Picks and Pans Review: Flash Point
Let's hold off on deciding where these live performances culled from the 1989-90 Steel Wheels tour rank in the Glimmer Twins oeuvre. The bottom-line question is, Should you fork over $15 if you already have Let It Bleed, Get Your Ya-Ya's Out!, Sticky Fingers and Some Girls?
If you possess the aforementioned discs, keep your cash and remember the boys in their prime. Newer fans might pick up a copy of Flashpoint, if only as a souvenir of the concert.
The album's studio tracks—the rowdy single "Highwire" and the funky but lame "Sex Drive"—come off almost as teasers. Will Mick and Keith ever make another record? At least "Highwire," a rage against superpower arms peddling, is one of the few skeptical pop-rock star responses to the gulf war; Jagger deserves praise for taking an unpopular stand.
Of the live cuts, "You Can't Always Get What You Want" can still send a tingle up the spine when Keith strums those simple chords. "Brown Sugar," racist overtones aside, remains a paradigm of rock genius. Less exciting is the Stones' take on Willie Dixon's "Little Red Rooster," with Eric Clapton joining in ineffectually.
So how does the record stack up, historical context—wise? As far as live recordings go, it's better than the Stones' atrocious 1977 Love You Live collection. But it falls short of 1970's Get Your Ya-Ya's Out!, one of the most fervent tributes to rock's roots. (Rolling Stones/Columbia)