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 …?

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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 …

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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.

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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 ….

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Would You Let Your Daughter Marry a Rolling Stone?

The Rolling Stones are arriving in Montreal for their ’50 and Counting Tour’ amid all sorts of controversy …

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The World’s Oldest and Greatest Rock n Roll band have made a career out of making people uneasy, ‘out of their heads’ or just plain upset.

Whether it is urinating on a gas station wall in the sixties, erecting a giant billboard depicting a woman tied, bound and ‘Black and Blue’ in the seventies or former and original bassist Bill Wyman dating a thirteen year old in the eighties – the band are a bunch of pirates.

Raping, pillaging and looting their way into a chapter of Rock n Roll history which shall forever belong to them. An exclusive club where ‘please to meet you’ gains no entrance. ‘Walking Central Park after dark’ means nothing to the doorman.

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For fifty years – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts, remain the architects of something unreal but not imagined. Something born from the Blues. Born from Country. Born from Jazz. Born from R and B and Soul. Their offspring – wild children with names like Reggae, Funk and Disco, carrying on the legacy of Brian Jones with a toe forever embedded deeply in ‘Muddy Waters‘.

Scandals involving drugs, Prime Minister’s wives and more drugs – implanting memories turned – lore -turned – a blurred reality – turned – a never ending career. Millions of bands erected and millions of wannabes crumbled. ‘Meanwhile; The Stones carry on ‘running fifty red lights in their honor’. ‘Thank you Jesus – thank you Lord.’

blackblueJones’ death in Pooh’s pool. A fitting end to an era and a ‘boy child’. A ‘Mannish Boy‘ lost in a world of decadence and a desire to be loved. A ‘Prodigal Son‘ never returning home. Too many ‘little yellow pills’ for a scholar of Elmore James and Robert Johnson. A man whose ‘nasty habits’ contained more than ‘drinking tea at three.’ A nasty man towards women whose mastery of every instrument somewhat forgives the nature of his unforgivable ways. ‘Don’t you want to live with me …?’

The band, exiled to the South of France.

A self – imposed exodus  to make some money away from the Queen’s greedy paws. A get- away into a Nazi hotel. A summer of excess with the capitals SS providing dirty, gritty (demonic) digs in which to blend genres into a jam session doubled. A sordid affair which left many in ‘the cold grey dawn’. Mick Taylor understanding Richards ‘ ‘never keeping a dollar past sunset’ habits. Taylor becoming a Rolling Stone while plunging into a world beyond his control. The son of a Bluesbreaker depositing some of the most enduring guitar licks onto vinyl. An unsung hero whose legacy will  not be uncovered until music historians flip through the Stones’ songbook near the end of their ’75 and Counting Tour in the year 2038.’

This – on the tails of three gems. Three ‘stones’ …rolling_stones_beggars_banquea-t-front-wwwfreecoversnet

‘Let it Beed’, ‘Beggars Banquet’ and ‘Sticky Fingers’. ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ but if you try sometime … a discovery of ‘Moonlight Mile’, ‘Country Honk‘, ‘Salt of the Earth’ and ‘ Let it Loose’ will give you what you need.

A span of ten years providing a musical legacy which  most musicians never reach – even after fifty years of trying. A decade of diving into the roots of every important genre. Backed by a drummer whose love of Jazz placed the rhythm a second behind creating organized chaos. A sound never duplicated. A sloppy carpet upon which Jagger to dance upon. A rug never pinned to the floor. A dual feminine masculine tapestry built upon the remains of Tina Turner and James Brown. ‘Dance Little Sister Dance …’

Micheal Phillip Jagger, the son of a physical education instructor. A ‘boy-child’.  In the top ten of his class at the London School of Economics. An actor. ‘A wonderful bunch of guys’ according to his mate – Keith Richards. A chameleon able to keep his nose on the street. Allowing Brian Jones’ band the ingredients to stay relevant. Allowing Richards to rock while he rolled into the world of Pop, Disco and whatever else deemed the flavor of the moment. An insatiable appetite for women, the arts and global education. A definer and follower of the jet-setting ways of the most ardent explorers. The navigator of the Stones’ ship …

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‘Angie’ shocked the followers. ‘Respectable’ shocked the punks. ‘Start me Up’ shocked the naysayers. The jealous men and women who had to grow up while the Stones defied the rules once again. Time was on their side. ‘Time waits for noone’ except for the bad boys of Rock n Roll. Robert Johnson may have had company at the crossroads after all …

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Ronnie Wood, the new Stone. A sparring partner cast in the truer vain of a Jones – Richards collaboration. A Rod Stewart Faces castaway. A lover of the blues and a sparring partner for Keef. A drinking buddy whose happy-go-lucky nature by all accounts saved the Stones more than once. A man whose talents may have wasted amid the the sound of the band yet one of the only men able to withstand the backstage life. The ‘ancient art of weaving‘ was created. Two guitars exchanging licks, leads and rhythm. The Stones – part three …

‘It’s Only Rock n Roll but we like it …’

Rolling-Stones-Some-GirlsWyman. The self – professed ladies man. A conqueror of 20,000 members of the opposite sex in the ‘boudoir. The unheralded bass player seldom mentioned in the top fifty among his peers. A quiet, unassuming performer whose presence shadowed by his mates’ legendary presence. A student of the blues and the man whose anchor ( along with Watts) kept the pirate ship from sinking. A man who spent time at Disco clubs to obtain a feel of what would become his recognizable legacy. ‘Miss You’, the band’s most commercially successful song – not the same without William Perks’ nonporous infectious  foot -tapping signature.

