San Diego gets what it needs: Rolling Stones

25 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Here’s footage and the setlist from the Rolling Stones’ ‘Zip Code’ tour kickoff in San Diego.

Mick Jagger’s dancing has never been understated, but it gets even broader when he’s performing in open-air stadiums — as he was last night when the Rolling Stones kicked off their 2015 “Zip Code” tour with a rock-solid performance at San Diego’s Petco Park.Katie Allen’s uncle took her to her first Rolling Stones concert in 1989 when she was a senior at a Catholic high school, awestruck by the song “Sympathy for the Devil.” On Sunday, the Temecula woman brought a new family companion along as she attended the sold-out opener to the Stones’ 2015 North American tour at Petco Park — her 9-year-old daughter, Harper. “We like to sing and dance around the house a lot. Blessed with one of the most charismatic frontmen in rock history, the Stones don’t need to do much extra work to entertain a sold-out stadium: they’ve even retired the gigantic inflatable “Honky Tonk Women.” The show began with the band emerging in color-coordinated outfits of purple and blue to perform “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” and it ended with fireworks as they played “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Otherwise, they were content to spend two and a quarter hours playing their greatest hits (leavened with a few less-obvious selections from their insanely deep catalog) and let the 71-year-old Sir Mick flail his arms like he was waving semaphore flags.

And how did he fare with this 1965 classic, which gave this pioneering English band its first chart-topping hit in the United States 50 years ago next month? These days, Jagger has utter commitment to many parts of his job: he runs across the stage (and into the crowd on a lengthy runway) like he’s doing windsprints to qualify for an Olympic squad. Very simply, Jagger knocked it out of the sold-out park, singing and dancing with a degree of vigor and verve that would have been impressive when he was 31. Appearing Sunday night before a sold-out audience of 42,000, the group quickly brought things to a boil with the suitably rousing “Jumpin’ Jack Flash, a 1968 classic that sounded just as charged 47 years later. Instead, Denson — who leads his own band, Tiny Universe, and is also a member of both Slightly Stoopid and the Greyboy Allstars — went to fellow Slightly Stoopid saxophonist DeLa’s home to work on a musical project.

He sings with surprisingly clear diction, as if he were trying to settle decades-old questions about mumbled lyrics for any fan who comes to a Stones concert. He repeatedly dashed to and fro on the massive stage, which stretched across the stadium’s outfield, and shimmied on the catwalk, which extended 33 rows into the audience. That’s when Kravitz, whose first three albums featured Denson, called again. “I said: ‘I better take this,’ although I don’t normally take calls from phones with no caller ID,” the Orange County-born saxophonist and flutist said. “It was Lenny. The fact that “Satisfaction” didn’t begin until two hours and five minutes after the concert got underway at 9:35 p.m. made Jagger’s charged delivery of the song verge on the unbelievable.

I told my husband that this might be my last opportunity to see them and end that.” Whether this will be the last time around for Mick Jagger, Keith Richards (both 71) and the band is a hotly debated topic in San Diego — the band has not indicated as much. Satisfaction indeed!” Find out about the week’s must-see shows, concert tickets and more in the new newsletter “Piet Levy’s Music Picks.” Subscribe at

What he can’t quite bring himself to do is ask the crowd “Are you doing good?” and sound like he means it — whenever he enacts that particular show-biz ritual, the words sound like they’ve been marinated in sarcasm, suggesting that there is a corner of Jagger’s soul that was never touched by show biz. The deep creases in Jagger’s face made it clear he hasn’t struck any soul-sapping deals to retain the visage of his youth, à la “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” But his whippet-thin physique, constant gyrations and sheer vocal stamina were simultaneously inspiring and depressing, and for exactly the same reason. He said, ‘I’ve got somebody who needs a sax player to go on the road.’ I was not really interested, because I was just finishing a year-and-a-half of doing too much (work).

Because, let’s face it: A good number of people younger than Jagger would likely gasp for breath – if not stagger – were they to attempt to emulate just a portion of the performance he gave at Petco. Together, the Stones’ “Licks” tour in 2002 and 2003, and “A Bigger Bang” tour, which stretched from 2005 to 2007, earned nearly a billion dollars.

The area around Petco Park was overwhelmed with concert t-shirt wearing Stones fans, Stones banners hung from the street lamps and the band’s greatest hits cranked out of every bar in the Gaslamp District. The two guitarists’ interplay has evolved over the years, but a mutual affection comes through in the music, and in the way that Richards did a brief slow-dance waltz with Wood during “Sympathy for the Devil.” For his two-song turn on lead vocals, Richards chose “Slipping Away” from Steel Wheels and “Before They Make Me Run” from Some Girls (although he originally announced his second song would be “Can’t Be Seen,”-adding “God knows what album this is on.” Personal memo to Keith: it’s also on Steel Wheels!). The Hard Rock San Diego did a brisk business with a “Rolling Stones Happy Hour” featuring the band’s favorite American meal – frankfurters over mashed potatoes with baked beans. When I hung up the phone, he just started laughing, like: ‘I can’t believe that just happened!’ Within a week, I was on a Skype meeting with Mick Jagger, and the rest is the last year of my life.” Denson, 58, readily acknowledges that Jagger — who is apparently not a jam-band fan — had no idea who he was. Drummer Charlie Watts was indispensable, as always; the Stones were also joined by Darryl Jones on bass, Chuck Leavell on keyboards, Lisa Fischer and Bernard Fowler on backing vocals, and (with Bobby Keys having died late last year) Tim Ries and Karl Denson on saxophone.

