Rolling Stones reunite with their more dangerous past at ‘secret’ LA show

22 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Rolling Stones all set for Petco Park show.

“We’re going to do something we’ve never done before,” Mick Jagger said early in the Rolling Stones’ not-so-“secret” show Wednesday night at the 1,200-capacity Fonda Theatre in Hollywood to launch the group’s 2015 Zip Code tour. You wouldn’t think the “world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band,” 50-plus years down the line, would have much left to accomplish (or at least attempt to accomplish), but this was the Stones’ first time playing one of their albums in its entirety. Almost to a man, the members of this pioneering English rock band grew up idolizing such American blues, jazz and R&B greats as Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry and Louis Armstrong. Unsurprisingly, nobody groused that the Stones were simply engaging in a savvy marketing move to sell more copies of the recently remastered edition of “Sticky Fingers,” the album that gave the world “Brown Sugar,” “Dead Flowers,” “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” “Wild Horses” and a half-dozen others. The Stones played for an hour and a half, including the entire “Sticky Fingers” album, with the same enthusiasm they had when the record was released in 1971. “So this is our first show of our tour,” an animated Mick Jagger told the crowd. “Tonight we’re doing something we’ve never done before…

Yet, if the early ‘70s did constitute some rough going for the Stones — emotionally, physically, financially — Wednesday’s show was characterized more by the broad smiles Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards flashed often, along with some faux-menacing mugging from guitarist Ron Wood, while cool-as-ever drummer Charlie Watts nonchalantly powered the whole rock juggernaut for a muscular 90 minutes. Not so, the Rolling Stones, who launched their career in 1962 and whose sold-out Sunday concert at Petco Park kicks off their third consecutive world tour in as many years. Jagger himself was impressively animated, prancing and preening in his signature style, twisting, contorting and shimmying his still-lithe body in ways that seemed to belie his 71 years. The lineup: Jagger, Richards, Wood and Watts, bassist Darryl Jones and touring keyboardist Chuck Leavell, supplemented at the Fonda by a pair of sax/woodwind players, two singers and an additional keyboardist.

With his white hair and gray pallor, The 71-year-old guitarist kind of looks like he’s made of cigarette ashes, but his guitar is ever young, and Richards looked like he was having fun. At times, there were as many as 11 musicians on stage, with two keyboardists, two backup singers, two saxophone players and a bassist joining the four Stones members. “I should have warned you before, but there may be a lot of ’60s drug references on this record that may puzzle some people. A decade earlier, for their Licks tour, they built a 117-date world tour around a mélange of appearances at clubs, small theaters, amphitheaters, arenas and stadiums, with L.A. stops at the Wiltern Theater on one end of the excursion and Dodger Stadium at the other.

Meanwhile, Richards’ series of near-fatal drug overdoses and debilitating habits have become cautionary tales for any young (or not so young) musicians. “I ain’t there yet!” Richards chortled, in between puffs on an omnipresent cigarette. “So far, so good. I think a clean and healthy life, plenty of exercise, go to church on a Sunday.” Yes, the man who co-wrote the epic “Sympathy for the Devil” in 1968 with Jagger does have a sly sense of humor — and the constitution of an ox (or five). Still, a smattering of concert-goers managed to sneak their devices in, snapping photos or trying to take video footage surreptitiously. “Wouldn’t it be so much better to remember this show in your heads and in your hearts that on your iPhones?” one of the band’s crew announced just before the show kicked off with “Start Me Up,” which segued into “When the Whip Comes Down,” then “Exile on Main Street’s” “All Down the Line” and then the “Sticky Fingers” songs.

It took place in a bygone decade, when the two violently argued over the cocaine they were freebasing at the time. “(Richards) barged in, broke the glass bowl of the pipe and came straight at my face. I turned around and punched him in the face and then in the stomach,” Wood wrote in “Ronnie,” his 2007 autobiography. “He smashed a bottle and cut me with it.

While I stood there bleeding all over the carpet, Mick looked up and asked: `Have you got any ideas for the middle eight (section of the song)?’ ” That Richards, and the band he has spent most of his life with, have endured is remarkable. The Coaster will also have a special northbound train leaving Santa Fe Depot an hour after the concert ends, with an absolute departure time no later than 1 a.m.

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