The Rolling Stones Roll Along

StageEarlyIt was by far the oldest audience I have ever been around. I mean, that really was your father’s Oldsmobile in the parking lot right?

I never ever thought I’d see the Stones with my son — at any age or at any time — in my life or his. He’s 14, and listens to and respects a wide variety of music. He understands where the Rolling Stones fit in the history of Rock n’ Roll, and he really wanted to see Keith and Mick live…as in, you know, alive.

The stage was set against a giant mouth — with big lips from edge to edge, and a tongue “pit area” for the standing crowd. Imagine for a moment, taking one of your own body parts and building a stage around it. Yeah, just imagine.

Honestly they sounded great. They could have played all night, but a 22 song set list, was a virtual history of rock n’ roll.

The entire band opened on a naked stage, with only microphones in front of them, and few sparse speakers. It looked exactly like a TV show set from the 60’s — right out of a black and white TV. I’m sure that was the effect they were going for. And it would have fit the demographic of the audience.

In Keith Richards told a great story in his book “Life”. “We spent the whole night in that goddamn kitchen, and I mean, we’re the Rolling Stones, like the blues Kings, and we’ve got some food, piss out the window or down the sink, it’s no big deal. And I said, “If we want to get out of here, Mick, we better come up with something.”

“We sat there in the kitchen and I started to pick away at these chords….”It is the evening of the day.” I might have written that. “I sit and watch the children play,” I certainly wouldn’t have come up with that…”

Early in the show, Mick introduced the song as the first song he and Keith ever wrote. Then Taylor Swift joined the song and it became a duet. Not a bad idea, not a bad song, but she just didn’t sound right… and I’m being kind. All those years ago, and in 2013 it became a pop duet.

Emotional Rescue followed, with the pounding disco beat and all the memories of the early 80’s. The crowd became a dance fest, except for the Baby Boomers right behind me — the chair dancing crowd. Sigh.

Honky Tonk Women came in at song number eleven, just before “You got the Silver, performed by Keith singing solo with acoustic guitar. Yes, he can sing, and he sounds a bit like Dylan, raspy voice and all, even understandable.

Start Me Up got the crowd back up, and knowing that song gave keith Richards fits as a failed reggae song made it more interesting to listen to. The set ended with Sympathy For The Devil, a song I didn’t think would sound good live, but in fact sounded very good live, with a great sing-a-long part for audience participation. And then they left the stage.

I figured two of three encores would be Flash and Satisfaction, and sure enough, the encore set ended with Satisfaction — and then it hit me. The Stones came of age when TV ads were just hitting their stride. The Stones grew up with TV, and the lyrics are just a mirror of those days. Actually the Stones have lived to see the rise and fall of mass advertising, since the masses have more options than ever before.

“When I’m watching my TV
And a man comes on and tells me
How white my shirts can be
But he can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke
The same cigarettes as me
I can’t get no…

It’s all right there.


P. 142, Keith Richards, LIFE

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