The Rolling Stones: From the Vault – Hampton Coliseum (Blu-ray Review)

From the VaultFrom The Vault is a new series of live concerts from The Rolling Stones archive which are getting their first official release. ‘Hampton Coliseum Live In 1981’ is the first title in this series. The Rolling Stones American Tour in 1981 was the most successful tour of that year taking a then record $50 million dollars in ticket sales. The tour was in support of the critically and commercially successful ‘Tattoo You’ album. There were fifty dates on the tour which ran from Philadelphia at the end of September through to Hampton, Virginia on the 18th and 19th of December. The show on December 18th, which was also Keith Richards birthday, was the first ever music concert to be broadcast on television as a pay-per-view event. The footage has now been carefully restored and the sound has been newly mixed by Bob Clearmountain for this first official release of the show. 

From the Vault

The Show 

I don’t want to start off with puns and what not, but I will. They say that you can’t always get what you want but in this case, and many years in the making, you actually can get what you want. In this case The Rolling Stones and their 1981 Hampton Coliseum performance that ended the very successful Tattoo You tour. This tour grossed more than 50 million dollars in 1981 making it the highest grossing tour of that year. I can see why. The lads are full of energy and rock the coliseum to its foundations all while having a blast playing music together. Apparently these performances along with a few others belong to a series of performances called From the Vault and up until now they were considered bootlegs and not officially licensed out by the band. That has ended.

Another little known tidbit of information is that Hal Ashby directed these performances (Hampton Coliseum takes performances from their December 18 & 19 shows) respectively. The film starts out with a chronological order of tour dates from said tour as the camera slowly navigates its way from the bottom to the top of a pretty model’s painted up body. From there we’re the fly on the wall as we push, shove, and get berated at by security and management about trying to get to see the band before the show. There is no actual character but the way it’s set up some of the people speak into the camera as if they were talking to someone there when in reality it looks like they’re talking to the viewer. It’s a clever gag that frankly was lost on some folks. That or they played it really well. Bill Wyman cracks me up, because he’s so serious. In the prologue Mick asks him who’s the guy with the camera and Bill has this look of “what camera?” It was hilarious.

Once the boys launch into their 25+ songs set list they take no prisoners. They completely thrash the willing audience and even get the chance to funk it up a little. I think this faster version if Missing You is one of the best live versions out there. Wyman destroys it on the bass while Jagger seduces the crowd with his insane vocals. The rest of the band destroys the venue with their high energy. Here’s hoping that more of these Vault shows are brought over to the Blu-ray format, because if Hampton Coliseum is any indication – they will probably rock the format.



Under My Thumb

When The Whip Comes Down

Let’s Spend The Night Together



Black Limousine

Just My Imagination

Twenty Flight Rock

Going To A Go-Go

Let Me Go

Time Is On My Side

Beast Of Burden

Waiting On A Friend

Let It Bleed

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Band Intros

Happy Birthday Keith

Little T&A

Tumbling Dice

She’s So Cold

Hang Fire

Miss You

Honkey Tonk Woman

Brown Sugar

Start Me Up

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction


From the Vault


Encoding: AVC MPEG-4

Resolution: 480i upscaled to 1080i

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Clarity/Detail: Before you get your feathers ruffled From the Vault is taken from the finest SD elements available and upscaled to 1080i for your viewing pleasure. No, the video still doesn’t look great at all but this was the early 80’s and it was easier and cheaper to shoot on video than film. In any event the image looks washed out, overly grainy, etc. This is about as good as it will ever get on something like this.

Depth: There’s really no depth to the video. It’s got a very washed out appearance but what can you do?

Black Levels: Black levels are heavily crushed and I did spot instances of compression. C’est la vie.

Color Reproduction: Colors are big and bold – just check out Mick’s wardrobe. Yikes! Banding is an issue and pixilation creeps in.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are a bit soft and flat. If I didn’t know any better one would think that the lads are wearing foundation. I won’t say anything if you don’t say anything.

Noise/Artifacts: The video presentation is a bit noise at times but it’s inherent to the SD source.



From the Vault


Audio Format(s): DTS-HD MA 5.1, LPCM 2.0 (24-bit for both)

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics: No words need to be said about how robust and freaking awesome this lossless track is on Blu-ray. It rocks!

Low Frequency Extension: Wyman on the bass! He nails it on Missing You – it’s phenomenal. Watt’s bass pedal gets a workout, as well

Surround Sound Presentation: The crowd is extremely energetic and they come through the surround sound channels as if they were in the back of your home theater viewing area.

Dialogue Reproduction: Mick is in charge here and the vocals come through the center stage loud and clear!




From the Vault


There are no special features.



From the Vault


Like the previously released and reviewed Blu-ray: Queen: Live at the Rainbow ’74, From the Vault rocks the house in all its glorious lossless audio. Sure, the video is mediocre but when your source is mediocre then that’s what happens. Considering this was directed by Hal Ashby some special features could had been added. If you’re a Rolling Stones fan then you know what to do. If you’re not then this is a perfect way to get acquainted with the band and with music on Blu-ray. The audio track is phenomenal!




Order The Rolling Stones: From the Vault – Hampton Coliseum on Blu-ray!

From the Vault


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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