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Havana Moon

Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Apr 02, 2017 The Rolling Stones Bookmark and Share

The year 2016 saw The Rolling Stones release its first new recorded work in 11 years, Blue & Lonesome, an album of blues covers that found the band returning to its roots, revitalized and in top form. The year also saw the Stones release Havana Moon, a 2 CD/DVD set documenting the band’s first live performance in Cuba, on March 25, 2016.

For years, touring through Cuba was complicated due to the US trade embargo, so the arrival of a major act like The Rolling Stones was a milestone for the country. And at Ciudad Deportiva Stadium, the Stones did what they have done best for the past half century, to a rapturous crowd of hundreds of thousands, the exact count of which was uncertain.

All of the usual suspects are carted out in prime late-period Stones fashion-“Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “It’s Only Rock N Roll (But I Like It),” “Honky Tonk Women,” etc. It’s easy to chock this up to another recycled hits montage, and most Stones fans would rather see a live set from the band’s prime than a 2016 concert. But watching Mick, Keith, Ronnie, and Charlie up there on stage, even performing songs you’ve heard hundreds of times, there remains a spark. These are gods and it’s a privilege to watch them work, whether it be 1965, 1975, or 2016. And as a special treat, the band carts out the deep cut “Out of Control,” from the otherwise lamentable 1997 Bridges To Babylon album.

Elsewhere, it’s endearing to hear Mick Jagger addressing the crowd in Spanish; he continues to work an audience like a master. You can hear the crowd chant, “Charlie, Charlie,” when the band brings Watts to center stage for introduction. Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood smile at each other throughout the set, evidence of how close their bond continues to be. And Jagger dapperly dons a fuzzy red robe for “Sympathy for the Devil,” as demonic imagery floods the big screen behind the band.

Perhaps the best part of the show, however, is toward the end of the DVD, before the band returns for its encore. Here, Jagger, Richards, Wood, and Watts lend commentary to the piece. They are introspective, complimenting each other, looking back on a career, and reflecting. It brings to light how gods can also be mortal men. Even if they are the remarkable Rolling Stones (www.rollingstones.com) (www.eagle-rock.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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