Rolling Stones – mesmerising and utterly brilliant

Havana Moon
Havana Moon
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REVIEW: Havana Moon, Port Solent Odeon – and cinemas around the world.

Towards the end, Keith Richards says he reckons the Stones are getting better and better. All you can do is nod and agree.

Havana Moon – a film version of the Rolling Stones historic Good Friday 2016 concert in Cuba – brings to the big screen a breath-taking live performance, the Stones at their scintillating best.

As Jagger says, the thrill for the band is to be still discovering new territories more than half a century after they first launched in a very, very different world. The thrill for us is that the old rockers are still – without a shadow of a doubt – on an upwards trajectory.

Maybe this wasn’t a concert film with the sophistication of Scorsese’s Shine A Light Stones epic of a few years back, but it beautifully captured the raw power of the band as highlight followed highlight in a blistering set.

Midnight Rambler was an absolute stand-out, hypnotic and brilliant, Jagger orchestrating it all to mesmerising effect. With this concert, the Stones became the first rock band to play a massive free outdoor concert to hundreds of thousands in Havana; Jagger had each and every one of them eating out of his hand. There has simply never been a frontman quite like him.

Gabbling away in Spanish, strutting, pouting, sprinting and storming, this was a performer at the height of his powers and at the very top of his game.

Honky Tonk Women was particularly strong; Gimme Shelter was scintillating; and Sympathy for the Devil never loses its devilish hold.

Tumbling Dice and Start Me Up were surprise omissions, but with half a century of songs to draw on, you can hardly complain. Out of Focus was the surprise inclusion in a set which rocked from first to last.

The old devils have still got it, and they’ve got it in abundance. Magic, charisma and awesome power on – quite clearly – the most wonderful of nights.

Phil Hewitt

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