The massive Voodoo Lounge tour may have been a little too much for even the Rolling Stones. Their next project, 1995’s Stripped album and documentary, went in a different direction as they cut out a lot of the frills and extras and returned to basics.
Now a little over two decades later, they have returned to that project with the release of Totally Stripped, which gathers live tracks from their club performances in London, Amsterdam, and Paris and combines them with a re-worked documentary. Please note that there is a deluxe version with four DVD’s, which presents each show in its entirety but this review is for the basic release.
The CD is a nice presentation of the obscure and the well-known. Songs such as “Not Fade Away,” “Dead Flowers,” “Like A Rolling Stone,” and “Rip This Joint” combine with “Honky Tonk Women,” “Street Fighting Man,” Midnight Rambler” and “Brown Sugar” to give it a career spanning experience.
The music is not as stripped back as the title would suggest. Bassist Darryl Jones, keyboardist Chuck Leavell, a full brass section featuring sax player Bobby Keys, and backing singers Lisa Fischer and Bernard Fowler are all on hand. It is the small clubs venues that give the music a laid back and intimate feel and when Ronnie Wood switches to acoustic guitar; it all takes on a very different feel.
The documentary is one of the better ones the band has produced. The banter finds the members relaxed and the music is truly stripped back to basics. Songs such as “The Spider And The Fly” and “Wild Horses” are very different from their usual presentation. The film is a nice look into a band moving in a different and creative direction.
Totally Stripped is a nice look at a short and unique period in the career of the Rolling Stones. The production is crisp, the music excellent, and the band is engaged. It is a nice trip back in time.