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The Rolling Stones

Grrr Live! (DVD/double CD set)

Review by Gary Hill

I have to say that it's a great time to be a Rolling Stones fan. It seems that there has been no shortage of killer Stones live shows coming out for home video. This new set is just one example. I'm reviewing the DVD edition, which includes a double CD set of the music from the main concert.

This was originally broadcast live (and recorded) in 2012 as a pay-for-view show, and there was apparently a thing where people could choose one song from a list of ten as their request. Some references to that don't hold up well, but that's the thing about concert recordings, things become dated over time because you are capturing a moment. Then again, it is also one of the great things about it. It's a way of preserving, at least to a small degree, a fleeting one-time experience.

The band is on fire here, but that's generally a given with The Stones. They really are the world's greatest rock and roll band, particularly when it comes to live performance. This show is just amazing. One of the highlights for me (in fact, probably the one thing here that makes this worth having all by itself) is the killer rendition of "Gimme Shelter." That's my favorite Stones song, and I think this might be the best performance of it I have ever heard.

I'm going to make a couple points that might controversial here, and this is the first of those. Lady Gaga shows up as a guest on that version of "Gimme Shelter." Her performance is one of a handful of vocal deliveries that sent chills down my spine. I don't care for her own music. That's because it's so over-produced and artificial that it loses all its humanity. Well, at least her music that I've heard, which is the big hits. It's really a shame because she is amazingly talented, and I feel that she should be allowed to shine rather than have everything computer engineered to death. Yes, I know, I'm talking like an old man, here, but I'll accept that. And, yes, I know she sells lots of music the way it's done. It just seems a shame that she can't shine on her own stuff when she is so talented.

I suppose I should get the second controversial opinion out of the way, too. Bruce Springsteen shows up to guest on "Tumbling Dice."  I know people love Springsteen, and I respect him as a human being and a songwriter, but I have never liked his singing. He mars the track for me to some degree. Still, it's just one song.

There are a number of other guest appearances of varying effectiveness. Those guests are John Mayer and Gary Clark Jr., former Stone Mick Taylor and The Black Keys. One of the other highlights for me here is "Dead Flowers." I've always thought that song was an odd one, but it's a lot of fun, and I haven't heard a lot of live versions of it.

Since this was recorded for live broadcast, you expect high quality, and you get it. The Stones are always magic live, and this performance really delivers on that. There are three songs from another show included as bonus tracks, and those are great, too, but the main show is really the main entree, and it's so strong. And, I always love when you get audio CDs of the concert with a video. I highly recommend this set.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2023  Volume 2. More information and purchase links can be found at:

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