DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


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

This release is taken from their performance at the Tokyo Dome in 1990, one of ten shows from the 14th to the 27th February at the venue which were the culmination of the 'Steel Wheels World Tour'.

Rated NR

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

Runtime: 137 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 10/30/15

• CD Copy
• Booklet


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

Rolling Stones: Live At the Tokyo Dome 1990 [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 8, 2015)

September 24, 1989 offered an event my 22-year-old self never thought would occur: I saw the Rolling Stones live. In the years prior to that, the band essentially broke up, so many of us feared that the Stones’ 1981-82 world tour would be their last.

Obviously the last 26 years have demonstrated otherwise, as the Stones have multiple tours since their big 1989-90 return to the stage. Rather than die without seeing the band, I’ve attended more than 50 Stones shows from 1989 to date.

Though essentially the same tour, the Stones adopted two different names for their 1989-90 trek. The 1989 US leg and the winter 1990 Japanese shows came with the sobriquet “Steel Wheels” – based on the band’s then-current album – while the spring/summer 1990 European concerts boasted the title “Urban Jungle”. Both “Wheels” and “Jungle” offered pretty similar setlists, but they delivered different stage set-ups.

With a 2015 Blu-ray called Live At the Tokyo Dome 1990, we get a document from the end of the “Steel Wheels” dates. The band’s “Japanese tour” actually took place all at one venue, as the Stones played a whopping 10 shows at the 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome.

From February 14, 1990, the Blu-ray presents the Stones’ opening night in Tokyo and delivers a 23-song set. From the recently-released Steel Wheels, the band plays “Sad Sad Sad”, “Rock and a Hard Place”, “Mixed Emotions”, “Can’t Be Seen” and “Almost Hear You Sigh”. (Steel Wheels’ “Continental Drift” acts as the intro to the concert, but this just plays a tape of the song, not a live performance.)

1986’s Dirty Work - along with 1983’s Undercover, one of two albums produced between tours – offers only one song, a cover of Bob and Earl’s “Harlem Shuffle”. (The Stones often played 1983’s “Undercover of the Night” in 1989 but I guess it got the boot by 1990.)

1981’s Tattoo You - the album that headlined the band’s last tour in 1981-82 – brings us “Start Me Up”, and 1978’s Some Girls boasts “Miss You”. We get the title track from 1974’s It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll, and 1972’s Exile on Main Street throws us “Tumbling Dice” and “Happy”.

1971’s Sticky Fingers features “Bitch” and “Brown Sugar”, while 1969’s Let It Bleed delivers “Midnight Rambler”, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Gimme Shelter”. 1969 also provides the single “Honky Tonk Women”.

Back to 1968, we get the single “Jumping Jack Flash” as well as “Sympathy for the Devil” from Beggars Banquet. The concert represents 1967 with the single “Ruby Tuesday” and “2000 Light Years from Home” from Their Satanic Majesties Request. Finally, 1966 offers the single “Paint It Black”, and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” comes from 1965’s Out Of Our Heads.

Back on stage after a roughly seven-week layoff after the final December 1989 shows in Atlantic City, Tokyo Dome shows the Stones in fine form. Perhaps rejuvenated after the break, they seem energetic and downright happy much of the time; I’m not sure I’ve ever seen drummer Charlie Watts smile as much as he does here.

Not that one should expect an especially chummy affair, especially in terms of the interaction – or lack thereof – between vocalist Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards. As I alluded earlier, the 1989-90 tour followed a virtual breakup that occurred mainly due to sparring/strained relations between Mick and Keith, and they seem to remain frosty toward each other here.

Though that’s largely the modern-day Mick/Keith dynamic. Like I noted, I’ve seen the Stones a bunch since 1989, and I can recall few signs of affection/fondness between Mick and Keith. I guess I’m glad they don’t fake friendship on stage, but it makes me sad that these long-time partners – and one-time pals – still seem like they can barely stand each other. Even when they stand near each other during “Miss You” in this Blu-ray’s concert, it feels like they don’t acknowledge each other.

The nature of the stadium stage makes much real interaction tough anyway. The “Steel Wheels Tour” boasted a stunning – and enormous – frame that meant it often seemed like Mick was in a different city than the others. That created a good visual presence, but it didn’t lend itself to much chumminess among the musicians.

Nonetheless, the Stones know how to command a stage – especially Jagger, of course. He more than holds his own as he offers the strong presence one expects. The rest play their roles just fine, even though they do get lost on the massive stage at times.

Musically, Tokyo Dome shows the Stones in reasonably good form. I think the band hit their “modern day” peak on later tours, but they still seem fine here – and better than I recalled, honestly.

