It's Only Rock'n Roll
In a rare playful moment, Mick imitated Michael Jackson with several "Hooooos" when he donned his tophat for "Sympathy." At the end of the show, Mick kicked his energy into a 5th gear not always seen at shows now, proving this 62 year old man simply is not human. Every killer show is a victory over father time and Mick took a final bow alone in front of Charlie Watts' drums as the crowd of 20,000 strong roared with satisfaction. How the Rolling Stones can perform at this level with all they've been through is a mystery for the ages. When they come back on their next tour, no one will exclaim "Oh no, not you again!"
The stage MOVED out into the far end of the arena - slowly gliding across the room through the center of it all - so that The Stones were engulfed by the crowd all around, playing a mini set out on a little pod or island in the middle of a sea of adoring fans. The whole show had a very BLUESY tone to it. A lot of slide playing. Heavy on guitars! Darryl Jones rocked hard on the bass. Chuck Leavall smiled all night behind the keyboards. The singers were great. The horn section, with Bobby Keyes, was NOT overdone; tasty, like Van Morrison uses it. The risers and wings to either side of the stage allowed the band members - all WIRELESS - to move freely to within INCHES of the audience.
Jagger was athletically amazing - thin, ripped, and powerful like Bruce Lee. A JAGUAR in motion. But Keith stole the show. He locked-in with Charlie on a groove on every song, often sitting right in front of Charlie's bass drum, or standing up in front of Charlie and looking right at him as they played - all smiles. That's the AXIS - BOLD AS LOVE! of The Rolling Stones - not bass & drums, but Rhythm Guitar and Drums (just as it was with me and Johnny in Landing In Libra) - with Charlie following Keith, the leader of the band. At the end, they all came out for a grand bow to the audience, having given themselves to the service of the Muse - 100 % - as the professionals that they are. These men rock HARD! ... Man, my ears are still bleeding! ... Let It Bleed. ... YOWZA!
I think they messed up on Start Me Up, but what may have been missing in precision was made up for with enthusiasm. By the second song they were in full sprint. Back of My Hand was pure blues; Jagger could have been covered in New Orleans mud. The B-stage set was superb and driving. I would have liked a few more "non-standards" rather than the mega-concert songs, but the DC crowd was clearly there for the standards. Although I have never heard JJF like that before, everything set to 11.
Sure, there were four new songs and the third ever Mr. Pitiful, but I generally don't go to Stones shows to see them cover their icons. Where was our big breakout from the old catalog? There was no Sway or Rambler or similar song in the 7-8 spots. I know it's too much to expect Let It Loose ever, but really! Beast of Burden and Bitch in the 7-8 spots and Infamy in Keef's set were momentum killers. Shattered was an uninspired choice on the little stage. The warhorse section needed something beyond the usual (e.g., "Paint It Black you devil!"). And the show was a bit on the short side (only 1:50). I expect better in Charlottesville.
And no slows really for the full band ? Laugh I Nearly Cried, Memory Motel, Worried about You, even Angie or Wild Horses if we must�. Great versions of Beast of Burden and YCAGWYW but hardly slow songs as such�
I got the impression high speed and volume ( not helped by a poor mix) either suggested they feel a need to prove they can �rock� still, but it hardly needs proving, or that they are racing to the exit.
The set list problem can be easily fixed : a war horse less here, and a more inspired choice there, and ditch the cover or at least replace it with something that is truly �theirs�. A funk, reggae or countryish number would break things up too.and what about something from Aftermath ?
I shall see how it feels after Philly�.
Look, all in all it was a very fun night with a great band and some of the greatest songs in the rock'n' roll songbook, but there are plenty of others in their repertoire which deserve an airing ....
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