I finally got around to seeing this movie on my flight over to Montreal on my iPad. I am a big Stones fan as I have written several times about them here. However, I have never seen them live mostly because I think they are past their prime by almost 40 years. I have another DVD set my mom gave me “Four Licks” and find it interesting but not fantastic. However, this effort by the legendary Scorsese gave me a little hope. It is an intimate portrait – as intimate as you could get with superstellar egos like those of Jagger and Richards I suppose – of the bad boys of rock-n-roll and the document of a concert in Manhattan at the Beacon. I found it was self-indulgent – particularly when Scorsese pretends that he is shining so much light that they will burn up Jagger. Now THAT would have been something to see. Perhaps metaphorically Scorsese was hoping to see deep into their souls (if they still have souls of course) but I don’t feel he really accomplished that. Rather, it is a rather typical ego trip for Mick and Keith (with a few but only a few nods to Charlie and Ron as well (the sequence on who is the better guitarist seemed superfluous to me)). I love the music – particularly the tracks from Let It Bleed (You Got the Silver) and Exile (Tumbing Dice). The duets with Jack White (he seems to be in awe of Mick and saying to himself “holy shit, I am actually playing with the fucking Stones” the whole time) and Buddy Guy (who gets a guitar from Keith after his song – was this a return on a loan? Wouldn’t Buddy already have lots of guitars? It was an odd gest!) were cool. However, I was flabbergasted by the appearance of Christina Aguillera. What the fuck!?! She is like the polar opposite of rock-n-roll. That was like a little too much for this old geezer to swallow. I mean they have no soul but Aguillera? Yikes! That being said, aside from not quite getting all the lyrics right on “Live with me”, her wailing at the end of the song was interesting if out of context. Honestly, it put a bit of a damper on the video for me.
Overall, the preening of Mick and the self-effacing, half-stoned, angelic grimaces of Keith became a bit annoying after two hours. There was a nice night shot of Manhattan just at the end of the film. Distant, cold, shining – like the Stones themselves I suppose.