That’s especially true for Jagger’s vocals. As I noted when I reviewed Rolling Stones At the Max - an IMAX film shot during the 1990 “Urban Jungle” shows – Jagger often had a tendency to “proclaim” lyrics rather than sing them. That was more dominant in earlier tours but still an issue at times in 1989-90.

While I won’t claim Tokyo Dome boasts Jagger’s best vocals, he does really sing most of the time. That comes as a pleasant surprise. Jagger’s vocals could be a liability on some earlier tours – or during the then-current tour - but they’re pretty good here.

The rest of the band sounds typically loose and occasionally sloppy. Unsurprisingly, guitarists Keith Richards and Ron Wood suffer from the most mistakes. That was true before 1990 and it’s true now. Both are perfectly fine most of the time – God knows they’ve been worse – but expect more than a few clunker notes from the guitarists.

1989-90 represented the last tour original bassist Bill Wyman played with the band. He and drummer Charlie Watts always had a good connection, and they show that here. One won’t find their best work, but they support the music well.

As for the video presentation of the concert, we get a decidedly meat and potatoes sensibility. That’s good because the director never resorts to annoying editing choices or gimmicks, but it’s bad because the show lacks much energy in terms of visuals. We find a decent sense of the performance but not one likely to really capture the spirit of the event.

Any complaints aside, I do like Tokyo Dome. After 25 years, I’m pleased to finally have a video that presents an entire 1989-90 concert, and Tokyo Dome finds the Stones on a good night. I’m happy to have this one in my collection.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture C/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Rolling Stones: Live at the Tokyo Dome 1990 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.33:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I didn’t expect much from circa 1990 video, and the presentation came with the ups and downs I anticipated.

Sharpness varied. Close-ups seemed acceptably detailed and concise, but shots that went farther out than that started to encounter problems. Definition faltered to different degrees with those images, but anything beyond a close-up tended to be pretty fuzzy.

I didn’t see many jagged edges or moiré effects, though, and the image lacked any obvious source issues. That meant a pleasing lack of video noise or interferecen.

Via clothes and lighting, Tokyo Done presented a pretty broad and lively palette, but the disc only managed to achieve moderate success in regard to the replication of these tones. At times, the various colors looked moderately bright and vivid, but they also could come across as rather muddy and messy.

As with sharpness, closer-up shots offered the best hues; the farther out the camera went, the more likely it became that the messiness overwhelmed the colors, though even tighter images still suffered from some runny tones. Reds appeared particularly problematic, though even those hues were up and down. For instance, some of the red lighting-drenched “Almost Hear You Sigh” looked pretty good, while other shots seemed blurry and oversaturated.

Blacks were fairly deep and firm, but low-light shots tended to seem a little too dense. Shadow detail appeared acceptable but no better. Ultimately, Tokyo Dome was a decent but unexceptional picture that merited a “C” based on age and source. No one will find an objectively appealing image here, but the nature of the video restricted how good it could look.

At least the show’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio proved to be more consistently satisfying. As one expects from a concert presentation, the soundfield remained focused on the front, where they showed strong stereo imaging. Mick’s vocals appeared firmly set in the middle.

The instruments were accurately located and they demonstrated nice breadth and delineation. I could distinguish the various instruments with ease, as they were placed in a natural and clear manner. They also blended together smoothly to create a forward soundstage that consistently created a real and involving setting.

As for the surrounds, they mostly featured crowd noise, but instrumentation also echoed in the back speakers. The track didn’t go from any “free-form” use of the surrounds such as the presentation of specific instrumentation there. The soundfield went with a pretty standard concert approach.

Audio quality was pleasing. Mick’s vocals worked fine, as they replicated the desired impressions well. The rest of the track also showed good clarity and a dynamic tone. The instruments remained crisp and vivid during the concert. At times I thought bass response could’ve been a little deeper, as the track was marginally thin during some tracks. This wasn’t a true issue – more of a preference – so it didn’t detract terribly from the presentation. Taken as a whole, the audio worked fine.

The Blu-ray itself includes no extras, but we do get a booklet. It offers a good essay from Richard Havers as well as photos and art from the tour. It acts as a nice complement to the set.

The package also provides a CD copy of the concert. Spread across two discs, we find the entire concert. I’m happy to have a portable, audio-only version of the show.

With Live At the Tokyo Dome 1990, we take a look at the Rolling Stones during their massive “comeback tour”. While not the best they’d ever play, the band seems solid in this well-executed, enjoyable show. The Blu-ray provides up and down visuals that represent the limitations of the source. Audio seems strong, and the package comes with a bonus 2-CD edition of the concert. As a Stones fan, I feel delighted to check out this show.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.4 Stars Number of Votes: 5
1 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main