The Rolling Stones | Rare & Unseen - DVD Review

Rare And Unseen

The Rolling Stones

To mark their 25th anniversary, the Rolling Stones put together a sensational video to document their career called 25 X 5: The Continuing Adventures Of The Rolling Stones. That was in 1989 and it still hasn’t made it to DVD. A few things have happened in the band’s colorful history since then (though there’s probably more interest in their earlier years), and there’s been plenty of live DVDs and Martin Scorsese’s film, Shine A Light, to keep us updated. But there hasn’t been another documentary, not so much as even a Behind The Music, to come along and kick 25 X 5 to the curb. Until the official story gets a makeover, you’ll have to settle for Rare And Unseen.

Fragmented and pretty much all over the map, Rare And Unseen gathers clips of the Stones at press conferences, television appearances, movie premieres, impromptu interviews, photo shoots, art shows, airports, record stores, arrests, meet-and-greets, pie fights (?) and intimate summits. This DVD isn’t something the Stones have endorsed, so don’t expect much in the way of music or concert performances (at least with sound). Still, there’s some bits here that even the most diehard Stones fan would trade his worn-out, autographed copy of Aftermath for. OK, that might be pushing it.

Most of the clips focus on Mick Jagger, the band’s primary spokesman and figurehead. We see him talking with Jools Holland in between discussions with diplomats, dignitaries, and numerous reporters about controversial topics like religion, politics and drugs. He gets snippy with journalists in footage of his wedding to Bianca Pérez Morena de Macías in 1971, but remains mostly sassy, well-spoken and diplomatic in virtually every other setting.

Ron Wood talks about his art and his role as the “new guy” in the Stones. We get brief glimpses of Brian Jones from a 1964 group interview in Belfast, and Mick Taylor when he first joined the band and years later after he left in which he calls Jagger a “prima donna.” Camera-shy Charlie Watts clearly disdains the press and is seldom captured with a smile, but Bill Wyman chats extensively about life in the Stones in an undated clip, most likely from the 70s.

What is mostly rare and unseen is Keith Richards. Despite the drug-addled perception the public may have, Richards can be a delightful interview, and it’s a shame there isn’t more of him. Frankly, unless you’re a dedicated Stones fan or collector, the hour-long Rare And Unseen may stuggle to hold your attention. One can only hope by recent reissues of Get Yer Ya’s Ya’s Out and Exile On Main Street that an official visual history of the World’s Greatest Rock N’ Roll Band is on the drawing board. Then again, the Rolling Stones are still adding chapters to their never-ending obstacle course in popular music, so a definitive overview could be years away.

~ Shawn Perry

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