Reviewed: The Rolling Stones – From The Vault: No Security – San Jose 1999

Reviewing a Stones concert film can either be a very hard thing to do, or it can be very easy. In my case, it’s definitely the latter. Not because I find no fault in their performance, but because I do, and I like it. After having been to countless Rolling Stones shows, the most recent four weeks ago, I can honestly watch these Stones films and differentiate between them, kind of like a connoisseur of fine wines. And we all know that wine and The Stones get better with age, but it’s always nice to have a look back. Perhaps it is hard after all, reviewing what’s essentially the same set list, but finding the things that make this film stand out. There’s plenty to go on there. I want desperately to be critical as so many others are but let’s face it, The Stones defy criticism in the face of age and adversity.
It’s funny to watch this film now and think “how young the Stones looked back then”, when back then, all most people did was make jokes about their age and wondered when they were going to call it quits. You can certainly see the difference in this film. Keith is animated and completely fluid, Charlie plays hard and fast, and the slide guitars meander from both Keith and Ronnie’s hands, back, forth, and back again. The film was shot in 1999 in San Jose and it was the first time the band had played there since 1965, so the local fans were hungry.

Right around the one hour mark, the stones take to the “B” stage. What’s a “B” stage you ask? It’s a time machine is what it is. It’s a platform that transports the band back to their early days when they would do covers like “Route 66” on a stage the size of a postage stamp. If you didn’t have the privilege of being on this tour, I’ll explain it to you.  There’s a small stage right in the middle of the floor sections, and a long, thin walkway connecting it to the main stage. The band traverses this walkway while touching hands with everyone in close proximity, while the house music plays. They take to this stage with all the gusto and fervor of their younger selves, spitting out their early hits. It’s just them, Mick, Keith, Charlie, Ronnie, Darryl Jones and Chuck Leavell on keys, a couple of amps, and Charlie’s tiny little drum kit. They have had variations on this over the years; the “tongue pit”, the “no filter pit”, the extended catwalk, and so on. But this was really the first time a band walked down a catwalk in the middle of an adoring audience and took up residence on a stage that replicates their early days. I miss this stage…  Perhaps that’s why this tour was called “No Security”. They certainly do lay themselves bare during the B stage segment, further proving just how real they were.
What makes this Stones concert film different than any of the others? Warts. Talk to any serious Stones fan and they will tell you that one of the most endearing qualities about this band is that they constantly make mistakes on the stage, shrug it off, and move on in a kind of British “keep calm and carry on” mode. During Keith’s solo set he flubs the opening to “You’ve Got The Silver” and restarts the song. Stones fans love this, it’s essentially them showing that they’re all just like us, exactly how we would be if we were on stage.
Once back on the main stage, the band has the usual army of musicians; Trombone, Trumpet, Sax, Bobby Keys (I mention him separately because it wouldn’t do him justice any other way), the forever talented and elegant Lisa Fisher, Bernard Fowler and Blondie Chaplin.
The film’s release seems perfectly timed; just as the current tour is winding down in the heart of the old Eastern Europe (Prague and Warsaw). Maybe it’s just for us Stones junkies to make sure we don’t go cold turkey right after the 2018 tour.  But fear not, sources tell me that they will be back in the USA either in the fall or the spring. Remember, you heard it here first!
Track Listing:
1. Jumpin’ Jack Flash
2. Bitch
3. You Got Me Rocking
4. Respectable
5. Honky Tonk Woman
6. I Got The Blues
7. Saint Of Me
8. Some Girls
9. Paint It Black
10. You Got The Silver
11. Before They Make Me Run
12. Out Of Control
13. Route 66
14. Get Off Of My Cloud
15. Midnight Rambler
16. Tumbling Dice
17. It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)
18. Start Me Up
19. Brown Sugar
20. Sympathy For The Devil
The film is being released July 13.  For a preview of this film or to order, click here:
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