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"Ladies & Gents," The Rolling Stones

"Ladies & Gents," The Rolling Stones image "Ladies & Gents," The Rolling Stones image
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L adíes and gentlemen, the rolling STONES is the outpouring of a Marshall McLuhan plan for rock n' roll lovers. Here they are-the undisputed KINGS of rock- released to you in quadrophonic sound. It's the meeting of two usually widely separated areas of twentieth century technology-the science and art of movies and live concert sound. The visuals were shot over a weekend of the Ft. Worth and Houston concert of the Rolling Stone's 1972 concert tour. Six cameramen were placed around and on the concert stage to record the event. And for local thrills, two of these cameramen- George Manupelli and Jay are former mer Ann Arbor residents. George is the director of the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and Jay the Festival manager. It is appropriate that a major share of the shots come from two men who have worked and aided independent film for a number of years. (The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the world's largest, and oldest, festival of sixteen millimeter film.) LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE ROLLING STONES is an independent venture- the production of a wide number of people who are not in the mainstream of commercial movies. The production compahy, Dragon Aire, Ltd., has aimed for a goal and experience which normal commercial films not only do not provide, but refuse to gamble on. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN takes you very far away from the usual movie experience of setting your popcorn and settling into that seat for a couole of hours. Gone is the traditional sense of quiet, passive and individual viewing, in which your tion and vicanous identification with the protagonists is the major stimulant. The Stones' film makes the big demand of a live concert-you cannot help but get excite'd, shake your feet, dance, and feel that you are in fact, THERE. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN's producers claim that they have created an entirely new media. They give you the comfort of your local theatre, but with the sound of live rock . n roll. You don t have to pay an outrageous ticket price, submitting yourself to the whims of the scalpers. You don't have to wait in line for three days, and once there, you can avoid the experience of jostling elbows and all other limbs with fïfty thousand other people. There are V no cops, no parking problems. In sum, there are none of the obscene aspects of live concerts that have caused so many people to stay away from live music. The Gods of lucre have made live rock n' roll a business far too big for human comfort, l he large concert hall era sadly hit when the music- as musicis especially good. The Rolling Stones vou see in this film are better than ever. They have lost their rough macho edge, and they perform with a sensitivity and enjoyment " that is really catchy. They no longer come across as a heavy male act. That is, they are not confïned by the limited 1 macho roles which turned many women away from their act for a number of years. They have cast off the aura of decadence that hangs over their image. J Their excitement is visible, and highly contagious.i These Stones are an entirely different group from the old time heavies, the rock stars who really didn't care what effect their music had, and seemed only to be doing it out of some sadistic and ego-oriented lust for leadership and influence over the screaming sands. Those are the Stones of the Altamont concert-that infamous carnage in 1969 California, with a half a million people together for an entirely ill-fated if free event. The Stones you see and hear in LADIES AND GENTLEMEN have grown into a new stage, viously more mellow, and extremely attentive to their roles as performers. Jagger does not try to cajole you, or lead you into anything at all- he only exudes himself. That's plenty- that's a performance of intensity, constant movement and participation with the music. nis body is the starnng instrument, tuned and moving so perfectly to the mood of each song. And thankfully, he has grown through and beyond his limited former role as the King of Sex. Both Jagger and the band have learned to say things of subtlety, to be sincere actually. Of course our Mick can still talk about sex like no one else. His words and ments, along with the whole band's tation of "Midnight Rambler" is like a musical improvisation of the Master's aid Johnson scheme of sexual course- excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution. Think of it that way when you watch it, and you can finally see that that pattern of sexual communication is in fact, one of the really exulting patterns of life. Whatever you are working on, thinking about, whoever you are talking to- the Stones teil us that doing whatever it is in the pattern of sexuality makes ït an even greater expenence. The quadrophonic sound system is personally delivered and catered to specifïc audiences. Tlie troubles of setting up