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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • Full Frame
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Linear PCM Stereo
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese
  Extras
  • 7 Additional footage - Bonus Songs
  • Audio commentary - Selected songs
  • 8 Featurette
  • Booklet
  • DVD-ROM features
  • Interviews
  • Documentaries
  • Multiple angle
  • DVD Text - Credits
  • Jukebox function - Customise Set lists

The Rolling Stones - Four Flicks

Warner Vision/Warner Vision . R4 . COLOR . 545 mins . E . PAL

  Feature
Contract

No other rock band on Earth can match The Rolling Stones for longevity, stamina, innovation and sheer ‘rock and rollness’. From humble beginnings in the early ’60s as a blues/rock and roll band playing obscure and not so obscure covers, they quickly progressed into a tight-knit five-piece band with a dedicated following. The songs they covered always sounded “Stones-like” but it soon became apparent that longevity and financial success was most assured if they could turn their own songs into hits. Jagger and Richards found that task not overly difficult and although some of their early songs were a bit dodgy, they soon began churning out hit after hit, and they have done so now for 40 years.

The Stones were portrayed as the bad boys of rock and roll, and The Beatles as the good guys. The reality now is that there was little between them in the good and bad stakes. The songs of the Stones were less poppy than The Beatles, which was what appealed to so many teenagers. Many adults were not keen on the Beatles’ influence on youth, but most were horrified by The Stones.

The Rolling Stones' line-up over 40 years has been relatively stable. Multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones drowned and was replaced by Mick Taylor, who was replaced a few years later by Ron Wood, but even that was 30 years ago. Bass player Bill Wyman left around 1990, but the core of the band, Jagger, Richards and drummer Watts, remains intact.

There have been lean periods, dodgy albums and some brilliant ones, extended breaks, domestics and a few solo projects, but The Stones are still Rolling. Their shows have always been an event, but concerts in recent years have been quite something. Four Flicks is the DVD record of their recent tour in which they played arenas, stadiums and theatres, each time presenting a different show befitting the venue. The set lists were deliberately chosen to match the venue, and the Forty Licks tour went on to be one of the most financially successful tours ever.

The band is in fine form in all three shows represented here, being Madison Square Garden, Twickenham Stadium and the Olympia Theatre in Paris. The stadium and arena shows feature large video screens, a big stage, walkways and a second stage in the middle of the crowd where the band play a slightly more intimate set, while the Olympia Theatre show features the band up close and personal, with Mick more interactive, and the set list more personal and bluesy. Special guests at the different venues include Sheryl Crow, AC/DC and Solomon Burke.

There are more than 50 songs played over more than five hours and while some of the bigger hits such as Honky Tonk Women, Satisfaction, Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Brown Sugar get a double or triple workout, many songs are included that most fans will not have heard live. Monkey Man, Rip This Joint, Happy, No Expectations, Neighbours and Dance all get a workout and sound great. There are also performances of well known songs such as Paint it Black, Wild Horses, Angie, Tumbling Dice, Beast of Burden, Street Fighting Man, Gimme Shelter, Midnight Rambler, Bitch and Let it Bleed. Most, if not all, songs are easily identifiable and have not been butchered or overly reworked.

Casual fans will probably more enjoy the large shows that feature the bigger hits, but more serious fans will no doubt appreciate the theatre show that looks and sounds a little more like the early days, with some good ol’ fashioned rock and roll and rock/blues played club style.

No band has the legacy of The Rolling Stones and few bands can match them for classic songs, hits and rock and roll attitude. This four-disc set finds them musically in form on their recent world tour, and should see fans finally getting some satisfaction.

  Video
Contract

Of the three shows, two are essentially full frame presentations and one is in an aspect close enough to 1.78:1, but all are very good looking. Sharpness and clarity is of a very high standard and the stage lighting is so good that everything is well lit and bright and shiny. You will see every wrinkle in Mick Jagger’s face and every little trinket dangling from Keith Richards’ hair. There are none of the normal blue and red light issues normally associated with live performance DVDs. Black levels are superb and shadow detail is simply not an issue.

Colours are strong, bold and accurate, even with the varied stage lighting. There are no issues with grain, bleeding, skin tones or noise. There are no marks, dirt, glitches or artefacts in any of the shows, and aliasing and shimmer is at a bare minimum.

The layer changes are well placed between songs.

  Audio
Contract

There is a choice between Dolby Digital stereo or Dolby Digital 5.1, the latter no doubt being the choice for many. It must be remembered that although the Stones are a rock and roll band, they are more traditional than most and therefore do not have a drummer with an enormous kit or a bass player that is going to thump the band out of the room. Subsequently, the low-level sounds are not overly aggressive, but are more than adequate and sound very 'Stones-like'.

The high level sounds such as acoustic guitars, percussion, honky tonk piano and female vocals are all loud, clear and discernable. Much of the music comes from the front sound stage, with the rears used for crowd noise and filling up the room. There are no real audio gymnastics, but you wouldn’t expect or want them.

