(Originally an IP Movies Review)
The eighties were a wonderful, unique decade that housed awful fashion, terrific music, and classic films. The Rolling Stones, fresh off of the Some Girls album – which some argue made them relevant again in the age of punk rock – their 1978 US Tour, and their Emotional Rescue album, the Stones toured the States once again, with a record-breaking arena tour in 1981. From September to December, The Rolling Stones would tour all across the United States, breaking sales records for the year. The Stones recorded a few of the live concerts, which resulted in this DVD – Let’s Spend the Night Together – and their live album, Still Life.
Mick Jagger and the rest of The Rolling Stones perform 25 songs on this concert DVD, and the track list is below. This film has no story, no acting, and no script. Unlike The Doors’ film, which was a dramatization of the band, Let’s Spend the Night Together is simply a recording of two separate concerts from the 1981 arena tour. Here is the track listing (in alphabetical order):
20 Flight Rock
All Down the Line
Beast of a Burden
Going to a Go-Go
Honky Tonk Women
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Just My Imagination
Let It Bleed
Let Me Go
Let’s Spend the Night Together
Little T & A
She’s So Cold
Start Me Up
Time Is on My Side
Under My Thumb
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
With Let’s Spend the Night Together, the viewer gets exactly what he or she would expect: a filmed concert. The “story” of this concert is told through the various editing of clips from two separate concerts, as well as a few behind-the-scenes clips. The two concerts in question are from Sun Devil Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona, and the Brendan Byrne Arena in Meadowlands, New Jersey. Most of the film is watching Mick Jagger get crazy on stage, dancing his heart away. There are only a few clips that show the band backstage, before they perform, which is disappointing because these are the most interesting of the clips in the film, and help break the monotony of just watching Jagger and the rest of the band. For hardcore Stones fans, watching Jagger kick around the stage for an hour and a half will be a blast, but for casual audiences, Let’s Spend the Night Together can get boring quickly.
There is no denying that The Rolling Stones are excellent musicians, and this music is some of the finest from the genre, but given that The Stones toured for three months, the fact that only two concerts were recorded and used in this movie is a letdown. There could have been a bigger use of backstage footage to mix things up as the movie went on, but instead, director Hal Ashby chose to stick with mostly following Jagger around the stage.
Since there is no story to talk about, and no acting to critique, all I have to go on is the editing choices of director Hal Ashby. Ashby decided to make this movie experience as close to “being there” as possible. The problem with this is that unless the viewer is sitting with thousands of other screaming Stones fans, drinking out of those cheap red cups, and getting bumped from all directions by obnoxious audience members, the “being there” experience is lacking, and the end result is that Let’s Spend the Night Together becomes monotonous, leaving the viewer wondering why they didn’t just pop the live CD in their player instead.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.