So, was it the last time the Rolling Stones will perform in the U.S.?
Watching the band at the last U.S. stop on their 50 & Counting Tour Monday night (June 24) at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., there was no indication that they may pack it in. In fact, depending on your perspective (and your age) their two-hour show either defied or defined what is possible for a band whose members are all AARP age. Which is to say, they are still the best rock and roll band in the world on a good night. And Monday was certainly that: a very good night.
After that came “Paint It Black.” Charlie Watts, subdued as ever, pounded the drums — but it was all in the wrists. He remains one of the coolest but least attention-hungry drummers in rock and roll. “Gimme Shelter” followed, featuring the group’s powerful backing singer, Lisa Fischer (featured in the documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom, about support vocalists) sharing the spotlight with Mick Jagger. Earlier in the tour, Mary J. Blige and Lady Gaga took the iconic Merry Clayton vocal part in the song, but Fischer proved that she owns that song as much as anyone. She’s a reminder that you don’t have to be famous — or want to be — to be great. (The same goes for the band’s other backing singer, Bernard Fowler.) Meanwhile, the formidable guitar team of Keith Richards and Ron Wood demonstrated how they “weave” around each other, their distinct styles complementing the other’s: Richards’ stabbing at his instrument blending with Wood’s more fluid style.
After “Shelter,” Jagger welcomed the audience, noting that the band first came to Washington, D.C. in 1965, mentioning that back then, First Lady Ladybird Johnson used to come to see the band. “I don’t think President Obama is here tonight,” he said. “But I’m sure he’s listening in!”
Photo Credit: Maria Ives for Radio.com
Jagger then got behind an electric piano for a relatively rare track, “Worried About You” from 1981′s Tattoo You. His falsetto might not be quite what it was three decades ago, but the song nonetheless was one of the highlights of a night that had many.
Each night on this tour the band take an online poll to decide the “fan’s choice” song, and tonight’s winner was “Street Fighting Man.” (For those keeping score, it beat out “Rocks Off,” “Just My Imagination,” “You Got Me Rocking” and “Live With Me.”) That was followed by one of the band’s funkiest numbers, “Emotional Rescue,” and again, Mick’s falsetto did the job.
The one-two punch of their new songs — “Doom And Gloom” and “One More Shot” — from last year’s compilation GRRR! were next. For the record, the new songs didn’t lead to an bathroom/beer line exodus, which is often the case at concerts by veteran acts (and has been the case with the Stones in the past). Both songs showed that they still have some new contributions to make to their unbelievable songbook.
– Brian Ives, Radio.com