The drug busts.

Society out to get the Stones from the beginning. Specifically – Keith Richards. A man who turned to drugs to cope. A ‘shy’ guy who could not handle the fame and all that came along with it. A fan of Roy Rogers, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Gram Parsons. A true student of musical integrity. The last student standing. The man who fought the law and won. A pirate’s pirate. The world’s most elegantly wasted human being and the only man responsible for some of the most poignant riffs in the history of Rock. ‘Jumpin Jack Flash, Satisfaction, Brown Sugar, Hony Tonk Woman, Start Me Up, Happy, Tumbin’ Dice – the list goes on …

The writer of many ballads, a wearer of his heart on his sleeve while able to stick you with a knife if he is crossed. The human riff. Aside from Watts, the only Stone to be a married and devoted Father for over thirty years. If Jagger and Richards run the corner store known as The Rolling Stones – Richards is the butcher. The meat and potatoes guy. The provider of the Blues’ legacy. The survivor. The only man able to withstand a nuclear war …

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The shows, the legendary tours.

Altering words on Ed Sullivan to ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’, a death at Altamont to end the sixties and the Woodstock – ian dream of peace and love. The circus – like atmosphere of the 1972 and 75 tours. The blueprint for all Rock n Roll tours to follow;  the plans intricately penned for sex, drugs and rock n roll. Laid out, in – your- face biblical commandments for everyone for Led Zeppelin to Bon Jovi to follow.

1981 and the first group to tour under a corporate banner. Record companies stones-13got rich for years – why not the Stones? The first to lay claim as the masters of the grandiose stadium tours. The masters of merchandising. The masters of their own domain. The opening acts clambering to hop on board. Aerosmith, Z.Z Top, Prince, Journey, George Thorogood – the who is who of music in each passing decade.

1989 and the first to broadcast in Pay per View. The colossal success of the Steel Wheels tour and a comeback of sorts following semi – successful solo jaunts by Jagger and Richards. A generation of new fans jumping on the Stones’ bandwagon. The music growing and cultivating yet suffering from a back catalog placed too high on a shelf for any group to obtain.

Enter Darryl Jones on bass. The man whose career to that point included stints with Miles Davis, Eric Clapton and Sting. A man who wanted to play with Richards’ other band – the X-Pensive Winos. Settling instead for the Stones. The newest of new at twenty years as part of the Stones part four.

ims1UWaiting on a Friend, Start me Up, Undercover of the Night, Mixed Emotions, Almost Hear You Sigh, Emotional Rescue, Love is Strong and Between and a Rock and a Hard Place – quality to make the Black Keys pale in comparison. Saint of Me, Rough Justice and the most recent Doom and Gloom. Songs huge by any other standards – dormant among the endless classics penned by the second biggest songwriting team in history. Two eight year old boys – turned men – turned – icons – turned rock royalty.  Legendary requires a makeover when discussing Jagger – Richards.

Voodoo Lounging in 1994, Bridging a gap to Babylon in ’97. Live Licks in 2002 and a return to former stompin’ grounds at places like L’Olympia in Paris. A Bigger Bang in 2006 –  including the largest rock show in history. One and a half million people joining the Peter Pan of music and his band of messy, mongrel  pirates on the beach in Brazil. Looting and pillaging everyone from the age of ten to ninety. Inducing timeless hits ‘down the throats’ of young and old alike. Incorporating the same energy displayed in 1962. An energy Rod Argent from the Zombies has never seen any band come close to in fifty years.

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If a club owner – any club owner from any part of the world needs to hire a rock band, they can call the Stones to deliver a three hour set. If someone requires a Reggae band – the Stones can be summoned to deliver the goods. If a country band is needed to quench the thirst of the most ‘red necked’ fanatics of the legacy of Cash, Williams or Nelson – once more, Jagger et al can do the job better than most. Pop? Disco and dance …? No problem for the the world’s greatest versatile band.

The Rolling Stones are arriving in Montreal for their ’50 and Counting Tour’ amid controversy over ticket prices.

Somehow – they will survive and place ‘Dead Flowers’ on our graves ….

The Rolling stones are at the Bell Center Sunday night …

Please stay tuned for my interview with Pat Travers!

The Stones – Back with a Vengeance!

London 25th November 2012, O2 Arena

Tonight’s set list:

I Wanna Be Your Man
Get Off Of My Cloud
It’s All Over Now
Paint It Black
Gimme Shelter (with Mary J. Blige)
Wild Horses
All Down The Line
Going Down (with Jeff Beck)
Out Of Control
One More Shot
Doom And Gloom
It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (with Bill Wyman)
Honky Tonk Women (with Bill Wyman)

Band Intros

Before They Make Me Run
Happy
Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor)
Miss You
Start Me Up
Tumbling Dice
Brown Sugar
Sympathy For The Devil

ENCORE
You Can’t Always Get What You Want (with choir)
Jumpin’ Jack Flash