and running the system make the film a special event, a production quite different from the usual the-projector style of fílm presentation. The ■ AAAAA&A &AA&AAAAAAAA t a. ■ AA A Fifth Forum ■ Theatre is the thirtieth auditorium in rhe country to be . specifically outfitted in this manner. Speak% er systems are moved in by a local crew, f and set to fit the situation of the particui lar theatre. The theatre is transformed into a concert hall situation througlf the stallation of four speaker tiers, aimed towards creating the effect of live sound. The rear speaker tiers carry die crowd noise and ambience of fifty thousand people, as recorded in Texas two years ago. The front speakers carry the music and voice tracks. These two basic types of concert sound are mixed nightly at the vie theatre by sound engineer John Nabb, a young man of Qbvious electronic genius who comes with the show each engagement. Someone described Nabb as the sort of guy who, when asked if he could build a digital computer, would probably say, "I'm not sure if I can get all the parts in the next few days." Nabb, and eastern US road manager George Langworth, travel to each film appearance and adjust the film to its particular audience. Nabb exercises the sound controls from a console situated in the midst of the Fifth Forum audience. His controls are the same as used in a concert situation, rather than the set pattern normally recorded and permanently imprinted on the optical sound track of the usual commercial film. Nabb explained, "I try to mix the sound for the specific crowd in the theatre. If the back channels-the crowd noise-is too loud, or present, they'll know it s canned. So I set that, and the music volume and tone as well, to not onlv the size of the crowd. but their mood as well. Late evening audiences naturally run to a more raucous party mood, so I turn it up for them. But your seven o'clockers usualïy run in a ik. quiet mood, so we keep it down. And on Friday and Saturday night, they really like to kick it out." Y ou cannot avoid feeling the presence of these enormous speaKei luwcis, piatcu at the sides of the stage and the rear of the auditorium. Nabb mixes in a skillful manner, so that f happily one doesn't have to confront four separate sound sources. Nearly every seat in the theatre enjoys that special sense of the sound being erywhere present. Speaker horns are adjusted to throw the four sound ces in an interwoven pattern all through the auditorium. Yes folks, it is almost like BEING It is, almost. some major handithis ultímate niixing media experience. The ) track originally recorded Texas is not up to the dards which the film quad tem demands. The trumpet sax are mixed almost entirely V out, except for solos. Nicky Hopcins' fine and bouncey piano ing is not as present as ït should be. That leaves us with the hard core of the Rolling Stones, and who could tually complain about that? They surely deserve that often tossed out title of the World's Best Rock and Roll Band, but horns and piano could well provide the soft edges whiclv the rugged sound of the Stones needs. The original sound track is also marred by a lack of overall clarity. It is too difficult IO piCK up Jagger's lf words, a problem that has often been been present in their live concerts. When you watch the film, shot up with V this sound track, you V get wired. But the ■ down is the 1 sional quality of the film. Movies are movies, can't ïelp that. Confronted THERE. But the re are caps in ot the sound in stansys- and MOVIE CREDITS Exec. Producer -Marshall Chess Director-Roland Binzer Director of Visual Prod-Steve Gebhardt Director of Sound Prod-Bob Freeze Editors-Laura Lesser Barbara Palmer G. Manupelli S. Gebhardt Jay Cassidy Bob Freeze Doug Ibold Joe Pipher Original recording-Glyn Johns A MusifilmChesscoBinzoButterfly Production with the immediacy of the sound, and the more distant fílm, one cannot but feel jarred and misplaced. The film questions our very set internal natterns of media receDtion. There is no way that you can convince yourself 100% that you are at a live Stone's concert. The majority of the camera angles come f rom a position and a distance which is unique to a specially positioned camera, a position not possessed by ANY audience member, even one in the first row. Terrific as it is to see the Stones so closely, it is not a live experience, but a filmed one. Alarge and enthusiastic audience corrects this sense of disunity to some degree. But the camera's closeness is, of course, a mixed blessing. It also allows you to see the Stones in a new manner. You can see how hard they all work, and the gloss of glamour slides away. Those gods come down to earth. The editing and camerawork are all of an unassuming style, and you don't feel theix presence as an invader, as a personna that reinterprets, and perhaps misinterprets, the Stones' performance. The unassuming nature of the production, along with the ever present quadrophonic sound, make this an unusual and unique documentary. Perhaps not a live Stones' concert, but certainly a closer and less biased view, and a far more exalting one than the previous rock documentaries. The film