The ROLLING STONES – ” Live at Hyde Park ” Live 1969 From The Vault

Posted: September 11, 2015 in MUSIC
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The 1969 gig at London’s Hyde Park will be next in The Rolling Stones ‘From the Vault’ series, From The Vault is a series of live concerts from The Rolling Stones archive which are getting their first official release. `Hyde Park 1969` is the latest addition to the series. It was one of the most highly anticipated gigs of 1969 and it delivered on all the promise and then some. On July 5, 1969, the Rolling Stones hosted their iconic free concert in London`s Hyde Park. Having taken two years off from the road, the show was conceived as the beginning of the band`s big return to the live stage. It was also planned as an introduction of their hot new guitar player, Mick Taylor. The former disciple of British blues legend John Mayall had been inducted into the Stones just a month prior. Over 400,000 delirious fans of all ages gathered into the park for the concert. The Stones` concert in London`s Hyde Park would pay homage to the late Brian Jones and usher in the new and extraordinary era of Mick Taylor (1969-74) as a Rolling Stones member.

In London in the summer of 1969, the Rolling Stones for free in Hyde Park on July 5th was one of those “you had to be there” events. Since the 2015 release in the band’s “From The Vaults” series isn’t as much a concert like the previous ones but more a documentary, you do get a feel for what it would have been like from a wealth of crowd and context shots of some of the nearly half a million fans who were there. That alone makes this DVD a trip back in time worth taking.

It was, after all, one of those historical moments with a capital ‘H.’ The band hadn’t played a full concert since April 1967. 20-year-old Mick Taylor was debuting as their new lead guitarist with very little rehearsal. Sacked founder Brian Jones had died two days earlier. And this was the first show in their rise to becoming, at least on their best nights, the World’s Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band.

You only get seven of the 14 songs the Stones played that afternoon – not in running order, stage footage intercut with shots of the crowd and audience members, and it’s a mixed bag indeed. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” is an almost painful mess to anyone with even a bit of relative pitch as Taylor’s guitar is way out of tune and the performance is a bed of clams. On the other hand, a slightly slowed, bare bones “I’m Free” is kinda cool.

“Honky Tonk Women” is nicely crunchy and slushy, with a snappy Keith Richards lead, and you can hear the potent Richards/Taylor two-guitar interlock (IMO the band’s best-ever six-string partnership) starting to emerge; Taylor’s slide guitar stings on “Love In Vain;” and the finale of “Sympathy For the Devil,” on which the Stones are joined onstage by a troupe of African drummers, brims with the promise of the live tour de force it would soon become.

But this isn’t one to watch for the music. With the famed release of the white butterflies for Brian and some behind the scenes footage to augment scenes of the audience’s day, it’s more of a “you are almost there” document. Just try not to groan during the interview segments with Jagger in which he comes off like – as the Brits say – a bit of a prat. Guess he hadn’t yet honed what became his famed PR savvy. Or maybe Mick was just stoned.

His worst statement: “A concert’s not just to hear the band as it really is. That’s for the studio to do.” Not with the Stones. The band’s essence becomes wondrously evident at their in-concert best. And I keep hoping that From The Vaults will yield a performance that stands head and shoulders with Ya-Ya’s to shout from the rooftops that this, good people, is rock ‘n’ roll at its very finest.

Mick Taylor quit the band in December 1974.

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