Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Eagle Rock Entertainment and The Rolling Stones have been quite busy in recent years, releasing a variety of live recordings from the veteran rock band. The two sides together, have released no fewer than 10 live recordings from the band’s years on the road. Late last month, the two sides partnered to release yet another live recording, this time from the band’s 1994 North American tour in support of its then brand new album Voodoo Lounge. The second new live recording from the two sides so far this year, – the first was the band’s recording No Security: San Jose ’99 — Voodoo Lounge Uncut is yet another wonderful addition to the collection of any Rolling Stones fan and rock music lover in general. This is proven in part through the concert’s set list (and the band’s performance thereof), which will be discussed shortly. The concert’s production is also important to note in examining the recording, and will be addressed a little later. The companion booklet that is included with the recording rounds out the set’s most important elements, and will also be discussed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Voodoo Lounge Uncut. All things considered, they make Voodoo Lounge Uncut yet another must have for any fan of The Rolling Stones fan.
Eagle Rock Entertainment’s recent re-issue of The Rolling Stones’ Voodoo Lounge, aptly titled Voodoo Lounge Uncut, is a welcome new pressing of the recording, which was previously released in edited fashion on laser disc, DVD and VHS. That is due in no small part to the concert’s set list. The extensive 27-song set list is the complete presentation of the band’s classic concert, performed at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida. As is noted on the rear of the set’s packaging and in its companion booklet (again, that booklet will be discussed later), this release marks the first time that the expansive set list has been presented in whole. The concert’s previous pressings featured significantly shortened set lists, which removed a total of 10 songs from the recordings. In other words, audiences get in this set, the band’s entire show for the first time ever. While not necessarily career-spanning, the set list featured here still pulls from a respectable portion of The Rolling Stones’ catalog. Specifically speaking, it pulls from no less than a dozen of the band’s releases, including the band’s 1964 U.S. debut record The Rolling Stones (England’s Newest Hit Makers), its then latest album Voodoo Lounge and other albums, such as 12 X 5, Out Of Our Heads and Exile on Main Street. Exile on Main Street is the most heavily represented of the albums featured in the set list, with four nods. The bonus five-song set, which was recorded at Giants Stadium in New Jersey as part of the Voodoo Lounge tour, features two more songs from that album, bringing the total count there to six songs. Voodoo Lounge got a grand total of five nods between the two sets while Let It Bleed was represented by three songs. The numbers vary from here, but simply put, the band reaches well back into its back catalog for this show, which is well-deserving of applause.
While the set list itself does a respectable job of representing The Rolling Stones’ catalog, it is just one part of the set list that deserves to be noted. The set list’s actual order is just as important to the concert experience here as the set list itself. Audiences will note that the set’s first seven songs are high-energy pieces. From there, the band slows things down gradually, starting with ‘Beast of Burden.’ The band goes from there, to a short acoustic set that helps relax the concert’s mood. The band’s performances of ‘It’s All Over Now’ and ‘Who Do You Love?’ – which features the one and only Bo Diddley joining the band for the performance – gradually pick up the concert’s set list again. The show’s energy gradually increases more and more from there until guitarist Keith Richards takes the lead with performances of ‘Before They Make Me Run’ and ‘The Worst.’ That pullback is only brief, as things gradually pick back up again starting with the laid back vibe of ‘Sympathy for the Devil.’ Each song from there sees the show’s energy rise yet again right to the bombastic finale of ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’ Simply put, the energy in the show’s set shows that a lot of thought and time was put into its sequencing. The band wanted to make sure that audiences got the most bang for their buck, and it goes without saying that they got that and more, over the course of more than two-and-a-half hours.