There are no issues with synchronisation or volume, and there is no hiss or distortion. The only real audio issue is Keith Richards’ singing. Man that guy should stick to guitar. Every one of his badly delivered vocals is loud and clear – and awful!

  Extras
Contract

A four-disc set should be full of extras and this one certainly delivers.

The Arena Show Flick disc has some short band commentaries for Street Fighting Man, Happy and It's Only Rock and Roll. The band discuss all three songs individually for a total of about four minutes.

A great feature to be found on all discs is custom list that allows you to program any or all of the concert songs in any order of choice. This could be a very handy extra.

At just two and a half minutes, you'll hear the lads briefly discuss what it was like to have a guest at the Madison Square Garden in Sheryl Crow and The Stones. The band seem as impressed with her physical features as her musicianship...

Making the HBO Special is a five and a half minute backstage look at the filming of the Madison Square Garden gig for HBO.

All these extras are viewable with the main concert if you choose. Some songs include Select-a-Stone, which allows you to watch the Stone of your choice.

The Stadium Flick has a similar set of extras. The band commentaries again totaling just four minutes are for Gimme Shelter, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction and Sympathy For the Devil.

Again you can design a custom set list that will let you watch this show in any order you like.

AC/DC and The Stones is a brief look at these two legendary rock bands who played a series of shows across Europe together (and one in Toronto), occasionally teaming up on stage. It seems a good time was had by all.

Anime lovers will be pleased to see the Stones use of Jumbotron animation on the large screens. This four-minute look at the ideas and designs that became the on-screen final product will probably not appeal to all Stones fans, however.

And just as for the other discs you can choose to watch the extras as part of the feature. This disc also includes some backstage footage of guitar technicians doing their thing and band members preparing for the show.

The Theatre Flick disc filmed at the Olympia in Paris, has the Stones giving short band commentaries for Start Me Up, Honky Tonk Women, and Jumpin' Jack Flash.

Custom setlist is again featured on this disc.

Solomon 'the Rev" Burke sees the band waxing lyrical about their special guest who helped them perform his composition Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, an old Stones standard show opener in the very early days.

The Stones get back to basics for Playing the Olympia and spend a few minutes talking about the choice of songs, the different dynamics and unusual audience interplay as opposed to a much larger venue.

Do you have a Keith or a Mick fetish, or feel that Charlie doesn't get enough of the camera? Well in Select-a-Stone you can watch the Stone of your choice as they perform Angie.

And again, you can watch this show with the extras included or without.

Disc Four of this set is really extras-specific and includes The Documentary which does a fair job at summing up the band's 40 year history in 50 minutes. There is vintage footage included and while it can't tell you everything about the Stones, it is a fairly comprehensive though fleeting look at their history. It also takes a quite a look at the announcement of the Forty Licks Tour in New York and the preparation for the various show formats.

Other extras include Licks Around the World which, not surprisingly, examines the impact of The Stones in various places around the world. Small snippets from various performances are included and it is interesting to hear what The Stones themselves think of being so universally popular, even in places like India and Japan.

Toronto Rocks takes a five-minute look at The Stones as they prepare to play on a multi-band bill in Toronto with the idea of giving back some spark to a city that was badly affected by the SARS virus.

Fans will love bootlegs, which contains a further seven songs performed live or jammed in the studio. They are available in Dolby Digital 5.1 or stereo. The tracks are Beast of Burden, You Don't Have to Mean It, Rock Me Baby, Bitch, I Can't Turn You Loose, Extreme Western Grip and Well, Well.

There is also another opportunity here to Select-a-Stone as the Stones tear through Monkey Man.

Those with a DVD-ROM drive may want to check out the free 30-day trial of The Rolling Stones Fan Club. After that it will cost you though, which is a bit rude considering you have just forked out dough for this admittedly excellent four-disc Four Flicks collection.

Lastly, the set comes with a nice glossy booklet and rather swish packaging.

  Overall  
Contract

This is a DVD collection that few bands could get away with, though many would probably try. The beauty is in the diversity of the shows from a band that can pick and choose songs to suit the venue and the mood. They have recorded some unquestionable rock classics, numerous hot albums (and some duds) and are as interesting for their personal squabbles and rocky history as they are for their music.

There are few bands that will be able to boast a legacy such as this, and few could argue against the proclamation that they are the greatest rock and roll band in the world.


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      And I quote...
    "The Rolling Stones strut their stuff in three different venues proving they quite possibly are the greatest rock and roll band in the world. The numerous extras rounds out the set nicely, proving you can sometimes get what you want…"
    - Terry Kemp
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Akai
    • TV:
          TEAC CT-F803 80cm Super Flat Screen
    • Receiver:
          Pioneer VSX-D409
    • Speakers:
          Wellings
    • Centre Speaker:
          Wellings
    • Surrounds:
          Wellings
    • Subwoofer:
          Sherwood SP 210W
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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