Rolling Stones – Through The Past Darkly: Sucking in The 70s and 80s (Apocalypse Sound AS164)

Through The Past Darkly:  Sucking in the 70’s and 80’s (Apocalypse Sound (AS164)

DVD9 Dual Layer Region 0 Dolby Digital 2.0 2:43:45

(TOTP’s April 15, 1971), Interview/ Brown Sugar;  ( Old Grey Whistle Test BBC TV, Rialto Theatre, Montreux, Switzerland, May 21,1972), Tumbling Dice, Tumbling Dice 2, Shake Your Hips, Boogie with Stu;  (Unreleased Promo), Loving Cup; (“Ladies and Gentlemen” movie outtakes, JOKO Productions Reel, Fort Worth, Texas, July 24, 1972) All Down The Line, Happy; (The Dick Cavett Show, ABC TV, August 11, 1972, MSG, NYC, Jult25, 1972) Brown Sugar, Street Fighting Man; (Frankfurt, Germany, Festhalle, 1973) Street Fighting Man; (VPRO TV Outtake from ELLY de Waard Report, Ahoy, Rotterdam, October 13, 1973) Brown Sugar; (US TV Commercial, 1974) It’s Only Rock And Roll; (MM TV New York, USA Bob Obrien Report, 10 OClock News, 1975) Brown Sugar (live on the street of New York); (Promo Video Version 2) Angie; (TV Report part 1, Bern Switzerland, 1976); (Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert, 1973) Silver Train, Dancing with Mr. D; (TV Report part 2 Bern Switzerland, 1976), (Pop Scene, Germany, 1976) Fool To Cry, Crazy Momma, Hey Negrita; (USA TV Commercial, 1977) The Rolling Stones Greatest Hits; (Knebworth Fair, Knebworth, U.K., August 1976, 76 Tour Finale unused TV Reel) Little Red Rooster, Route 66; (Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert, 1974) Ain’t Too Proud To Beg; (ABC TV Olympics Report, Montreal, Canada 1976) Mick Jagger Interview; (Saturday Night Live, USA 1978) Beast of Burden, Respectable, Shattered; (Saturday Night Live, USA 1978) Don’t Look Back (Peter Tosh with Mick Jagger); (TV report, Madrid, Spain, July 7, 1982) Under My Thumb (live), Interview, Going to a Go Go (live), Interview, Worried About You (rare promo video); (World Premiere Movie Report, NYC 1983) Let’s Spend The Night Together ; (Let’s Spend The Night Together Movie Outtake) Star, Star;  (Video Byways 1986 Dirty Work Album Promo Reel)

Apocalypse Sound is the DVD video brother to the Godfather CD label.  Like their audio counterpart the videos they release are usually nothing new or rare but to their credit AS usually offers some of the best quality video in circulation and this new Stones compilation is no exception. For this release they have gathered an amazing, almost 3 hours long, smorgasbord of mostly 70’s Stones footage with a few early 80’s clips for good measure for a total of 41 unique chapters.

My review is a little long, as I try to give a little detail of each chapter, but if you want to save some reading and cut to the chase I can honestly say the quality of most of the  43 chapters  is incredibly uniform with the video and audio quality consistently in the VG+/EX range.

If you are still reading and want the details lets grab the remote control and see what surprises lay ahead.

TOTP’s April 15, 1971

The TOTP video starts with Mick giving a very short 30 second interview where he offers his opinion on how rock music of the day is over analyzed by the music press.  The video then switches to the Stones playing a mimed version of Brown Sugar. Mick shows some energy but the other boys look bored with the whole affair. The sound quality is Ex and the video, sourced from VHS, is VG+, slightly soft with just a little fuzz and with slightly washed out but tight color. There is, not surprisingly, grain to the video and scratches and dirt spots which flash across the picture at times which are not too distracting.

Old Grey Whistle Test BBC TV, Rialto Theatre, Montreux, Switzerland, May 21,1972

Next up is the well traveled 72 tour rehearsal footage again with excellent sound and VG+ video quality. The video is again sourced from a VHS master with a very small unobtrusive tracking line at the bottom of the screen. The picture is slightly grainy, with muted colors and just a little generational fuzz. The band meanders through a couple of loose versions of Tumbling Dice, After a short break they jump into a smoky, honky tonk piano driven instrumental before sliding into a version of the Slim Harpo’s  song “Shake Your Hips”.  I never realized it until I watched this video but this song had to be the inspiration for the ZZ Top Song “La Grange” right down to the opening drum rim tapping and repeating blues guitar riffs. The rehearsal footage ends with a loose jam driven by a Mick Taylor riff. The Montreux footage ends with the “Loving Cup” promo shot but never aired with the Stones miming to the studio track. It is several more generation removed from the master compared with the other rehearsal footage and the film really shows its age with numerous scratches and white  specs streaming across the screen but is still a very watchable VG- quality.

