The Voodoo Lounge Tour undertaken by the Rolling Stones nearly a quarter century ago was massive. It was witnessed by over six million people, and played in the U.S. in football stadiums and enormous indoor arenas that were not necessarily new venues to the band in terms of size, but presented themselves at this stage in their career with a new and recurring challenge: how a band comprised of middle-aged rockers 30 years into their career could continue to entertain on a larger-than-larger-than-life scale. Yes, there was a shorter concert video containing much of this particular Miami performance released contemporaneously, so a lot of this footage isn’t technically fresh, but this archival release presents the full uncut concert DVD- remixed and remastered. And, really, watching the Stones go goalpost to goalpost is the only way to truly appreciate the achievement of this spectacle.
At one point, about an hour in, the tireless Mick Jagger says they have a long way to go. It’s part encouraging promise, part weary realization. It’s hard work being Jagger on any stage, let alone one this gigantic, with extra-long catwalks and raised platforms; the latter a perch for saxophonist Bobby Keys and the four-piece horn section. Jagger’s in constant motion, sweating through a balmy November Florida night, shedding shirts and shredding muscles as he dances and sprints and sings. His full-throated vocals are highest in the mix, followed closely by the twin guitar weavings of Keith Richards and Ron Wood, then by timekeeper Charlie Watts. Notable, as well, is the appearance of bassist Darryl Jones, grooving with the Glimmer Twins, on this the first Stones tour without founding member Bill Wyman.
The show is definitively a SHOW: oversized inflatables; wardrobe changes; a B-stage acoustic set; Whoopi Goldberg introducing; Sheryl Crow, Robert Cray, and Bo Diddley guesting; fireworks and flame-breathing apparatus. The music, itself, is quite well-executed, as a 27-song set, restored to its original running order, covers the then-new material from the Grammy-winning Voodoo Lounge, a very strong, yet uncharacteristically early-in-the-night performance of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” and a closing streak of seven certified classics starting with a visually surreal “Sympathy for the Devil” and ending on an extended “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” with Goldberg living the dream singing back-up.
There are five bonus performances included from an earlier tour stop at Giants Stadium in New Jersey of songs not on the Miami list that are nice additions to the package. Yet, it’s the Miami marathon that is the marvel, if only to comprehend the endurance and scope. Start to finish, Voodoo Lounge Uncut is a commendable treat in its abundance of eye candy, while musically serving as another Rolling Stones concert that lives up to their reputation, echoed in Goldberg’s intro, as the world’s greatest rock-and-roll band.