DVD: Let’s Spend the Night Together
The recently re-released Hal Ashby (Harold and Maude) directed 1981 concert DVD, Let’s Spend the Night Together, features a raw, high-energy version of the Rolling Stones playing to some of their largest crowds ever. With concert footage from shows at both Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey and Arizona State University, the band quickly cranks through 24 songs, including most of their big hits like “Satisfaction,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” Under My Thumb,” and “Start Me Up” to name only a few, as well as a couple of covers, like The Temptations’ “Just My Imagination” and “Going to a Go-Go” by The Miracles.
Though Mick Jagger’s level of enthusiasm, which reaches new heights, does create a great sense of fun and excitement, it becomes almost too manic at times. The band rushes through their songs far too quickly, never really giving listeners a chance to take a breath. Also, songs like “Tumbling Dice” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” are a bit depressing, actually, as they are played so quickly, they sound absolutely nothing like their original, fantastic studio recordings.
But then again, the Stones’ concerts should probably be seen as more of a package deal with all of the theatrics, on-stage camaraderie, balloons released into the sky at various intervals, fireworks and let’s not forget Jagger’s costumes (skin-tight white football pants, various neon shirts and large-brimmed hats; the guy is not exactly a wallflower.) Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Jagger is one hell of a frontman, if not incredibly eccentric. Racing around the stage, he’s able to work every far-flung corner of both stadiums, getting everyone in the audience on their feet, dancing. Lazy, this man is not.
Keith Richards plays some pretty great guitar throughout too, especially his solo in the bluesy “Black Limousine.” With a cigarette perpetually dangling from his mouth, clad in pirate-like garb (the guy clearly did inspire Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow), and rock and roll swagger, Richards does his best to work the massive crowd a bit alongside Jagger.
“Time Is on My Side,” which features a slide show of pictures of all the past and present band members growing up, is one of the best sounding songs on the DVD. Along with “Let It Bleed,” both of these songs featuring Jagger on electric guitar, which ties him down a bit, making his lyrics less manic and more enjoyable. Though not necessarily featuring grade-A vocals, “Honky Tonk Woman” and “She’s So Cold” are very fun, upbeat highlights on the DVD as well.
Despite the outdated (or just universally bizarre) outfits, this is still an interesting slice of Stones history, which is showcased well on this fun, high-energy DVD that is certainly a worthwhile watch for any Stones fan.