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Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Rolling Stones — Live at the Wiltern (Blu-ray + CD Review)


The Performance
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements


The Rolling Stones rock deep cuts with some popular classics in this concert from their 40th Anniversary Licks tour.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

In 2002-2003, the legendary, inimitable rock and roll band The Rolling Stones were marking their 40th anniversary with the Licks tour and the 40 Licks compilation album. The tour, one of the biggest moneymakers of the year, would take them through arenas, stadiums, and smaller theaters, such as The Wiltern in Los Angeles, where this release, The Rolling Stones – Live at the Wiltern, was captured.

This is no greatest hits outing for the band, no spectacle of stage lighting and bedazzled clothing. Here, the already aging band defying their years, pull out a concert filled with deep cuts from their staggeringly large catalogue, some prime covers, and a few of their better-known hits. They open up with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” Mick swaying and peacocking across the stage like the third coming of Axl Rose, before they launch into five straight lesser-performed numbers, that include “Live with Me” from Let it Bleed (1969), “Neighbours” from Tattoo You (1981), and a revelatory rendition of Beggars Banquets’ (1968) “Stray Cat Blues,” making a strong case for The Stones as one of the original proto-punk bands.

Other show highlights include a hypnotic rendition of “Going to a Go-Go” and a passionate cover of “That’s How Strong My Love Is,” all the while Jagger’s voice holding up well, and the band playing loose enough to sound roadhouse, but still keeping it tight.

This show ranks up there with one of their best on film or video, I would even go as far as to place it third behind Some Girls Live in Texas and Ladies and Gentleman, The Rolling Stones.

Purchase The Rolling Stones — Live at the Wiltern Blu-ray + 2-CD on Amazon.com

The Track List (Identical on the Included two CDs):

Disc: 1(Blu-ray)

1Jumpin’ Jack Flash [Live]
2Live with Me [Live]
3Neighbours [Live]
4Hand of Fate [Live]
5No Expectations [Live]
6Beast of Burden [Live]
7Stray Cat Blues [Live]
8Dance Pt. 1 [Live]
9Everybody Needs Somebody to Love [Live]
10That’s How Strong My Love Is [Live]
11Going to a Go-Go [Live]
12Thru and Thru [Live]
13You Don’t Have to Mean It [Live]
14Can’t You Hear Me Knocking [Live]
15Rock Me Baby [Live]
16Bitch [Live]
17Honky Tonk Women [Live]
18Start Me Up [Live]
19Brown Sugar [Live]
20Tumbling Dice [Live]

Disc: 2

1Menu / Wiltern Theatre [Live]
2Jumpin’ Jack Flash [Live]
3Live with Me [Live]
4Neighbours [Live]
5Hand of Fate [Live]
6No Expectations [Live]
7Beast of Burden [Live]
8Stray Cat Blues [Live]
9Dance Part 1 [Live]
10Everybody Needs Somebody to Love [Live]
11That’s How Strong My Love Is [Live]
12Going to a Go-Go [Live]
13Band Introductions [Live]

Disc: 3

1Thru and Thru [Live]
2You Don’t Have to Mean It [Live]
3Can’t You Hear Me Knocking [Live]
4Rock Me Baby [Live]
5Bitch [Live]
6Honky Tonk Women [Live]
7Start Me Up [Live]
8Brown Sugar [Live]
9Tumbling Dice [Live]

The Video

This concert video is taken from a standard definition video source, so detail, noise, and ringing are apparent, but it is still a watchable release given the provenance. The video is presented in 1.78:1 AVC 1080i/60.

The Audio

Live at the Wiltern comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix and LPCM 2.0 Stereo mix on Blu-ray. Both mixes will present you with “Keef” mixed way off to the far right and Ronnie Wood way off to the far left, with Charlie Watts anchoring the mix in the center with a medium spread of kit, and Mick’s voice resoundingly clear and upfront. In fact, the whole mix, including the guitars, sound close mic’d with a touch of venue ambience, some more on such instruments as the sax, added in. The sound is a bit less cluttered in the Blu-ray’s 5.1 mix than on the stereo (and CD or streaming) version but there is no dud here. As with any Stones recording, one should not expect big, fat, low end, but there is more than enough here to keep the sound from being thin.

The Supplements

Soft booklet with essay by Paul Sexton and the album on 2-CDs.

The Final Assessment

A fantastic Stones concert video with a heavy dose of deep cuts that will appeal to devoted fans of the band and any red-blooded rock and roll fan. The band keep the energy level high and the rock and roll loud and loose. The audio is great too. Highly recommended.

The Rolling Stones — Live at the Wiltern is out on Blu-ray + 2-CD March 8, 2024 from Mercury

Purchase The Rolling Stones — Live at the Wiltern on Blu-ray + 2-CD on Amazon.com

  • Rating Certificate: Not Rated
  • Studio/Label: Mercury
  • Performer: The Rolling Stones
  • Run Time: 112 Mins.
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080i/60
  • Primary Audio: DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: LPCM 2.0 Stereo

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The Rolling Stones rock deep cuts with some popular classics in this concert from their 40th Anniversary Licks tour. The Rolling Stones -- Live at the Wiltern (Blu-ray + CD Review)