DVD Review: The Rolling Stones – No Security

The new millennium hangs like a shadow over the last months of the 90s and The Rolling Stones have endured everything thrown at them up to this point: drugs, death, divorces and every musical fad you can think of. Still, they endure. Even at this point of their career, people asked “Yeah, but how much longer can they go?” Twenty years later and their recent No Filter tour has people asking the same question.

The No Security tour saw The Rolling Stones strip everything back and focus solely on the songs and even at this point in their career, it was a fairly intimate affair. Here, in the band’s latest From the Vault series, it sees Jagger, Richards, Watts, Wood and co perform to (only) 30,000 in San Jose.

This DVD shows the band in fine form, deep into the tour and from the minute they hit the stage with “Jumping Jack Flash”, they’re intent on giving people the night of their lives. Not only that, they prove why they still deserved to be a massive draw: by having the songs, the skills and the showmanship to become one of the world’s biggest bands.

Whilst it’s not the out and out greatest hits set you’d expect from the Stones in the last decade or so, most of the big numbers are there like “You Got Me Rocking”, “Honky Tonk Women”, “Paint it, Black” as well as a nod to Otis Redding with “I Got the Blues”. Meanwhile, there’s the great songs but not the first ones that come to mind with the brass-laden “Bitch” and the blues-fuelled “Respectable” which sees (soon-to-be Sir) Mick join in on guitar duties with Richards and Wood.

Part of what made the No Security tour great was the stripped-back nature of the show and taking to the stage without a security detail (hence the tour name). But there’s also something else so great about this one: the band decamping to a smaller “B stage” halfway through the set as the four mainstays and some of the touring musicians cramp themselves onto a stage smaller than some club venues have. Here, they take time to shake hands with fans and those who can barely see proceedings on the main stage now get to see them up close. Here, they treat the crowd to their extended version of “Midnight Rambler” and as ever, shows at the end of the day, the Stones will always be a blues band.

As the band retreat after, it’s straight into the home stretch with some of the most classic songs of the 20th century with “Tumblin’ Dice”, “It’s Only Rock N Roll”, “Start Me Up”, “Brown Sugar” and the encore of “Sympathy for the Devil”. With a band that far into their career, the camaraderie jumps out of the screen and are as tight as you’d expect them to be. Whilst Jagger may be less chatty between songs than he is nowadays, he refuses to stand still in his inimitable way and Charlie Watts as ever, effortlessly leads proceedings with his stripped-back approach to drums. Meanwhile, Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards are the perfect portrait of guitarists weaving around each other.

Of course, Richards has his turn to lead the band with the acoustic “You Got the Silver” and the harder-edged “Before They Make Me Run”. And the rest of the time, he just remains the epitome of cool. His skilled and soulful playing which ranks him among the best with his transformation into his aging pirate look makes him one of the most iconic musicians in the world.

From a technical standpoint, the DVD lives up to the From the Vault name. The picture quality is what you’d expect from something filmed in 1999, albeit cleaned up a bit. But you are going to see it in that lovely 4:3 aspect ratio. The camera angles and cuts are excellent, showing the right member of the band at the right time as well as gratuitous shots of the crowd, even if US crowds are far more reserved than their UK counterpart. From an audio standpoint, however, it sounds amazing and as if it was recorded in 2018. Everything’s well mixed including horns, keys and brass; not buried by the “stars” of the band

No Security presents a band like few others and comes at a welcome time as the No Filter tour comes to its end. There’s two decades separating the tours and there’s a few more wrinkles but they show that both class and form can be permanent.

No Security is out now

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