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all swept up in ‘crossfire hurricane’

November 16, 2012

Crossfire Hurricane posterMost fans know the now-mythic trajectory of The Rolling Stones. A ragtag band of Blues enthusiasts become the anti-Beatles, Brian Jones becomes one of the early casualties of rock excess, Altamont becomes the nightmare coda of the Sixties, Mick Taylor joins the band, Mick Taylor leaves the band, Ronnie Wood joins the band, Bill Wyman leaves the band, through countless drug busts, love triangles, and infighting the Stones roll on. And here we are, 50 years later, celebrating half a century of the most iconic rock band in the world.

If you watched Crossfire Hurricane on HBO last night hoping to take a Ken Burns-style Rolling Stones history lesson, you may have been disappointed. If, however, you were watching the excellent new Stones documentary hoping to see incredible archival performance and salacious behind-the-scenes footage steered by recent interviews with all the band members, you would have surely been as blown away as I was.

While there are several Stones concert films from various points in their career, Crossfire Hurricane provides the sort of  artistic retrospective that has been up-to-now  missing from their canon. Watching the boys go from fresh faced young rockers (young Mick’s impish smile could melt a glacier) to the hedonistic Midnight Ramblers of the 70’s and 80’s in the span of two hours is a pretty thrilling ride. The only negative reviews I’ve seen have focused on this or that person/story/theme that wasn’t included in the documentary. But there’s always going to be detractors obsessing over what was left out instead of celebrating all that director Brett Morgen was able to squeeze into a feature-film length production.

And there’s a lot to celebrate – black & white footage of the band hammering out one of their early tunes “Sitting on a Fence” is breathtaking, the editing of unseen Altamont footage (outtakes from the legendary Gimme Shelter documentary) painted the eeriest picture I’ve seen of that horrible occasion, and the live performance footage beautifully illustrates their meteoric rise from being mobbed onstage in small theaters to filling massive arenas.

Rolling Stones - Crossfire HurricaneMorgen’s artistic eye creates a visually gorgeous representation of the Stones and his tight editing provides an engaging, energetic experience for the viewer. While it won’t be released theatrically in the US, it will come out on DVD and Blu-ray on January 15 and you can pre-order it now, which I recommend doing. This is truly a must-watch for all Rolling Stones fans. Honestly, I’ll probably watch it again tonight.

I have to end this post the same way I’ve ended my last several posts, with a plea to Mick & Keith for more US tour dates. All the amazing live footage in Crossfire Hurricane was a little bittersweet for this girl, who has yet to experience the frenetic magic of a Rolling Stones concert firsthand.

And magic they certainly are…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lauren permalink
    December 11, 2012 1:19 pm

    Where can you pre-order this for delivery in the US?

  2. December 16, 2012 10:20 pm

    Per the director, the DVD won’t be released in the US until spring. I’ll be sure to post as soon as I hear the details.

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