project was originally conceived under an entirely different plan. Two New York veterans of the independent cinema-Robert Frank and Danny Seymour -filmed the Stones all along the tour. They shot the parties, the backstage antics, the groupies-all those that make rock n' roll somewhat perverse, by revealingits private side. The footage you see in LADIES AND GENTLEMEN was conceived of as a six sone sunniement to this film. Seymour and Frank are famous film makers, among independents. They are known for a sharp eye that sees all, maybe too much. Their film of the Stones' 1972 is now un-released. There are reportedly only two prints, one owned by Jagger and the other 3y Frank. It is likely that these fílm makers shot something of the Stones that would veal a great deal about the evu side of big time rock and roll. The men and women who hang round backstage, the grouDies who hitch-hiked all the way around the country to see and sleep with Mick, and the people who are hanging out with the coolest of the cool. ï fontinued ' kon page 18 i The Rolling , Stones, "It's Only Rock 'N Roll, "COC 79101 Here we are, We who were teens f when the Stones were new and lowf down dirty, the group you never let your mother see. '65 was an easy year to be illicit. It was the year I fust stuck a 1 i 1 1 le magnet in my ear and sang along with a f cracking voice to "As Tears Go By," tried to get ' all the words to "Satisfaction," and did a little pubescent boogie down the snow covered sidewalks. I had short hair, but in my head ït was long. Rock & Roll was a new religión; there is no rock but roll, & ger is its prophet. I was a make-believe hot rod, go cart kidd; secret daydreams and mysterious songs. Now Pm a semi-mature 22, and the Mones have been an r tegral part of my Ufe tor nigh onto ten years, which is longer than I've known my.wife or any of my friends. The Rolling Stones, the r World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band: Tune is on then sale on my cloud with ruby tuesclay, mother's little helper Jack Flash couldn't drag me away. rhev've sold out on me. the fuckers S8k_ r I can take the new album two ways: either in perspective, compared lo all the other Stones albums, or as if it were the first album by a new group. (f 1 take it the second way, it's only rock", no roil, but a decent etïort with a couplc of neat songs. including what has become a'new genre: au invasión of privacy number, called erprint File." Rut I can't shuck vou.because this ain't no new group. This is the 21st album by the Stones, and in perspecdve it is painfully weak. After I listened to ihis. 1 put on an English Import callee! Rock W Rolling Stones: it had a couple of eood Chuck Bern mimbers on it, a couple of' tlip sides and two cuts trom Get Yer Ya 's Out.' Hot danin, I said to myselt. ihat s one !■ roll band. And friends. they were: they were solid punch, dance & to make love music. The sad tliing is (hat Ihey aren't anymi l Of couvse, !"m not saying that the Stones siiould h;i mindless, boogie-yoiu-brains-out track. The mia ime tbr arniDlacencv. and the Stones knew tt as well as. i notrotter than. any other Rock group. t started witf) Beg%ar$ Banquffi songs like "Sal t of the Earth." and "Svmpalhy for lite DeviP'j the song that became an anthem tor an en tire ". " jBntroe-t frigming Man." As far as Vía concecned,tbe peak boih mcally and ƒ ty of the Sames' caree r was altBked. 'Gimrt$;5he!tcj' was the F paranoia song of the 70's (jast as "For What It'sjgJ ' 60's). Botli albums were infused with energj' ajVision. and Üey are still classics toduy. UnfoFtunately, at'ier that zíííph. they began to slide. Siivky Fingen had a lot of tired mus -m Main Street had even more (being two récords). With utmt s ligaa 'Soup, as one cntic has put it, they may have srgned tlie death ctítíficate of that foi :■ giant of tlie airwaves: white rock & roll. ït'MÏrily Rock 'N Roll (whieh is. in passing, anythinu but Rock 'N RoU) ojptinues that dead end trail. "W'liat do you expect? What do you wanfiflisks Jagger. "U's Rock 'N Rol]." Back in the mindless pit. jjBÍck to the monotonous ritfs and scxism. Back in the naive 60"s, it's najlsurprising th-at Jagger could sine "Under My Thumb" and "Stupid Jm!' and get away with it; he (;ind most of us. of all sexes) didn't knopjoetter. Now we do, but Jaggec sUll sings songs like "Star Star" 0$$1 "Short and Cuvlies" (Too bad! She's eot you by the balls.). I.aisSy it's come ro lisht in the popular press that Jagger's tnfidetitiere driving Blanca to try to outdo him. The result is a smug nuner like "If You Reaüy Want To Be My Friend" wlrich places theiiitire blame on her. We don't need this today; we sliould nol ta%it. lt"s all a matter of integrity - l$fock lntegrity. People like Bob Seger and Stevie Wondr hasje it, an ability to produce music that rings true and persorál, sails on no trends like Reg gae or Moog, and reflects a péteonal life style worth emula. tina. The Stones, best repvesented bv Junipin' Jack er, liave their Lamborghinis and hundrëd dollar whores and Riviera "cottages;" when (hey were startine out they had i little more than music. But the industry has inflated their egos - they began to