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The Rolling Stones (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ron Wood)
Writing Credits:

No Security San Jose '99 captures the Rolling Stones in top form as they play a set that spans from 1960s hit singles up to their then-current Bridges To Babylon album.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English LPCM Stereo 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 118 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 7/13/18

• CD Version of Concert
• Booklet


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-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Rolling Stones: No Security San Jose '99 [Blu-Ray] (1999)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 9, 2018)

Over the years, the Rolling Stones developed a well-established plan when it came to their tours. Going all the way back to 1972-73, they would play North America the first year – usually in late summer/fall – and then hit Europe the spring/summer of the next year, with occasional visits to other territories interspersed.

This trend largely held through the band’s 1997-98 Bridges to Babylon tour. The Stones did alter the pattern somewhat in that they carried over the 1997 North American dates to allow more in those territories across January/February 1998 and then a few extra in April 1998.

After that, though, the usual schedule held, as the Stones played Europe from June to September 1998. One unusual aspect of this tour occurred, however, as the Stones played just a single concert in their homeland of England.

Why just the lone show? Taxes, as it happens. If the Stones had played more UK concerts in 1998, it would’ve ensured they had to pay higher taxes due to too much time spent in that realm.

As such, the band decided to postpone the majority of the UK dates to summer 1999, a choice that seemed to leave those shows as outliers. Rather than come back together after a nine-month break just for four concerts, the Stones selected to add a whole bunch of dates, and thus the 1999 No Security tour was born.

In addition to four UK dates, the Stones played six additional European shows across May/June 1999, all of them at stadiums. If you look at Wikipedia, it classifies these concerts as part of the No Security tour, but that’s not accurate, as they’re really just a resumption of the Bridges to Babylon tour.

No Security offered something different and on a smaller scale. Rather than play giant football stadiums, the Stones stayed with basketball arenas – still relatively large venues, but much more “intimate” than the outdoor locations. This wasn’t new – the 1998 North American shows mostly went toward arenas – but it was the first time the Stones had solely played those venues in decades.

In addition, No Security offered a stripped down presentation. It wasn’t a totally no-frills show, but it lacked the usual effects and fancy stage found on prior tours. These concerts would focus on the Stones as a band without a lot to distract.

In fall 1998, a live album called No Security hit the shelves, but as one can tell from the release date, it didn’t represent a show from the No Security tour. Instead, it cobbled together performances across the prior Bridges to Babylon dates.

That makes this 2018 release called No Security San Jose ‘99 the first official product to cover the tour. The Stones completed nearly three months of North American shows with a pair of April concerts at the San Jose Arena, and the first one of those generates this Blu-ray.

Across the show’s 20 songs, we find only two from the then-recent Bridges to Babylon: “Saint of Me” and “Out of Control”. 1994’s Voodoo Lounge brings us “You Got Me Rocking” but then we jump back 13 years for the next-newest track, “Start Me Up” from 1981’s Tattoo You.

1978’s Some Girls produces its title song, “Before They Make Me Run” and “Respectable”, while 1974’s It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll also brings its own title tune. 1972’s Exile on Main Street offers “Tumbling Dice” and 1971’s Sticky Fingers boasts “Brown Sugar”, “Bitch” and “I Got the Blues”.

As we head back into the 1960s, 1969 brings the single “Honky Tonk Women” and two tracks from Let It Bleed: “Midnight Rambler” and “You Got the Silver”. 1968 offers the single “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” as well as the Beggars Banquet number “Sympathy for the Devil”.

1966’s single “Paint It Black” appears, as does 1965’s 45 “Get Off Of My Cloud”. Finally, the band’s cover of Nat King Cole’s “Route 66” comes from their 1964 debut album.

Back in 1999, the No Security sets seemed eclectic, but compared with many of the shows since then, they now look less exciting, as the Stones have churned out a lot of obscurities over that time. Still, a tour that lacked “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “Miss You” and a couple other warhorses deserves praise.

By my count, No Security contains 10 of those warhorses, and I can’t claim the rest of the set boasts many true rarities. Beyond “Route 66” and “I Got the Blues”, we find a show heavy with songs most fans will know.

I do appreciate the band’s attempt to shake up the set, though. They’d do even better with subsequent tours, but No Security represented a solid baby step.

