'Rolling Stones - From the Vault: Hyde Park 1969'
(The Rolling Stones / Blu ray / NR / 2015 / Eagle Rock)
Overview: On July 5, 1969, the Rolling Stones hosted their iconic free concert in London`s Hyde Park. Having taken two years off from the road, the show was conceived as the beginning of the band's big return to the live stage. It was also planned as an introduction of their hot new guitar player, Mick Taylor.
Blu ray Verdict: Firstly, and what comes to my eye first is not actually the music, nor the actual eight track, and relatively short concert material, but the back sleeve photograph of the guys just chillin' on the grass of the infamous Hyde Park. Posed, for sure, but behind them nobody is chewing at the bit to jump on their "heroes," nobody is waving a "Mick Kiss Me" sign, and nobody is behaving erratic or belligerent. Nope, it is quietly serene, and beautifully perfect, and for all the right reasons of the time.
As for the show, well, as I mentioned above, it only lasts for eight quick songs, but The Stones have always look accomplished, if not always polished. It's obvious, as they open with the long jam fest 'Midnight Rambler,' that Jagger is nervous, his eyes flirting around at the en mass gathered out there before him, worshiping his every move. Also, as they bleed into '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction,' you can see they are woefully under-rehearsed also, as both Jagger and Richards just don't seem to know where to stand sometimes to sing/play their solo moments.
Dressed in an all-white ensemble, a billowing "skirt" appeal to his tunic, Jagger and his long mop top hair are a light and breezy joy to behold. Playing to over 400,000 delirious fans of all ages gathered into the park for the concert, and not having performed live for two long years beforehand, this show was actually more about paying homage to the late Brian Jones, whilst and ushering in the new and extraordinary era of Mick Taylor (1969-74).
It's funny, for as we roll through some bum notes on both 'I'm Free' and 'I'm Yours & I'm Hers,' Jagger himself acknowledges them also. "I hope we're gonna get better as we go along," he nervously laughs, looking back at Richards as if to say, We will, right?! And get better they do, as they sound a lot tighter as a unit on both 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' (which has always been Jagger's musical comfort blanket to sink into, and then a barnstorming 'Honky Tonk Woman.'
In what was one of the most highly anticipated gigs of 1969, this Hyde Park gig delivered on all the promise and then some. This amazingly FREE concert hosted by The Stones does have some dated camera work, let's be honest though! Whoever that zoom lens operator is, constantly trying to keep up with the music, and who's playing what instrument, only succeeds in bringing a seasickness appeal to some moments, sadly. Anyway, that aside as it was an "art form" from a long time ago, thankfully, the concert ends with a diligently played 'Love In Vain,' before finally rounding out with an epic, and simply stunning open air version of 'Sympathy For The Devil.'
FYI - `From The Vault` is a series of live concerts from The Rolling Stones archive which are getting their first official release. `Hyde Park 1969` is the latest addition to the series. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.