The Stones – As Usual; An Event …

The Rolling Stones – fittingly, arrived on stage at the Bell Center last evening, practically fifty minutes late. Fifty and Counting …?


As with every tour or show since 1989, they arrive in each city under a cloud of various predictions or guesses. Unlike their ‘solo’ contemporaries ( for reasons best left to the overweight, non – active, jaded and ‘I am stuck in a shitty life’ DVD armchair viewers), Andrew Loog Oldham‘s group – take the blame for getting old.

Non – gracefully.

Why can’t people ( veteran music writers raise your hands), accept the simple fact The Rolling Stones are continuing to do what they do best while struggling with Mother Nature and her cruel – aging ways. With the opening chords of ‘Get Off of My Cloud’ and the sheer presence of men historic beyond historic – everyone in attendance should immediately have tossed their critical pens into a vat of prime 1962 ink. After all, if a retired plumber takes two hours longer to fix a pipe – really, who gives a ‘wrench’ as long as the pipe is fixed.

‘It’s Only Rock n Roll’, ‘Paint it Black’ and  ‘Gimme Shelter’ were performed by the three – then four,  of the men who created the blue print. The template for everyone else to follow. How many people would pay six hundred dollars to witness Van Gogh or Picasso paint? Quite a few. Billions globally in fact …

The Rolling Stones have paid their dues. Enough to be able charge whatever they want if people deem the prices enough to witness history. Without their defiance – there is no Led Zeppelin. Without their willpower – there is no Jack White.  Without the Rolling Stones,  a society where popular music consists solely on Beatle and Beach Boy – driven ‘Coldplay’ and ‘Oasis’ tunes may exist. Imagine a world filled with nothing but Roses. Void of thorns. Void of spirit. An orb floating through space known as ‘ a weak peace – loving bunch of pussys’  by the remainder of the Rock n Roll solar system. Planet earth is blue and there would be nothing we could do about it …


The Rolling Stones have done something about it for fifty years and last night, they delivered a concert at seventy – five percent of their one time ability. Through no fault of their own.

Twenty – five percent missing. With the exception of Micheal Phillip Jagger.

The brother of Chris, the target of so much governmental hatred. The brilliant specimen of a man in so many ways, continues to sing as if he was frozen in time. His voice, dipping wonderfully into the Blues, the Soul and the R and B classroom from which he graduated. If the Stones were not playing every three or four nights on their current tour, Jagger – without so much as batting an eye, could dance around his famed tongue with ease. Therein lies the genius withing the man. Better to tone down each show than risk burning out and fading away. Time on one’s side – one thing. Physics – something else entirely.

A glance around the Bell Center last night and with a Chuck Berry ear to the ground – it is easy to discover Jagger’s own words ringing true.

‘Wild Horses’, ‘Honky Tonk Woman‘, ‘Happy’, ‘Miss You’, ‘Start Me Up’, ‘Tumblin’ Dice’, ‘Brown Sugar’, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, ‘Can’t Always Get What You Want’, ‘Jumpin Jack Flash‘ and ‘Satisfaction’. Eleven classic songs played more often by the Stones in concert than the number of occasions Barack Obama has lied to the America People. Songs sung so often – a wonder that Jagger himself does not turn on the Karaoke machine and get Stephen Tyler todance for him.


Every Stones tour, due to the very hard work the band put in for three decades, gathers moss. Grandparents tell their children and so on and so on. Thousands if not millions every year – wanting, yearning to attend a Stone concert to hear the songs for the very first time live. Eardrums losing their virginity to an inflatable penis long forgotten.

Diehard Stones’ fans do not like it yet – so diehard,  it just does not matter.

Within each planned concert set-list, lies the gems and the moments. The Keef – isms, the Bobby Keys’ Sax solos, the once – in- show moment when Jagger and Richards recoil to the two young boys meeting at the train station with Blues records in tow. The ‘Dead Flowers’, the ‘Emotional Rescues’ – the ( current old- now -new again) Mick Taylor riffs. Since the band first appeared in America in 1964, there is a fascination to see ‘the skinny guy with the big lips’ and his ‘scruffy’, unwashed  mates perform.

Every tour also contains the new songs. The tunes which – upon release, receive the ho – hum reception without the ‘glass of wine in hand’. The very same tunes which – once upon a time,  contained names like ‘Angie’, ‘When the Whip Comes Down’, ‘She’s So Cold’, ‘One Hit to the Body‘, ‘Terrifying’, ‘Love is Strong’ and ‘Saint of Me’. Ho-hums turned into ‘just more bullets’ in the Stones gigantic assault rifle. In 2013 – ‘Doom and Gloom’ and ‘One More Shot’ can now be added to the continuous war on the Justin Biebers of the world. A pair of songs which will somehow outlast the biggest hit a band like The Sheepdogs could ever shake from their soon – to- be dusty fur.