And that’s a good thing, since the face value for the highest-priced “Platinum” tickets for the concert was a staggering $4,000-plus, each. (So-called “Lucky Dip” tickets, for a limited number of seats throughout the venue, cost $29.50 each, plus service charges. But Kravitz spoke so highly of him that Jagger decided to pursue the matter, especially after Kravitz forwarded several of his recordings that featured Denson. When the concert began, his father opened the doors to the hundreds of people waiting outside. “They’ve never changed their style and nobody has walked away from them,” he said. “I think 20 years from now, when they finally stop touring, their 45th album will be as popular as their third or fourth album.” If anything in rock ‘n roll is destined for musical immortality, it may be Keith Richards’ riffs kicking off “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” The band’s music has provided a soundtrack for several generations of fans, becoming part of a collective aural DNA. The evening’s highlight came early on, with a set of three songs drawn from Sticky Fingers. “Not the whole album, which we did the other night in Los Angeles,” warned Jagger. “I think we got away with it.” “Bitch” featured bluesman Gary Clark Jr. (also the evening’s opening act, delivering an excellently heavy set).

On “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” original guitarist Mick Taylor was missed, but Wood stepped up to deliver his own stinging interpretation of the solo as the band got extremely polyrhythmic. “Almost jazz,” Jagger commented after the song. Casey Specht, 24, and sister Carly, 21, hit the concert with their parents, die-hard Rolling Stones fans. “We grew up listening to classic rock, we’re all about the classic rock bands,” said Casey Specht. “This is an awesome opportunity. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair spent part of his college years singing in a Stones cover band. “It’s the music my parents listened to, it resonates with me and I can see it resonates with my children,” said Tommy Galan, 37, a Rancho Bernardo resident who planned to attend Sunday’s show with his 6-year-old son, Jackson.

Moreover, when Bill Wyman quit the Stones in late 1992, he was replaced by former Davis band bassist Daryl Jones. “It was really just: ‘We know you can handle the gig, and we’ve got nine shows in Australia, so how would you like to do it?’ And I was like: ‘Of course, no problem!’ ” Denson recounted. “By the middle of the tour, they took me out to a welcome-to-the-band dinner and said: ‘We’re going to let you stick around.’ It’s pretty awesome. It’s so beautiful here, why would anyone want to leave… especially the Chargers?” His NFL machinations-inspired quip was followed, seconds later, by “Miss You,” which remains the most funk-fueled song in the Stones’ catalog (and whose title took on an unfortunate new tinge in the context of the Chargers). At one of their 1965 shows in the San Diego Community Concourse, the opening act was The Byrds. “Two songs that night I heard for the very first time,” he said.

With the caveat that all dates are subject to change, here are the music, movies and TV you need to know about all year long. “The more people see of me, the more they’ll realize that all I’m good for is making music,” Amy Winehouse tells the camera in a haunting new trailer for the upcoming documentary Amy. Denson is now part of the Stones’ two-man brass section, which teams him features veteran jazz saxophonist and clarinetist Tim Ries. “I’m a really huge Bobby Keys fan,” Denson said. “I definitely feel comfortable with these songs and trying to emulate him. Fresh off its debut at the Cannes Film Festival, the filmmakers dropped the first full-length trailer, drawing out a heartbreaking narrative of artistic triumph and personal decline. Directed by Asif Kapadia (Senna), the new film is packed with rare archival footage and previously unheard tracks from the singer, who died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 at the age of 27. Turn!’ which had yet to be released, and ‘Satisfaction.’” The set also included “The Last Time” and “Time Is on My Side.” Ràchac, who would grow up to become a radio personality and singer-songwriter, said this performance “changed my life.” Also in the Community Concourse audience was Joe Garrison, then 14.

Because the plan had been — when he came back (in the band) — they were going to keep me on, so that I could kind of shoulder the (weight) for him. It also drops some hints of her troubled relationship with ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil. “I fell in love with someone who I would have died for,” she says in the film. “And that’s like a real drug, isn’t it?” The film has already drawn criticism from Winehouse’s family, who called the filmmakers “a disgrace” for portraying her father, Mitch Winehouse, as partially responsible for the singer’s descent into drugs and alcohol.

