The Rolling Stones new DVD, Ole Ole Ole!, is a behind-the-scenes documentary about the excitement and ultimate struggle to make their historic Havana, Cuba, concert in 2016 become a reality. All this was happening while the band was on a super-short tour of Latin America, so you get the story of their trek through Buenos Aires, Rio, Lima and Santiago interspersed with the reality of putting on a major concert in a country that had long been off-limits for musical artists.
Being a documentary more than a concert film allows for more scenery and local color. The music is predominately a soundtrack for each chapter of the journey; some of it background noise, some are clips from the actual performances in the noted city and a couple are on-the-spot delicacies that Stones fans will love. For example, in one scene, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are sitting in a dressing room singing “Honky Tonk Women” in their best twang; and in another, Richards is playing acoustic guitar in a duet with the waves and birds below his room on the beach.
What is most noticeable is the impact of the Stones fifty-plus years since their first concert back in England. The fans are voracious in their love for the band. They unashamedly cry huge crocodile tears upon the first notes of the first song. They proudly sport t-shirts and tattoos with the lips logo. They sit and wait for hours for the gates to open and then run full speed to get a spot at the front. Charlie Watts makes the remark that, “It’s just like a circus – a circus we’ve made.” And he’s right. If you’re not a fan and wonder why this scraggly band has lasted all these years, the clips of fans all across Latin America should give you some insight into what everyone else sees.
Some interesting bits include Richards and his rain stick. “It works but it’s not infallible,” he laughs after the rains do indeed come after his “ceremony” in Brazil. Ronnie Wood explains that, “I make paintings to keep sane.” And Jagger talks about performing as a child at family get-togethers, while he walks amongst the tombs in a cemetery in Argentina. It’s these little moments that fans look for in anything the Stones put out.
The Havana concert does indeed come to fruition, despite setbacks and date changes due to President Obama’s visit. But they drew the line when the Pope asked them to move the concert to a day other than Good Friday. “The Pope’s not my manager,” stated Richards. And this is basically where Ole Ole Ole! ends and Havana Moon, the concert film, begins. You see the band walking to backstage, Jagger mugging for the camera and then stepping out to the opening chords of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”
The Bonus material is seven full songs from the various cities leading up to Cuba: “Out Of Control,” “Paint It Black,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Sympathy For The Devil,” “You Got The Silver,” “Midnight Rambler” and “Miss You.” The accompanying booklet contains photos of each concert’s poster.
Available on DVD and BluRay, Ole Ole Ole! fills in the missing pieces for the Stones March 25, 2016, Havana concert alongside Havana Moon. A good companion with more talk than music.