“Ladies and Gentlemen” movie outtakes, JOKO Productions Reel, Fort Worth, Texas, July 24, 1972

The footage from the “Ladies and Gentlemen” feature length movie has been circulating for ages with excellent quality prints emerging in the last several years. The next two tracks are outtakes from that film, sourced from VHS, with EX- sound and VG video quality with tight solid color. The film is surprising clean with only a slight loss of definition on mid distance shots. “All Down the Line” is a highlight for me with a young Mick Taylor playing some greasy slide guitar. A very fast tempo version of “Happy” is up next sung as a duet with Mick and Keef. It is an interesting contrast to the later versions sung only by Keef as he did not want to share the spotlight with Mick.

The Dick Cavett Show, ABC TV, August 11, 1972, MSG, NYC, July 25, 1972

Some fans believe the 72 tour was the pinnacle of the Stones power and glory with the release of “Exile on Main Street” and the subsequent star studded tour. The footage in this segment features the Stones being filmed by Dick Cavett for his famous talk show where his camera crew followed the Stones from back stage to the stage.    We are treated to a multi camera proshot video of a complete “Brown Sugar” and “Street Fighting Man” from New York’s MSG Arena with Dick’s commentary after each song. The video has a timing block in the lower middle of the picture and, while the print is very clean, the color is almost completely washed out so it almost looks black and white. The video is VG- and is several generations removed from the master as the image is very soft with a smoky haze and loss of definition especially on distance shots. The sound is compressed and slightly tinny but very listenable. This is a real treat for Stones fans makes me wonder how much of the show was really shot and if any more footage may still exist?

Frankfurt, Germany, Festhalle, 1973

This VHS sourced video has both excellent sound and picture quality with very crisp colors and a sharp picture for the times with just a little softness on distance shots and a graininess which is typical for the time it was shot. There master tape is in excellent shape with no scratches and there is a timing bar in the upper left hand corner of the picture. It is a very good performance with Mick Taylor shining on the guitar and prominent in the mix.

VPRO TV Outtake from ELLY de Waard Report, Ahoy, Rotterdam, October 13, 1973

The video on the Ahoy outtake is of similar excellent quality to the Frankfurt footage with nice solid colors and a crisp picture with the usual grain and slight haze I have come to expect from footage of this era. There is a timing bar in the lower middle of the screen which does distract from the footage a little. The sound is VG+ with some compression dulling the high end and there is a 4 second audio dropout at the beginning of the song. We only get about a minute total of the song with and subtle edit about half way through video.

US TV Commercial, 1974

An interesting addition to this collection is a short 30 second animated U.S. TV commercial for the “It’s Only Rock in Roll” release in Vg video and audio quality.

MM TV New York, USA Bob Obrien Report, 10 O’clock News, 1975

One of the most interesting clips, for me as I remember watching it on TV as it happened,  is this news report of the Stones rolling down the streets of New York on a flat bed truck playing “Brown Sugar” to publicize their upcoming 1975 “Tour of the America’s” tour. We get fragments of the 8 ½ minute long  “Brown Sugar interspersed with spectator interviews. The footage is about VG-/VG and in excellent shape with no noticeable tape scratches but it in several generations from the master as the images are very fuzzy which gives it an out of focus effect. We only get about 30 seconds of the Stones playing and the sound quality, about VG-, is similar to a decent audience recording. Great to see this footage again and the excitement it created in the Big Apple.

(Promo Video Version 2)

This promotional video for Angie was broadcast on “Nostalgiennacht SF2” and is an VG/EX  video/audio clip from VHS with just a little grain and fuzziness.  The Stones are lip-syncing and the majority of screen time is devoted to shots of Mick.

TV Report part 1, Bern Switzerland, 1976

Next we get a TV report from the same “Nostalgiennacht SF2” source with some very good slow motion silent color live footage with a announcer doing voice over in German. The footage has some fuzziness but it the quality which makes me wish it was in real time with the appropriate audio.

(Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert, 1973)

The Don Kirschner color footage is again from a “Nostalgiennacht SF2” broadcast and it finds the Stones lip-syncing to studio versions of “Silver Train” and “Dancing with Mr. D”. The Video quality is again VG with just the usual grain and a slight generational haze to the picture. The audio is even better and is EX+ in quality.

(TV Report part 2, Bern Switzerland, 1976)

The second part of the TV Report part 1, Bern Switzerland, 1976 is in similar quality to the first but this time we get what looks like fans hanging out at the venue waiting to get in for the show while the announcer describes the scene in German. The scene shifts and we see the crew unloading the Stones equipment into the venue followed by some crowd shot before the show starts. The clip ends with some back stage scenes of the Stones walking around with a canned version of Satisfaction as a soundtrack

Pop Scene, Germany, 1976

The TV report footage slides right into the POP Scene color clips which are in excellent audio and video quality. The highlight for me is an excellent version of “Crazy Momma”. As the band is very tight and seem to be enjoying themselves.

