Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the greatest rock-and-roll band in the world, The Rolling Stones drop into the Big Apple for a night at Madison Square Garden and it’s a loaded one. Immediately, from the first strains of “Street Fighting Man,” the Stones move and groove like street fighting men, themselves, albeit with a smile. For the next two hours, the mood never wavers.
Determined to prove once again the rightful ownership of rock’s championship belt, the Stones come out swinging on a 21-song set of nearly all classics from the band’s four decades, including a spotlight on the Let It Bleed record. It’s an HBO broadcast as well- Jagger and Keith Richards both take the opportunity to nod to The Sopranos– and knowing there are the millions watching, the Glimmer Twins are on their (relatively) better behavior; exceptionally sharp playing, noticeable laughs and grins, and a sizzling guest spot from Sheryl Crow on “Honky Tonk Women.”
There is, too, plenty of relentless energy from Jagger (who works his way through at least three shirt-changes); fuel to the fire, he takes a jab at a writer who suggested this January 2003 date would be the group’s final Garden appearance ever. (It wasn’t; and the Stones roll on.) And plenty of music to channel the sting, including previously unreleased takes of “Start Me Up,” “Tumbling Dice,” “Gimme Shelter,” and “Sympathy for the Devil,” now part of this restored and remastered DVD.
MSG was home in 1969 to performances that showed up on, arguably, the Stones’ best live album, Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out. 34 years later Licked Live In NYC continues the lasting relationship of very special performances in the city. The street fighting men prevailed. Another victory in the Garden for the Rolling Stones.