
* Different city and version of a song that’s also on Stripped.
** Track duplicated from the original Stripped.