This is the type of concert document that I wish Martin Scorsese made with Shine a Light. No special guests. No Mick Jagger bringing his performance level up to 11, as if he’s emoting to a sold out stadium despite being inside a theater. Just the four members of the Rolling Stones joined by their touring musicians and vocalists on a stage to play a down ‘n’ dirty set of tunes.
That’s what you get on From The Vault: Sticky Fingers: Live At The Fonda Theatre 2015, an exhilarating film from beginning to end. That includes director Paul Dugdale’s opening shots of a camera gliding through the sky from high up on the Hollywood Hills to the location of the show before a single note is played and then reversing that after the band leaves the stage.
Holding a little over a thousand people, the Fonda Theatre date – the first of the Stones’ North American Zip Code Tour — is a major contrast to the stadium size crowds awaiting the legends over the next 15 shows. And you can tell by the beaming smiles on their faces that the group enjoyed the intimate surroundings.
The CD and DVD differ in that the audio portion presents the full concert. The video version inexplicably skips a couple of the pre- Sticky Fingers numbers as well as the final song of the night. All are included as Bonus Tracks. Rushing into the featured album doesn’t take away from the overall proceedings but presenting the actual event as it happened would have been preferred.
After loosening up with “Start Me Up,” Jagger announces that they’re going to play live the entire Sticky Fingers album for the first time ever. So, far it’s the only time they’ve played the classic release. Rather than aping the album’s tracklist, the Stones shake it up it in a manner that makes more sense in a live setting, doing many of the slower numbers early and ending with the big finish of “Brown Sugar.”
“Sway” confidently starts off the proceedings, followed by “Dead Flowers,” “Wild Horses” and “Sister Morphine” and Fred McDowell’s “You Gotta Move.” Because we’re watching up close, there’s a better understanding of the telepathy between Ron Wood and Keith Richards as well as seeing how Wood acts as the band MVP with concise leads throughout the evening.
Karl Denson takes a funky solo during the Latin jazz portion of “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” while Chuck Leavell shines on the B3 organ during “I Got the Blues.”
Interview segments on the DVD between numbers features all four band members offering background on the songs, album and its infamous Andy Warhol front cover artwork.
Filmed in widescreen in front of an audience of rabid Stones fans who react ecstatically to each number, From The Vault: Sticky Fingers: Live At The Fonda Theatre 2015, works just as well for those viewing it at home.