While the expansive set list featured in Voodoo Lounge Uncut gives audiences to enjoy and appreciate from this recording, it is only one part of what makes the recording so enjoyable. The band’s performance – including that of the touring musicians – builds on the foundation formed through the set list to make the recording even more enjoyable. Front man Mick Jagger has all of the swagger in his performance here that he has had at every other moment in his career while drummer Charlie Watts’ time keeping is just as solid as ever. Guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood show throughout the course of the show that, like Jagger, they can still hold their own easily against their younger counterparts, working through every single riff and every single song with ease. At the same time, the pair’s smiles and swagger as they make their way across the stage from song to song exude their own share of energy on which audiences will feed. Touring bassist Darryl Jones, who according to the recording’s notes joined the band for the first time in the Voodoo Lounge tour, adds his own interest as he shares some light-hearted moments with his fellow musicians as do touring vocalists Lisa Fischer and Bernard Fowler. Horn players Kent Smith, Bobby Keys, Andy Snitzer and Michael Davis join with keyboardist Chuck Leavell to give each song even more energy thanks to the energy that they put into each performance. Between their performances and those of the rest of the group, the whole of the musicians’ performances proves just as entertaining as any other performance that The Rolling Stones has presented to audiences in its previous live recordings because of the energy and effort put into entertaining the group’s audiences. When the collective’s performance is considered along with the set recording’s featured set list the two related items come together to give audiences quite a bit to appreciate in this set. They are only a portion of what makes Voodoo Lounge Uncut so enjoyable, too. The concert’s production is just as important to examine as the show’s set and the band’s performance thereof.
The production involved with this recording is important to examine because of its general effect for home viewers. It is noted in the recording’s companion booklet that this recording was originally presented on pay-per-view in its very first presentation almost 25 years ago. Taking in the recording here, the production is impressive. Given there are some shots that are perhaps a little too short, leading to some feelings of dizziness. Those shots are not enough to make the concert unwatchable, though. The aerial shots at the concert’s end and the overhead shots from the crane cams give viewers a full sense of just how many people attended the concert. The various angles from the stage and the crowd do just as much to keep audiences engaged and entertained as they make audiences feel as if they are right there with the rest of the audience. At times, those behind the cameras even take viewers into the crowd, giving audiences a glimpse into what the audience saw and heard. On yet another level, the timing of many of the shots even timed almost perfectly with the songs themselves, adding even more impact to each performance, and in turn ensuring even more, audiences’ engagement and entertainment. Adding even more interest is the attention given to the concert’s audio mix. The Joe Robbie stadium is a massively open venue, as any National Football League fan knows. That means that a lot of work had to have been done and time taken to balance every single line. That work and attention clearly paid off, as did the work and time put in by those who edited down the concert for its presentation here. No one line overpowers that other at any point throughout the show. Kudos are in order for all involved, considering this. This positive joins with the positives in the show’s set and the band’s performance to strengthen the recording’s presentation even more. It is still not the last of the recording’s most important elements. The companion booklet, which has previously been noted rounds out the set’s most important items.
The recording’s companion booklet is important in part because of its liner notes. Composed by Paul Sexton, the liner notes point out that the Voodoo Lounge tour marked the first time that Darryl Jones joined The Rolling Stones as the band’s bassist. This is important to note because as previously noted, this concert took place almost 25 years ago. That is a long time for him to have been with the band. Sexton’s liner notes also point out Jagger’s interest in artist Santiago Calatrava played a part in the look of the set for the band’s show. As if these notes are not enough, Sexton also highlights thoughts from Sheryl Crow, who joins the band on-stage for one of the show’s three guest appearances. He quotes Crow as saying how frightened she was to perform with the band because of her respect for the band. There is even mention of Richard’s time in the limelight and much more. Between all of that extra and the items noted here, Sexton’s liner notes give audiences a solid, clear introduction to this concert, setting the scene for the performance quite well. It offers its own enlightenment and entertainment for audiences. When this positive is considered along with the positives exhibited in the recording’s set list, the band’s performance thereof and the recording’s production, the whole of the recording proves to be yet another standout live offering from The Rolling Stones and Eagle Rock Entertainment. It continues that positive tradition that was started so long ago from the two sides, ensuring once again that audiences and Rolling Stones fans alike will have plenty to appreciate from beginning to end.
Eagle Rock Entertainment and The Rolling Stones’ latest live recording Voodoo Lounge Uncut is another successful live offering from the two sides in what is a long-running partnership between the two groups. It is an offering that fans of The Rolling Stones will enjoy just as much as rock fans in general. This is proven in part through the recording’s extensive 27-song (technically 32-song) set that lifts from a healthy section of the band’s catalog. The band’s performance of said set list builds on the foundation formed via that list as does the show’s production. The companion booklet that comes with the recording puts the finishing touch to its presentation, cementing its positive presentation. Each element is important in its own way to the whole of Voodoo Lounge Uncut. All things considered, they make this recording yet another wonderful addition to the collection of any Rolling Stones fan. More information on Voodoo Lounge Uncut is available online now along with all of the Rolling Stones’ latest news and more at:
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