USA TV Commercial, 1977

The commercial Rolling Stones Greatest Hits is nice bit of nostalgia for those of us who grew up in the 70’s and may have seen this when broadcast. The quality, while very watchable, is VG at best with a lot of grain and scratches in the film.

Knebworth Fair, Knebworth, U.K., August 1976

Some of the most interesting footage on the DVD are the two 76 Knebworth tracks with the Stones playing two great old blues covers. I have seen footage from this show before but these clips are excellent and on par with the “Ladies and Gentlemen” show released by 4 Reel  4- 5 years ago. The only downside is Mick’s vocals are a little low in the mix. While not fancy, I think the stage is one of the coolest the Stones ever used. It is a huge set of lips completely surrounding the main stage with the tongue as part of the front stage projecting out into the crowd. Must have been a sight to see for what was one of the longest Stones show ever. Definitely one of the shows I would love to see get official release.

Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert, 1974

Another lip-syncing performance from a “Nostalgiennacht SF2” broadcast in excellent quality. The highlight is shots of a bored looking Charlie Watts smirking at the other band members as I have read he hated these put on TV performances. Here is a funny scene toward the end of the song where a couple of large blowup banners inflate on stage which obscures the band and Mick has the step on it to be seen. Interestingly this claims to be from 1974 yet Mick Taylor was on guitar so this must have been taped earlier?

ABC TV Olympics Report, Montreal, Canada 1976

Actually a report on the premiere of the Let’s Spend the Night Together ” film and not the 76 Olympics report as labeled this clip combines news  footage along with some 81/82 tour footage and short interviews with the Stones. The video/audio quality is only VG as it several generations removed from the master with a fuzzy picture which obscures some of the facial features especially on distance shots. Still very watchable and a nice look back at the underrated 81/82 tours.

Saturday Night Live, USA 1978

The Saturday Night Live footage is another highlight for me as I remember one of my friends holding a Stones theme party to watch the show when it was broadcast. The video and audio is again excellent quality with a nice crisp color picture and clean sharp sound. It was “borrowed” from another boot video as the labels logo, big lips smoking a spliff, is in the upper right hand corner throughout the video.  Great to have this in such good quality as 78 footage of the Stones is rare in any quality.

Saturday Night Live, USA 1978 w/ Peter Tosh

Giving us another treat AS follows up the Stones SNL footage with the Peter Tosh appearance where Mick comes on as a guest vocalist. The footage is almost of equal quality to the Stones SNL appearance with just a slight fuzziness which may be a generation farther removed from the master.

TV report, Madrid, Spain, July 7, 1982

The Madrid TV report clip is probably the poorest quality of all the footage on this release with washed out slightly blooming color and dull overloaded audio. In between short concert clips there are two interviews with Mick flanked by Keef and Ronnie who are fidgeting around and look like they can’t wait to get the whole thing over with. The clip finishes with a promo video with just Mick and Keef with poorly synced sound and an annoying announcer talking over the song in Spanish and finally the final interview with Keef and Mick.

World Premiere Movie Report, NYC 1983

Another mislabeled clip as this is actually a short CBS TV report and footage of the 1975 Stones truck concert in NYC to publicize the 75 US tour in similar VG-/VG quality. It is different from the earlier TV footage of the event and is nice addition even if out of sequence.

Let’s Spend the Night Together Movie Outtake

For fans of the 81 tour the next to last clip is an outtake from the “Let’s Spend the Night Together” film. The audio quality is excellent with the video being several generations from the master and as a result is very grainy with slightly washed out colors but still VG in quality and enjoyable to watch. The performance is very tight with Keef and Ronnie on top of their game and very animated. If you believe the reports this was the first tour Keef did off of smack and it shows in his playing which is excellent. I have always felt this tour was much underrated as it was the last without all the backup singers and musicians. Truly an end of an era for the Stones.

Video Byways 1986 Dirty Work Album Promo Reel

Last up is a promotional video/ commercial for the Dirty Work album which starts off with two women mud wrestling which fades into Mick, Keef, and Ronnie shooting at the camera with silly string. There is also a lip synced promo version of Harlem Shuffle by the band. Considering Mick says F**k several times I am assuming this is an outtake but it is a nice ending to an incredible collection of clips.

While all of this footage has been in circulation in various forms I give high marks to Apocalypse Sound for collecting all of clips in such top quality. It is an excellent montage of Stones history of the 70’s and early 80’s and would be a welcome addition in any fans collection.

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