1

Bridges To Bremen

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
The Rolling Stones
Bridges To Bremen
Eagle Rock
2010

Stunned by the brilliant pacing of the two and half hours plus that comprises The Rolling Stones' Bridges To Bremen, it's easy to see why Paul Sexton turns borderline breathless during the course of his essay in the booklet enclosed in the two-CD/DVD package. To the author's credit though, his comprehensive exposition of details about the iconic group's performance, near the end of a massive tour over twenty-years ago achieves the desired end of such writing, that is, to generate excitement in the reader in anticipation of viewing and/or listening.

At this point in their touring history, near the completion of this particular global jaunt begun in 1997, the Rolling Stones had certainly hit their stride with extravagant stage productions. But in addition to this concept as plotted in part by vocalist/composer Mick Jagger and drummer Charlie Watts along with designer Marc Fisher (some commentary from whom, even if brief, is the only ostensible omission of this release), the group also deigned to stretch themselves into equally novel territory by offering cyber-based votes for so-called 'deep cuts' in their discography at each stop of the year-plus tour.

The poll-winning tune here is a neo-soul semi-ballad "Memory Motel," from Black and Blue (Rolling Stones Records, 1976). Yet this was not the only vintage tune the Stones delivered to the forty-thousand fans in Weserstadium and those watching remotely via the real-time simulcast across Europe (all of whom the frontman is as careful to recognize as the hometown fans he addressed in carefully-rehearsed German). The anthemic "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" actually opens the show, while another cull from the same mid-Sixties era follows immediately in the form of "Let's Spend The Night Together." Then "Paint It Black" precedes "Saint Of Me," one of the few new selections (at the time) from the Bridges To Babylon (Virgin, 1997) album the Stones were supporting and one which engenders a virtually spontaneous extended singalong by an clearly engaged audience.

Imposing in its replication of the cover imagery, the elaborate stage is further enhanced, in more immediate terms, with an actual bridge that unfolds into the stadium floor seating/standing area near-mid set: there at the end was positioned a much smaller stage from which the core four of the band—plus keyboardist Chuck Leavell and bassist Darryl Jones (formerly of The Allman Brothers Band and Miles Davis, respectively)—could perform with more ostensible intimacy than offered under the giant projection screen. Here as elsewhere, directors Jim Gable and Dick Carruthers' quick transitions are right in time with the actual performance, as evidence by the lightning cuts to Guitarist/vocalist Keith Richards for his Chuck Berry fills on "Flip the Switch"

The mini-set makes its all the more obvious how the stage spectacle would be meaningless without the mechanics of the band at its heart. Richards playing off ageless drummer Charlie Watts reminds the two form the fulcrum upon which the band balances. Guitarist Ronnie Wood is often ultra-serious as he solos, which makes his gleeful romping around the stage at other times all the more of a contrast. Meanwhile, the indefatigable Jagger seems to gain a second wind as "Sympathy For The Devil" begins, just before the string of anthems including (from the same era thirty years past at this point) "Honky Tonk Women" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash:" the prolonged percussion intro of this touchpoint from Beggars Banquet (London, 1968) functions as a segue from the 'B Stage" interval and follows the frontman's ever-so-fitting warbles on the harmonica during Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone," which first appeared as an entry in the comparably iconic group's repertoire on Stripped (Virgin, 1995).

Photos inside the aforementioned booklet and digi-pak itself only scratch the surface of such kinetic action. Nevertheless, the multi configuration package is more than just a concession to the targeted demographics' preference for physical product: the mobility of compact disc offers the practical aspect of savoring this musicianship sans visuals, and thereby bearing witness to fervent playing full of a unique flair that comes only with deep familiarity with songs like "Brown Sugar." Equally valid is the inclusion of four excerpts from the Chicago show that took place almost a year prior to the one comprising the main content: these performances are neither anti-climactic nor merely value-added content to fill out the DVD.

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Film Reviews
Book Reviews
Film Reviews
Album Reviews
Film Reviews
Album Reviews
Book Reviews
Film Reviews
Book Reviews
Film Reviews
Book Reviews
Album Reviews
Film Reviews
Album Reviews
Extended Analysis
Multiple Reviews
Book Reviews
Read more articles
From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD Blu Ray)

From The Vault: No...

Eagle Vision
2018

buy
On Air

On Air

Polydor Records
2017

buy
Blue And Lonesome

Blue And Lonesome

Polydor Records
2016

buy
Sticky Fingers Super Deluxe Box Set

Sticky Fingers Super...

Universal International
2015

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Aug31Sat
The Rolling Stones
Hard Rock Stadium
Miami Gardens, FL

Related Articles

Read Betty–They Say I’m Different Film Reviews
Betty–They Say I’m Different
By Walter Atkins
July 17, 2019
Film Reviews
Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don’t Know Me
By Jakob Baekgaard
July 14, 2019
Film Reviews
Bridges To Bremen
By Doug Collette
June 22, 2019
Film Reviews
The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus - Deluxe Edition
By Doug Collette
June 9, 2019
Read Ella Fitzgerald: Just One Of Those Things Film Reviews
Ella Fitzgerald: Just One Of Those Things
By Ian Patterson
June 5, 2019
Read Buddy Bolden: Out of History's Shadows Film Reviews
Buddy Bolden: Out of History's Shadows
By Victor L. Schermer
May 3, 2019
Read Green Book: A Serious Comedy and Jazz Allegory Film Reviews
Green Book: A Serious Comedy and Jazz Allegory
By Victor L. Schermer
December 28, 2018