Listening to The Rolling Stones live is like eavesdropping on a circus. You may surmise that the crowd is being tantalised by Mick’s clown pouts, but what you get is the sensation of being stuck outside the tent. On the plus side, you don’t have to watch Christina Aguilera defibrillating Live With Me.
Not that the Stones are bad, but the murkiness of the sound, with guitars sinking in a mud of horns, does them no favours. As Tears Go By is as sweet as Some Girls is unappealing, and while it’s admirable that “Buddy motherfucking Guy” guests on Champagne and Reefer, his playing has never been known for its economy.
Less is more, and the Stones are at their best on the spoof country of Faraway Eyes; and Richards’ attack on You Got The Silver, with Ronnie Wood picking holes in an acoustic slide guitar.