V lieve their press agents. We're partly to blame, in our hero-worshipping frenzy. Our new Rock Pantheon contains tin gods like Alice Cooper & his Grand-Gugnol brand of guillotine rock, Elton John W and his quaaludes and sheep, and lots of fattened calves like the Stones. It's very chic, true, but hollow as a aourd: they are destructive on the whole. After all, when you've A spent a lot of emotional energy trying to prove that rock music is a valid adjunct to your personal life style, and deserving of W speet, some asshole comes along with pink liair, a customized X cedes and a $5,000 sealskin jacket singing the blues. It's pure jive, and we don t need ït. Rock is supposed to be alive and flexible. Then why haven't we added a new star in years? The once clear stream has become a stagnant pond, clogged with faded supeStars like León Russeil and Steve Stills and Grace Slick. Ónce a creative source dies, it ceases to be useful and should have the sensetoget out. We retire baseball players when they can't hit, why not recycle wornoüt rock stars every five years or so.' "(..-l out t the new road ít you can ( Icncl a hand, It may be vicious, hut it might save tlie field. Meanwhile, we, the old guard, hold our colleeive breath whenever a aew rumor that the Beatles are reforming hits the street. We are beeohiing rock & roll reactionarks, and tnany younger people don't know any better. No wonder Rock has reached a stand;tfll; the industry knows we'll buy. Why encourage excellence when the same old thing will do fust fine? ■i owes us more than tliis. He's taken millions and given us shit. Jimi and Janis may iucky ones - their memories are hallowed because they never had a chance to . stale. Maybe, in time, we would have discovered that they, too, had feet of clay. jf ñire is pointless. Dylan didn't die in that motorcycle crash, bul perliaps his r ( would have remained undinimed if he had. The point is that too much is f c too niuch. Whatever happened 10 the conimunity spirit that ímbued Rock in the 60's? Quicksilver, [he Dead and Jefferson Aiiplane were as niucli a part of and 1 sult of Haiglu-Ashbury as marijuana and Kesey. Liverpool '63, New York inues that dead end trait. and we think it's steak. ;ks Jagger. 'it'sonly Where can we gu now that the old Rock is ff : to the monotonous riffs sic is coming on strong, and the old bairicrs hav [ could iust spend my days with Ajtermuth and sergeant repper but nostalgia is the cheapest of escape routes. We need new directions with the oíd energy, aew faces with some of the oíd ideal. Dylan, Lennon. McCartney and Jagger were all poor boys who stumbled orno easy i nul decided to stav. Once thev were vital and revolutionarv. now i they clip coupons, l could live for five years on what McCartney makes from one single; the millions üylan glommed out of his tour could set up twenty free clinis. The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in diiï Rockstars, but 'm the system Ihat hallows mediocrity and i Mitutes Product tbr that elusive realthing. .They seïve us shit, and we think it's steak. Where C3n we go now that the old Rock is gone? Black music is coming on strong, and the otd barricrs have fallen. . Friends teil me should get into jazz. 1 just look at old è cord covers sometimes and wait for the new rock messiah M andor the next Stevie Wonder album. And I wonder A whatever happened to the Stones. f I've gone on too long for a record review and not f long enough tu come up with any real answers. f It's time we stopped supporting a capitalistic empire that is not serving any needs, not ing in proportion to what it receives. Jr sist on quality, friends, and don'i settlc tor iess. Don't buy the new Rolling Stones L ADÍES AND GENTLEMEN takes you very f ar away from the usual movie experience of getting your popcorn and settling into that seat for a few hours. Gone is the traditional sense of quiet, passive, and individual viewing. . . continued from page 1 1 Rollino Stoncs Movic That tells a side of the big time quite different from LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, and perhaps it is time to stop pursuing the voyueristic image of pop stars. We all have some of that curiosity to learn the real inside secrets-what and how many drugs they take- who they sleep with. Every Stones' tour is accompanied by writers who try to capture that provacative image for a very curious public. But actually, what does that matter? Isn't it better to see what those Rolling Stones actually do? Their performance, which is unquestionably one of the most theatrical and dynamic stage music routines around, is their occupation and product. The film makers of LADIES AND GENTLEMEN clearly made that decisión along the way. They do not show the back backstage and party games, they don't even show the audience, because they perceived that the PERFORMANCE is so fantastic and liberating that the negative aspects of the music business- despite any potential audience voyeurism- should be done away with. Yes sirree, it's a lot better to just get off on Mick Jagger on your own- as a spectator in a direct sense- than to get off on the people who manage to get close to hun.