The Stones’ fifth live album presents the Greatest Consummate Stadium Pros in the World in full stride. There’s none of the exhilarating chaos of 1966’s “Got Live If You Want It” nor the blustery swagger of 1970’s “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out,” but there’s also none of the aimless ennui of 1977’s “Love You Live” and 1982’s “Still Life.”
The several songs from the ‘80s have never sounded better. But this album, like the 1989-90 tour itself, is more about history. There aren’t any clunkers among the oldies, but the only real triumph is the folk-rock reworking of “Factory Girl.”
As for the two new studio tracks: “Sex Drive” is another routine Stones funk workout, “Highwire” an already dated commentary on the military-industrial complex. As a non-album single these might have worked. Here they’re mood-breakers. Maybe if they’d dubbed in crowd noises like on “Fortune Teller” on the first live album. . . .
Reviewed on a scale of one star (poor) to five (a classic.)