The release of The Rolling Stones’ From The Vault: Hyde Park Live 1969 is very special to me. Not only have the Stones been my all time favorite band since I was 17 years old, but the first time I saw this concert/documentary I was in a hotel room in England—how perfect!
I was in London working on Pink Floyd’s behalf and was rather tired, so I ordered room service and turned on the telly. All of a sudden, there it was, and starting right at the beginning. I had heard about this concert for years but had no idea someone recorded it both audio and visually. Even cooler was the behind the scenes footage.
This film is fascinating for so many reasons. First off, the concert had been planned for some time to introduce Mick Taylor as the Stones‘ new guitarist. Secondly, the band had not performed in two years. And, third and most tragically, Brian Jones had been found dead in his swimming pool just two days before the concert.
I have seen some sideways fan reviews complaining about the fact that this is “just” a copy of the original British television show, and that in one song Keith’s guitar is out of tune, but I must tell you that these folks have somehow lost the plot—both of those facts add to the historical nature of what this is.
When you watch this film, you are magically transported back to a more innocent time of rock and music in general. You see the Stones as young men still making it up as they go along. You see Mick Jagger trying to prepare a poem to read about Brian before the concert starts and you get a real good look at what he thinks he should do vs. what he really may be feeling inside about it all. Then you see concert footage, which historically is great because it’s so raw—there is an air of excitement as the band returns to the stage after that long hiatus, yet at the same time a feeling of melancholy because of the loss of Brian. But then more feeling of exciting anticipation because it’s the first time Mick Taylor is playing with the band live. And you can FEEL all of this because the film is shot in true documentary form—no fancy stuff, just capturing all the magic moments. Mick Jagger hasn’t even transformed into what he will eventually become, and again, you see Mick Taylor’s debut. For me, watching them play “Love In Vain” is just the best.
Anyway, if you’re a fan of historical stuff, bootlegs, and the like—and you are a Stones fan like me, you will want to add this to your collection.
Some bands that have been around for a long time kind of “phone in” their nightly performances, but not Styx! You get the sense when you watch them, that they realize how lucky they are to still have raging fans to connect to, and that the connection with the fans is so very important to them. So, when you see Styx live, even though there is big production value to the show with huge video screens and massive lights, etc., you feel that very real connection. The band doesn’t play at you so much as “with” you. As the band plays through one massive hit after another you can feel a lot of love in the room (or in our case, at the Jones Beach Theater in NY).
The work ethic is to be admired and every band member really brings it. One nice bonus feature to this DVD and CD is the Don Felder guest performance. Tommy Shaw and Don have been buddies for a long time (Tommy helped write one of Don’s new songs and sang background vocals on his most recent album) and the two guitarists flow together really well. The performance of “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)” is a pleasant break from the norm hearing Felder’s added vocals and, of course, his fab guitar solo.
I don’t know what else to say, except that I still get chills hearing those songs live, and how good Styx sound to this day.
Keep rockin’ out there!
© Paul Rappaport 2015