Naked Film (Halcyon)
Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan – March 22nd, 2006
Opening, Introduction, Jumping Jack Flash, Let’s Spend The Night Together, She’s So Cold, Oh No Not You Again, Sway, As Tears Go By, Tumbling Dice, Rain Fall Down, Night Time Is The Right Time, band member introduction, This Place Is Empty, Happy, Miss You, Rough Justice, Get Off Of My Cloud, Honky Tonk Women, Sympathy For The Devil, Paint It Black, Start Me Up, Brown Sugar, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Proshot Video, NTSC, All Region, 118:20
The Rolling Stones Bigger Bang Tour started on August 21, 2005, at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts, and ended almost exactly 2 years later on August 26, 2007, at the O2 Arena in London for an amazing total of 147 shows and a record-shattering gross revenue of $162 million.
The Stones played only 5 dates on the short tour of Japan in March of 2006 with this proshot video filmed at the first date of the tour at the Tokyo Dome. It has been reported this video was a practice run for the Saitama April 2 show, which was broadcast on Japanese TV, and from which several songs appeared on the official “The Biggest Bang” DVD set.
While the video was never meant for public release the video quality is absolutely stunning and is as close to official release as you can get in a bootleg. The show was shot in widescreen format and looks to be a copy of the master tape or from a digital feed as there is no sign this was sourced from a VCR cassette. If I was going to nitpick I would have liked to see this pressed onto a dual layer disc instead of the single layer one used by Halycon as it would have improved the picture sharpness slightly which is already near perfect.
The Audio is an excellent Dolby Digital stereo soundtrack which sounds more like a typical soundboard as the audience is a little distant and muted which does steal a little from the live atmosphere of the show. Mick’s vocals and Chuck’s organ are slightly dominant in the mix but the balance is fairly good. The only other oddity I noticed was the volume of Keef’s and Ronnie’s guitars would increase momentarily at times, especially when either of them was kicking into a little solo riff but the duration is so short it does not detract from the sound quality.
The real let down for me was the performance itself. Mick was his usual energetic self and the Charlie and the rest of the backup band are very solid but Keef, and to a lesser extent Ronnie, really struggle with their playing this night. For most of the show they seemed to be a beat behind the rest of the band. As long as they were playing rhythm they sounded good and in step but they really struggled with their dexterity when challenged with any riffing or solos requiring finger picking. This resulted in them sounding out of tune and this was magnified by the separation of instruments and clarity of the soundtrack. Keef also took frequent breaks where he stopped playing altogether for short spells but Chuck’s piano being up in the mix helped to fill out the sound. In all honesty this is probably the flattest performance I have watched in the 40+ Stones videos I have from all the eras.
Despite Keef’s and Ronnie’s struggles there were a few highlights for me which included a very nice versions of “Paint It Black”, “Get Off of My Cloud” and the band seemed to come alive during the new numbers from the Bigger Bang album with some lively playing.
Halycon should be commended for acquiring and releasing such an excellent quality video but due to the flat performance and Keef’s and Ronnie’s struggles I would only recommend this title to the hardcore fan who is willing to overlook the sloppy playing. For the casual fan looking for a video from the Bigger Bang Tour you would probably be happier getting a copy of the official “Biggest Bang” DVD box set or the official “Shine A Light” DVD as the performances are excellent on both releases.