Rolling Stones From the Vault: Sticky Fingers Live at the Fonda Theatre 2015
Sticky Fingers is widely regarded as one of the band's absolute best, coming three-quarters of the way through their absolute artistic and creative power. There are four albums that prove the Rolling Stones to be the greatest rock and roll band ever: Beggar's Banquet, Let it Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile on Main Street. Arguably, Sticky Fingers represents the band right before the burden of reinvention, drug abuse, and mega-success took too great a toll and found them adrift for the latter part of the seventies.
This show, which kicked off the U.S. leg of their 2015 Zip Code tour, took place at The Fonda Theater, a legendary venue located on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. It was the first time that the band had ever played a complete album (albeit out of sequential album order).
Time and time again, The Stones have proven to themselves and to everyone that age has nothing to do with rebellion, doing things your own way, and living outside of what's expected. As the reigning oldest living rock and roll band in history (think about it: everyone else either broke up long ago or faded away), they continue to set the standard for how rock and roll bands SHOULD act in their twilight. Like Bob Dylan, these guys just might die on stage. Probably won't be any time soon, though, because the music keeps them young.
There's been some...let's say distaste among some fans because Mick Taylor, the guitarist who played on the original album and was a member of the band for five years (from 1969-1974), is not present at this concert. Instead, Ronnie Wood steps in and handles those guitar parts, as he has done for decades now. I get that this is kind of a big deal because Taylor is still alive and it was, after all, he who played on those songs. But then again, he hadn't been an active member of the band in 41 years when this show took place. Ronnie Wood had been playing those parts forever, and I have to imagine that comfort and trust play a huge part in something like this. The fact is, Wood is the chosen guy, a fact that doesn't seem to be lost on him. He and Keith have been intermingling their guitar lines for four decades, doing what Keith calls "the ancient art of weaving." I suppose it would have been nice to have Mick Taylor play at this show, but I completely understand why he didn't. Of course, this is all speculation on my part. Maybe they asked him and he simply said no. I'd be surprised, though.
Concert films can be difficult to present in video form. It doesn't seem like it should be that hard, but there are a ton of unsatisfying ones out there that spend way to much time on the audience (a crime this one is guilty of from time to time) or they hyper-cut the images so quickly that you feel like you're about to have a seizure. Thankfully, this package avoids the quick editing pitfall and doesn't call too much attention to itself. We should be watching the show, not the editing. Something else the film does is place interviews with the band members in between some of the songs themselves. I normally can't stand this, but seeing as how all the interview footage is pertinent to the songs they precede, I can let it slide. For instance, before we see/hear "Brown Sugar," we get footage from the band members talking about that song and why it feels special.
You can pick up Sticky Fingers Live at The Fonda Theatre here.