The Bell Center last night, rocked. The crowd rolled. The contingent containing the make – up of a family of Rock n Roll post – Pink Floyd picnickers – departed awestruck, pleased and ready to go back for more.

A feeling The Rolling Stones have left their fans with for fifty years. Fifty and Counting ….


Crossfire Hurricane ; A Review of the Rolling Stones Documentary

Are the Rolling Stones a bunch of guys who live in your blood? Or – are they a bunch of hooligans that penned many great songs yet would never attend brunch at your parents’ place …?

The response to the above; extremely important to an insight of the documentary – Crossfire Hurricane.

A diehard fan knows the stories. A passing fan will be surprised by the history of the band. A music fan will be impressed and suddenly hold the Stones in a higher realm. Young Stones’, passing or music fanatics will be astounded by the route the ‘ bad boys’ of rock n’roll chose to arrive on top of the heap. It was not easy for Mick and the boys yet boy did they have fun …

A history lesson evolves before the eyes.

Life today, so carefree … Void of many of the taboos which dominated society ( especially in England ) in the sixties. The Rolling Stones were defiant. The Rolling Stones were ugly. The Rolling Stones were defiantly ugly yet beautiful in the eyes of a teenage demographic chortled by the bourgeoise ways of the English establishment. Any establishment – for that matter …

Music fans raised on Eminem, Hip Hop, Rap or any artist who is or was considered a ‘hellraiser’ or ‘ anti – establishment’ , should watch and learn from the masters. The Stones opened the fridge doors for everyone who followed to steal a beer and toast the police. Fifty years later, any member of the Stones makes every cool person in music pale in comparison.

And you thought Gun n’ Roses were bad …?

Crossfire Hurricane delivers the message which the Stones’ first manager concoted in a very brilliant way. It leaves the audience with a taste of the coreness of evil which appeared to exude from Mick, Keith, Charlie, Brian, Bill, Mick Taylor and Ronnie Wood. Andrew Loog Oldham never bothered to demonstrate the other sides of the Stones. The relationships, the songwriting – all the normalcy included in every person’s DNA. Oldham created myths, the Stones became the myths and continued to rape and pillage for the following forty -five years.

The film offers more of the same. Why not? It works …..

Early concert footage demonstates the boys as a bunch of kids who wanted to play music and were thrust into an era ripe to gather no moss. Thanks to Oldham, they were anti – Beatles, anti – government and anti – everything. The film drives this message ‘ right down your throat’. Intermittenly dotting the tale with the Stones’ dominant and signature ( if not evil ) songs.

Therein lies the problem.

Much of the band’s musical legacy is left on the shelves in the way classic rock radio operates. A non- fan , because of this – assumes the Stones’ makeup consists of the same amount of hits as Aerosmith or Bon Jovi. The film excluding all the acoustic gems from Beggars Banquet, the back-to-blues basics of Sticky Fingers and the Eden -esque blend of both on Let it Bleed. The grittiest repetoire ever on Exile on Main Street? Hidden by the excesses which created the songbook second only to the Beatles.

At the quarter century mark of the band’s existence, a film was released with the title 25×5; The Complete History of the Rolling Stones. In many ways, that film contained a more profound look into the pyches of the group. Crossfire Hurricane, amid the fanfare of a half century celebration,sh ows never before seen footage with a running commentary by the Stones. Some words new – many old. It is a moving picture cousin to the coffee table book released in October.

There exists no modern day images of the men who are now in their late sixties and early seventies. There is no footage of the band post -1981 save for their appearance in Scorceses’ documentary / concert film in 2006. The film ends as the Peter Pan of rock gyrates to the song ‘All Down the Line‘ from Exile on Main Street.The wrinkled survivor Richards on one side – the ‘new’ Stone, Ronnie Wood, on the other…

Behind everyone beats the heart of the Rolling Stones. A man whose drumming ways – provide the most insightful quote of the film. Former and original bassist Bill Wyman explaining how drummer Watts follows Richards and not the other way around like most bands. This according to Wyman, places Watts and the other member of the battery – nano seconds behind. ‘A dangerous place to be’ says William Perks aka Wyman. ‘At any minute, the whole thing can fall apart’.

Much like the Jagger – Richards relationship, Keith ‘s body, Wood’s sobriety and the Stones themselves.

After fifty years, maybe everyone should listen to Charlie. Including the great grandchildren serving brunch …