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Fresh, "critical" review from Phoenix (via Rocks Off)
Posted by: Baboon Bro ()
Date: August 13, 2005 04:24

Must show ya all this from Rocks Off-board,
user LadyJane posted this:

Toronto show proves the Stones are better than ever after 43 years


The Rolling Stones
Wednesday night
The Phoenix concert Hall, Toronto

TORONTO - "OK. I can die now."
I wasn't the only one to utter these words Wednesday night as the Rolling Stones concluded an awe-inspiring surprise set in the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto.

The 500 or so people lucky enough to score a $10 ticket to Wednesday's show, another of the "dress rehearsal" gigs the Stones have made a tradition of performing in Toronto just prior to a world tour, witnessed a band at the peak of its collective powers. That this band has been performing together for 43 years - the longest uninterrupted run of any outfit in rock history - makes such a statement powerful.

The Stones - Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood and longtime supporting musicians bassist Darryl Jones, keyboardist Chuck Leavell, vocalists Bernard Fowler, Lisa Fischer and Blondie Chaplin and a four-piece horn section led by veteran Bobby Keys - could easily have offered a show long on nostalgia and heavy on the hits. Instead, the group showcased four new songs, dug deep for some classic album tracks and saved the hits for the thrilling conclusion of a 90-minute set. The crowd's enthusiasm bordered on hysteria from start to finish, and the band looked thrilled, both with itself and its audience.

"A Bigger Bang" is the title of the new Stones disc, which is poised to drop Sept. 6, and if Wednesday's show offered any indication, it's going to be a real corker.

Hitting the stage with a gutsy, primal slice of boogie titled "Rough Justice," the Stones earned their mantle of "the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band" by the time they hit the first chorus. Jagger, lithe and incredibly fit as he makes his way toward his mid-60s, strutted his wares with the grace of a man less than half his age. Flanked by the inimitable twin-guitar interplay of Richards and Wood, he made it clear that the role of rock frontman is both his creation and his birthright. On "Live With Me," Jagger was in fine voice, his wiry body undulating wildly as he squeezed nuanced emotion out of his at once high-brow and vulgar, blues-based art.

"19th Nervous Breakdown" received a makeover as a Muddy Waters-style slow and heavy blues. Richards wrenched exquisitely barbaric Chuck Berry riffs from his mighty Gibson semi-hollow body, punctuating his gloriously gruff-voiced background vocals. Wood looked remarkably sober and spry as he offered response to Richards' call, completing the seemingly telepathic form of six-string interplay the two have christened the ancient form of weaving.

Behind it all, the terminally nonplussed Watts reveled in his offhanded, just-a-touch-behind-the-beat trap kit mastery, ably assisted in the bottom-end department by the soulful Jones, whose addition to the ranks gave the Stones a new lease on life.

The tunes came fast and furious, the revved-up rocker "She's So Cold" suggesting that the Stones just might have created punk rock while they were making the blues safe for white folks the world over, and "Dead Flowers" hinting that country music was made all the hipper for their dalliances with it.

"Back of My Hand," another new tune, found Jagger and Wood sharing slide guitar duties on a Chicago blues stomp and segued gracefully into "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," as the crowd danced and screamed along during the chorus.

Richards took the microphone for the reggae-informed instant-classic "In for Me," a song he took obvious delight in nailing to the rear wall of the club. His side of the stage was flanked by a rowdy contingent of Keith-worshippers, many of them sporting the elegant rogue's look and razor-shredded coiffure he patented in the '60s. They raised their glasses, chanting "Keef! Keef!," as the world's most dignified pirate hit his knees and bowed before them in thanks.

"Oh No, Not You Again," the first single from the forthcoming "A Bigger Bang," is another aggressive, angry-but-humorous rocker in the fine Stones tradition of dressing-down a romantic partner. It was followed by a surprisingly moving take on Bob Marley and Peter Tosh's timeless reggae rallying call "Get Up, Stand up."

The show culminated in the three-pronged attack that was Otis Redding's "Mr. Pitiful," the evergreen "Tumbling Dice" and, of course, "Brown Sugar," which received a treatment closer to the original recorded version than I've heard the Stones stick in a few decades.

Only one encore, a torrid "Jumpin' Jack Flash," but I certainly heard no one complaining. This could well be the Rolling Stones' final tour. Looks like the band has saved its best for last.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2005-08-13 04:24 by Baboon Bro.

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