Setlist aside, No Security offers a strong performance and comes at the tail end of the period during which the Stones were “consistent” on stage. I put that last word in quotes because the Stones have always been hit or miss live, but once the 2002 tour rolled around, the warts became more pronounced, mainly because guitarist Keith Richards began to encounter more problems.

I saw the 2002-03 tour something like a dozen times, and I can still remember some of the awful fretwork Keith produced. Again, he and fellow guitarist Ron Wood always had their ups and downs, but with a particular emphasis on Keith, these flared up more often once we got to the 21st century. 1999 represented something of a “last gasp” tour during which we could actually expect both Ron and Keith to sound good on the same night on a regular basis.

Vocalist Mick Jagger and drummer Charlie Watts were – and still are – much more consistent, and they both fare well here. While the occasional flubs pop up, the Stones really sound pretty tight here, and the combination of small (for them) venue and end of the North American tour appears to energize the band.

No Security lacks a listing for director, so I don’t know who to credit – or blame – for the production we see. For the most part, the director – let’s call him “Alan Smithee” – does a competent job, but that’s the best I can say.

On one hand, No Security lacks aggressively flashy editing and camerawork most of the time. “Out of Control” offers a predictable exception, as its more “out of control” moments come with wacky quick zooms, but otherwise, the production seems relatively restrained.

Nonetheless, editing can become a bit more rapid-fire than I’d like, and there’s not a lot of rhyme or reason to the presentation. This leaves us with a watchable version of the show but not one that adds to the experience.

Lackluster direction aside, I find a lot to like about No Security. The release brings us a solid performance by one of the greatest bands ever to grace the concert stage – what can a poor boy do except purchase a rock ‘n’ roll Blu-ray?

The Disc Grades: Picture C/ Audio B-/ Bonus C

Rolling Stones: No Security San Jose ‘99 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.33:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Shot on SD video cameras almost 20 years ago, the image looked pretty blah.

Sharpness caused many of the concerns, as much of the program looked rather soft. Some shots appeared acceptably tight and accurate, but anything wider tended to appear bland and mushy.

Minor jagged edges appeared on occasion, but shimmering created no issues, and I also noticed no signs of edge enhancement. The program seemed free of source flaws, though some inevitable video artifacts arose.

Colors appeared flat. The show lacked a particularly broad palette, as lighting offered the brighter hues. These seemed heavy and without much vivacity.

Black levels leaned to the inky side, however, and shadows were a bit murky. Again, I didn’t expect much from a circa 1999 SD video piece, and I got the mediocre visuals I anticipated.

As for the show’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it fared better, though the soundfield could be a little broader than I’d like. This meant the mix tended to spread instrumentation toward the rear channels in an overly active way.

I don’t want to overstate this trend, as the focus still pushed toward the front. Nonetheless, I thought the mix used the surrounds in an excessively aggressive manner that threw off the appropriate “concert feel”.

Some of this impacted audio quality, mainly related to vocals, as those demonstrated too much “arena reverb”. For the most part, the vocals seemed fine, but I would’ve preferred less of an echo effect.

The instruments sounded fine and weren’t impacted by this “arena feel”. The various guitars, drums and other components seemed accurate and full, without edginess or other concerns.

The Blu-ray also included an LPCM stereo mix, and I preferred that. Of course, it lacked the added involvement from the surrounds that the 5.1 version brought, but it more than compensated with more accurate reproduction of the material.

The absence of rear channel material meant the stereo spread felt more natural. The 2.0 track lacked the awkward use of the surrounds and placed the instruments and vocals in their proper places.

Vocals also demonstrated a more accurate feel. The 2.0 version left off the “arena reverb” that marred the 5.1 track, so it came across as more natural. I gave the 5.1 edition a “B-“ but I’d boost that to a “B+” for the more satisfying 2.0 track.

No bonus materials appear on the Blu-ray itself, but we do get a 2-CD version of the concert. This includes all 20 of the show’s songs and adds value to the package.

Finally, a booklet appears. It mixes photos, credits and an essay from Paul Sexton. It finishes the set on a positive note.

Nearly 40 years into their existence, the Rolling Stones showed they still could perform at a high level via No Security San Jose ‘99. Energized and coherent, the band put on a solid concert as captured here. The Blu-ray offers mediocre visuals along with generally positive audio and minor supplements. No Security becomes a must-buy for Stones fans.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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