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  Directed by
  • Full Frame
  • English: Dolby Digital Mono
  • None
  • Animated menus
The Rolling Stones - The Stones in the Park
Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 53 mins . G . PAL


July 7, 1969 saw what has been estimated as anything from 250,000 to half a million people – and possibly as many butterflies – descend upon London’s Hyde Park for a special free concert. Amongst others such as King Crimson and Family, the Rolling Stones were playing, in what ended up a tribute to their recently booted guitarist Brian Jones, who had passed away in dubious circumstances only two days previously.

The hippies came, the rockers came, the mods came, the mildly curious came – and so did the Hell’s Angels, who were on security duty for the day. Unlike other gigs involving the Stones that could be named, this massive coming together all went off without a hitch, and the hordes of park invaders were treated to the debut of guitarist Mick Taylor, along with the Stones in their prime – even if they weren’t (understandably) in peak form on this particular day.

Originally made for television, the “antidote to violent vibrations” that is Stones in the Park combines eight of the tracks performed on the day – almost all out of their original running order - with interview snippets with Mick Jagger and a few behind the scenes clips, sometimes annoyingly interrupting the music. Really highlighting their bluesy influences, a small collection of big hits and lesser known tracks are brought out, including a ramshackle - but nonetheless stupefyingly brilliant - take on Sympathy for the Devil, complete with percussion and theatrics from Ginger Johnson's African Drummers, that seems to go on endlessly – not that anybody’s complaining. In fact, if you happen to be in London and are in the vicinity of Hyde Park, it’s been said if you listen really hard you can still hear the “OO! OO!”s reverberating through the treetops...

Track listing:

Midnight Rambler
I’m Free
I’m Yours, She’s Mine
Jumping Jack Flash
Honky Tonk Woman
Love in Vain
Sympathy for the Devil


Probably not surprisingly, this full frame presentation all looks like it was filmed in a blanket of dope smoke. Alright, it was – so when that’s added to the age of this unrestored film you can pretty much imagine the result. There’s grain aplenty, film damage aplenty from specks to major scratches and it’s all decidedly washed out. Detail is never particularly present, and some of the trippy, cheap effects camerawork is truly nausea inducing. Still, at least with such a brief running time there’s no disruptive layer change – always accentuate the positive!

With a pretty darned kick arse concert, this release cried out for a fabulous sound mix – and sadly the poor dear is still sobbing its little heart out. The original mono mix as featured here is more squished than an elephant’s mattress, is quite muffled at times and features the odd crackle and pop as well. Synch is pretty much fine, but although the sound mix we’re given is theoretically what was the best available at the time, it really fails to do justice to the Stones live in light of the technology we have at our disposal nowadays.

Extras? You want extras? Well, if you can get some satisfaction from nicely animated hippy-trippy kaleidoscopic menus and track selection then you’ll be getting down in jubilation. Otherwise, get used to disappointment.

At only 53 minutes in length and with utterly crap audio and video plus no extras to speak of, Stones in the Park may deliver us a fabulous little chunk of rock history, but it doesn’t present much in the way of value for money. Diehard Stones fans will, of course, love it though.


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  •   And I quote...
    "At only 53 minutes in length and with utterly crap audio and video plus no extras to speak of, most won’t get no satisfaction from Stones in the Park..."
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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