From The Vault:
The Marquee Club - Live In 1971
Hyde Park Live 1969

The Rolling Stones

Like silver-studded dice, gems from an illustrious past keep tumbling out from the vault of the Rolling Stones. Hot on the heels of Universal's reissue of Sticky Fingers, Eagle Rock put out the From The Vault: The Marquee Club - Live In 1971 DVD and Blu-ray Disc, featuring footage from an intimate show of the band previewing many of the songs from Sticky Fingers. A month later, From The Vault: Hyde Park Live 1969 comprises video of the less-than-intimate July 5, 1969 show at London's Hyde Park before some 250,000 fans, two days after the untimely demise of Brian Jones. Many hardcore fanatics would argue that 1969 and 1971 were peak years for the Rolling Stones.

Filmed at London's legendary Marquee on March 26, 1971, From The Vault: The Marquee Club - Live In 1971 captures the lineup of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman right after their 1971 UK tour, and a month before the release of Sticky Fingers. It marked the first time they played "Brown Sugar," "Dead Flowers," "Bitch," and "I Got The Blues" live. They opened with the vivacious "Live With Me" from Let It Bleed. The classic raunchiness floods the airwaves and then Bobby Keyes blows out his sax to bring it all home.

The small, no-frills stage virtually invited the band to stay loose and swinging. A sizzling take on "Midnight Rambler," visceral and in the groove, likely had everyone in the room spinning in aural utopia. Mick Taylor ignited a fire in the Stones that turned them from the red-headed step-pop princes of the 60s into a fuel-burning rock and roll band. A reasonably good picture in standard definition and a new mix by Bob Clearmountain, From The Vault: The Marquee Club - Live In 1971 is definitely one to add to your Stones archive.

From a historical perspective, From The Vault: Hyde Park Live 1969 documents one of the band's most dramatic and intense performances. It was their  first concert in over two years, and was intended to introduce the world to new guitarist Mick Taylor. When Brian Jones passed away just two days before, it became more of a tribute to their former guitarist. Maybe because it was free may has something to do with why so many people showed up; although at the time, with the Beatles nearly spent, the Rolling Stones were on the cusp of becoming the World's Greatest Rock n' Roll Band.

Filmed by the UK's Granada TV, broadcast on September 25, 1969 as 'The Stones in The Park' and first released on DVD in 2006, From The Vault: Hyde Park Live 1969 begins with timeless shots of the audience settling in and fast-forwards to a blistering performance of "Midnight Rambler." From there, we see random hippies talking about the Stones, a couple of songs in, and then Jagger's on stage, in a white dress and white pants, grasping a poetry book. He scolds the audience before reading two stanzas of Percy Shelley's Adonaïs in commemoration of Brian Jones. Stagehands open cardboard boxes and shake out the contents: White butterflies. The unorthodox send-off is sealed with a sloppy "Stray Cat Blues." Jagger seems mildly annoyed by the whole escapade.

In a short interview clip, Jagger talks about how the Beatles were great songwriters, while implying that the Stones were a better live band. "Honky Tonk Women" or the poignant "Love In Vain" underscore the sentiment, while the party-like atmosphere surrounding "Sympathy For The Devil" forgoes further speculation. That song would eventually represent a darker shade in the Stones' palette of songcraft. Somehow at Hyde Park, it transcended any misconceptions. Yeah, there's definitely more footage out there from the day, but once you've traveled back to the prime years of the Rolling Stones through these From The Vault sets, it's probably time to change the channel.

~ Shawn Perry

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