CD/DVD Review: The Rolling Stones – From the Vault: The Marquee Club – Live In 1971

CD/DVD Review: The Rolling Stones – From the Vault: The Marquee – Live In 1971
Eagle Rock Entertainment
All Access Rating: A

The Rolling Stones - From
The Vault: The Marquee Club -
Live In 1971
Still a month away from the hotly anticipated release of Sticky Fingers, the Rolling Stones – fresh off their "1971 Farewell Tour of the UK" – set up at London's famed Marquee Club for a rare intimate performance filmed for American television.

Eric Clapton was there to see it, and so was Jimmy Page, among others of similar stature. And the Stones showed them all how it was done, their swagger born of an innate knowledge that nobody, but nobody, could touch them on a good night, let alone a great one.

And to think, highly sought-after footage of that gig sat in an attic for two decades, just gathering dust. What better time than the present for its new unveiling, now that the Stones have reissued, in grand fashion, Sticky Fingers in all its gritty, cocksure glory.

Restored with loving care by Bob Clearmountain, its impressive 5.1 surround sound on the DVD and SD Blu-ray versions and rich, luxuriously colorful imagery capturing the essence of a band at the absolute peak of its powers, "From the Vault: The Marquee Club – Live In 1971" finds the Stones brimming with confidence and unafraid to mess around with songs considered sacred by many. They're almost cavalier in how they approach a rather ramshackle, easy-going version of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" that seems gleefully out of step with the urgency and the barely contained sexual frustration of the original. And after romping through "Midnight Rambler" with feverish energy, the Stones sounding as tight and industrious as ever, and Mick Jagger huffing and puffing away on harmonica, a wide, natural smile spreads across Keith Richards' face and it says, "That was pretty good, wasn't it?" Yes it was, Keith. Yes it was.

Strutting and preening, as is his wont, the playful Jagger is a magnet for smartly directed cameras and close-ups, as he savors every line dripping from a slowly cooked "I Got The Blues," throws himself into a raucous cover of Chuck Berry's "Let It Rock" and, as Ian Stewart's high-stepping piano gets to work, infuses machismo, arrogance and sass into the ripping opener "Live With Me." Charlie Watt's drumming is clever, propulsive and rigorous, while Bill Wyman calmly and unobtrusively steers the ship with gripping bass lines, Bobby Keys and Jim Price assertively blow their horns with soulful conviction on command and Richards and Mick Taylor negotiate whatever issues they had with an uneasy mixture of toughness and licks that can be nasty or tasteful.

Packaged as a CD/DVD combo, and also available as a DVD/LP or Blu-ray/CD offering, "From The Vault: The Marquee Club – Live In 1971" is a true treasure, since much of material has gone completely unseen. Filmed professionally with a thirst for action and seemingly covered in a lush, early '70s patina that's almost glossy, it has great historical value. This is where the forbidden fruits of "Brown Sugar," "Bitch" and a crisply played "Dead Flowers" were first tasted, and they must have left the ragged company that witnessed it flush with excitement. Eagle Rock Entertainment ups the ante on this concise, yet explosive set, with alternate takes of "I Got The Blues" and "Bitch," plus a bit of the Stones doing "Brown Sugar" on "Top Of The Pops" in 1971 adding value. All these years later, the Stones are still delivering the goods in concert, but they were hitting on all cylinders in 1971, and this is the kind of show that made them legends.
– Peter Lindblad

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