Picks and Pans Review: Rolling Stones: the Steel Wheels Concert
updated 06/04/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 06/04/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT
After a brilliant beginning, the musical output of the Rolling Stones has been relatively mediocre for the last 18 years. But the group continues to muddle along, resting on its laurels. Then again, when you reach a certain age on the rock and roll circuit, you need all the rest you can get. This concert, filmed in Atlantic City last December, the night after vampire guitarist Keith Richards's 46th birthday, proves that axiom.
Mick Jagger starts off as of old, jolting around like an atomic rooster. But he runs out of juice by the fourth song. After that, other than a few wind sprints across the mammoth stage, mostly he stands still and waves his arms around like Stevie Nicks.
The music is tightly played, especially "Start Me Up," "Gimme Shelter." "Happy," "Satisfaction" and "Sympathy for the Devil." Yet the Stones lack the rumble and fire they once possessed as a touring band. (Pull out your copy of Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! for a quick now-and-then comparison.) Also the mix gets a little cluttered with all the backup singers, the full horn section and those uncredited keyboard players standing in the shadows.
The concert contains a psychedelic 3-D segment also (part of which is the most atrocious rendition of "Paint It Black" you'll ever hear) for which you have to obtain special glasses from designated retail outlets. Ah, little paper and plastic spectacles...the perfect accessory for a tacky evening.