|photo by George A. Paul|
Thanks to a purchase of a pair of $85 tickets through the band's web site, my friend and I were among randomly fans chosen to watch the second Anaheim show on Saturday night from inside the general admission tongue pit.
Each of the shows on this tour include 3-4 wild card song slots which rotate. Some stops - like tonight's second LA Staples Center gig - even get a fan chosen song via the web site.
More unique is the fact that all concerts so far have included a special guest artist onstage. In O.C., we had Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl on guitar and vocals during "Bitch." I can't recall another recent big name tour where every show had a guest. Grohl gave the song an added fierceness on electric guitar and vocals (see my picture above) and shook his long hair all around.
Having only seen the band live four other times in the past (dating back to the "Steel Wheels" Tour at the LA Coliseum in 1989) from further vantage points, it was a revelation to see how tightly everyone plays together up close.
Even though the four core band members are all pushing 70 or beyond, they still show no signs of slowing down. Especially Mick Jagger.
He constantly ran around the Honda Center stage, giving fans in other areas of the arena a closer view of his rubbery moves and was in fine voice throughout the 2 hour, 20-minute set. At one point, Jagger joked about his driver having to take several different freeways to avoid traffic en route from LA to OC.
Ron Wood and Keith Richards both did a great job on lead and rhythm guitars and their traditional "weaving" playing style. Wood had a blast onstage and often paid attention to concergoers up front, flung guitar picks, acknowledged young family members near the front or just plain hammed it up (I sure wish he could reform The Faces with Rod Stewart after the next Stones hiatus!). Wood even engaged in some tasty slide and pedal steel work. Meanwhile, Charlie Watts kept the rhythm steady as a well-oiled machine.
This tour comes on the back of "Grrr!," a 50-track, 3CD career retrospective released last November via UMe/Interscope/ABKCO Records. The digipak has a half dozen archival photos within the booklet and two new songs - "Doom and Gloom" and "One More Shot." Both beefy rockers fit in naturally alongside all the classics on Saturday night.
Highlights among the 22-song set included "Gimme Shelter," where Jagger mixed it up with longtime backing vocalist Lisa Fischer, the freshened-up groove on "Sympathy for the Devil," regular tour guest/onetime Stones guitarist Mick Taylor's bluesy playing on an extended "Midnight Rambler" (Jagger's harmonica chops remain very much intact), "Start Me Up" (that opening continues to be shiver inducing) and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (USC Thornton Chamber Singers did the intro).
Get Off of My Cloud
It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)
Paint It Black
You Got Me Rocking
Bitch (with Dave Grohl)
Doom and Gloom
One More Shot
Honky Tonk Women
You Got the Silver
Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor)
Start Me Up
Sympathy for the Devil
You Can't Always Get What You Want (with the USC Thornton Chamber Singers)
Jumpin' Jack Flash
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (with Mick Taylor)
Remaining North America tour dates:
May 25, June 6: Toronto/Air Canada Centre
May 28, 31, June 3: Chicago/United Center
June 9: Montreal/Bell Centre
June 12, 14: Boston/TD Garden
June 18, 21: Philadelphia/Wells Fargo Center
June 24: Washington DC/Verizon Center
In related news, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Crossfire Hurricane on DVD/Blu-ray on May 21.
Directed by Brett Morgen, Crossfire Hurricane provides a new perspective on the Stones’ journey from blues-obsessed teenagers in the early 1960s to rock royalty. The film has a uniquely immersive style and tone, placing the viewer right on the frontline of the band’s most legendary escapades.
Crossfire combines extensive historical footage, much of it widely unseen, with contemporary commentaries by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood and former Stones Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor, plus period interviews, extensive live performance material and news archives.
Bonus features on the DVD and Blu-Ray include previously unreleased concert footage - “Live in Germany ‘65,” NME Poll Winners concert footage from 1964 and 1965, an interview with Morgen, “The Sound and Music of Crossfire Hurricane,” footage from The Arthur Haynes Show (1964) and the theatrical trailer.