Rolling Stones musicianship shines through stage flash
In Chicago Friday night, the Rolling Stones performed a show that was much more revitalized and lean than any of their mega-blockbuster extravaganzas in recent decades.
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He demanded the audience stay with him, and if his constant stream of finger commands didn’t work, he tried wiggling each of his legs in several directions; in one moment, he slid across the stage so effortlessly, it created the impression it was atop nothing but air.Skip to next paragraph
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While Mr. Jagger’s tight relationship with Richards is legendary, he often looked more magnetized to Taylor. Both men started “Midnight Rambler” bunched tightly together – Jagger on harmonica – and the lengthy blues looked back to the band’s Chicago roots.
Except for temporarily donning a ridiculous furry black cape, Jagger restrained from wearing anything but stretchy black clothing – that is, except for a Chicago Blackhawks jersey he held up, but did not try on, to salute the team’s recent conference semifinals victory.
“On Monday, we decided to do the Rolling Stones On Ice,” he offered.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this fifth decade incarnation of the Stones is drummer Charlie Watts, who motored the band forward, occasionally revealing not just an impeccable swing, but also impressive stamina, delivering unexpected blows and dancing accents.
The 22-song show did not neglect predictable hits that stuck to the band’s earlier era through 1980. Failing to age well was the quasi-disco of “Miss You” and “Emotional Rescue,” but, remarkably, the swagger of a new song, “Doom and Gloom,” seemed to energize the band, especially Jagger, whose vocals snapped with a bite.
What served the band well was sticking to the core of its touring players – Darryl Jones on bass, Chuck Leavell on keyboards, Bobby Keys and Tim Ries on saxophones, plus two backup singers – and not the more wieldy lineups of the past.
One guest appeared unannounced – Sheryl Crow, whose spidery legs looked like they had the potential to ensnare Jagger’s own on “All Down the Line.” But otherwise, this band was not lacking.
An old rock cliché is that the best bands operate like gangs, a description that likely originated with these players. Between songs they talked, hugged, knocked into one other, reflecting an interactive fellowship.
The Stones have dogged criticism about their age since they entered their forties. For some, the uncomfortable reality may be this: Like the veteran Chicago blues heroes they emulated as young men, the Stones are showing that, far beyond the formulas of early commercial success is a rare musical alchemy that is only accessible through time. The trick is surviving.
Get Off My Cloud
It’s Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)
Paint It Black
Shine a Light
Al Dow the Line
Doom and Gloom
One More Shot
Can’t You Hear Me Knocking
Honky Tonk Women
You Got the Silver
Start Me Up
Sympathy For the Devil
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Jumping Jack Flash
Making a Difference