Sitting in the 13th row, he was impressed by the Stones’ musicianship. “It was more like a concert, you could actually hear the music,” he said. “The crowd wasn’t as crazed.” Not that anyone would mistake this for a chamber orchestra recital. “I remember girls rushing the stage and being carried out,” noted Carmen Salmon, founder of a local Beatles fan club, who attended the concert by the Fab Four’s rivals. “I had great seats down close.” The sound of the Stones still enthrals young listeners. Just as the film was garnering praise at Cannes, Reg Traviss, Winehouse’s partner at the time of her death, joined in the fray with a searing editorial in The Telegraph. Describing the film as “a fictionalised biopic centered around a distorted depiction of Amy’s life,” Traviss objects to the film’s depiction of Winehouse as “effectively dysfunctional” in her final two years. “But what was so good about that period of her life was that it was a time when she had grown into somebody,” he writes. “At 27, she was very happy, she had a good bunch of friends, really good friends, around her. They’ve allowed me in and they’ve totally welcomed me, so we’re having a really fun time.” On Wednesday night, Denson performed with the Stones at the band’s surprise concert at the 1,200-capacity Fonda Theatre, where the audience included Leonard Cohen and Nicholson.

While the seemingly indestructible Richards is notorious for cheating death, the band’s most notable casualty is co-founder Brian Jones, who drowned in 1969. “No, man, I’m too old for that,” said Garrison, 64. “At our age, we have to start thinking about what kind of world we’re going to leave behind for Keith Richards.” Her house in Camden was a busy, vibrant household, with a couple of flatmates and family members visiting every day.” He also calls the film’s portrayal of Mitch Winehouse “despicable.” Well, it happened.

King, whose first hit – 1952’s “Three O’Clock Blues” – Clark performed with palpable reverence and passion. “Bitch” was one of just three songs performed Sunday from the Stones landmark 1971 album, “Sticky Fingers,” which will be released June 9 in a newly expanded edition. “Moonlight Mile,” from the same album, was a highlight, with Jagger offering some of his most rich and nuanced singing of the night. Yet, while his playing clearly referenced Keys, Denson elevated the music by injecting jazzy flourishes, bluesy trills and a greater degree of harmonic daring than his late predecessor. “I’ve studied Bobby’s work for years now,” he said. “So I feel it’s a part of what I do naturally. But what it might symbolize, especially in light of the recent signing of Sesugh Uhaa, the rapid rise of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn and reports that Destination America was canceling TNA wrestling (on the night Joe, arguably its biggest star, walked down the NXT ramp), is that WWE now holds all the chips. Sure, there are still competitors and talented outliers on the fringes, and, as of yet, no official word on TNA’s fate, but if it were to go under, it would surely free up other big names – ones WWE now appears willing to snap up as is.

After all, they’re already selling Samoa Joe T-shirts, which suggests at least a tacit acknowledgement of his history and accomplishments, and his deal reportedly will allow him to continue booking dates elsewhere. The sight of the scurrying champion was an unfamiliar one for those who have watched him decimate the competition (and John Cena) since arriving at Full Sail, but it definitely sets the stage for these two brawlers to come to blows. And that, in a nutshell, is what TakeOver was all about: It was an exceptionally scripted event that hit all the right notes (including a few high ones), but ultimately focused on advancing storylines. There were doubts going in about how much punishment Zayn would be able to take in this match, but he worked hard and controlled much of the action – and while it would be nice to see these two guys go at each other at full strength, Zayn will presumably now get time to heal in real life.

But it’s Bálor who should get first crack, after defeating Breeze in a back-and-forth match that featured a pretty solid spot on the ramp, stiff Supermodel kicks and a high-impact Coup de Grace finisher (and a pair of excellent ring entrances). NXT Tag Team Champions Blake & Murphy retained their titles against the Realest Guys in the Room, thanks in no small part to the third-party shenanigans of Alexa Bliss. Baron Corbin continued his ascent by beating Rhyno, and while their match certainly wasn’t a thing of beauty, it was satisfyingly blunt and did prove that the Lone Wolf is capable of working longer (for him anyway) bouts, which is a welcome development. In a women’s tag match, Bayley and Charlotte defeated Emma and Dana Brooke, when Naitch’s daughter hit the Natural Selection on Evil Emma (whose new attitude seems to have resonated with the Full Sail faithful).

You get the feeling neither of these respective feuds are over just yet, and the supposedly jealousy fueling Charlotte/Brooke makes for a compelling story, so once again, things move along. Of course, all four women are also in pursuit of NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks, who held onto her title by forcing Becky Lynch to submit to the Bank Statement.

If the Fatal Four-Way at TakeOver: Rival was the previous high mark for women at NXT, Banks and Lynch surpassed it last night, delivering the goods with a spirited, psychological war packed with solid chain wrestling, strategic targeting of offense, teeth-clenching submissions and plenty of new looks from Lynch (and, no, I’m not talking about her orange hair or steampunk-inspired ring attire). The crowd ate it up, but Becky was the star: You believed she was willing to leave it all out on the mat, and as the match wore on, that her formidable armbar might get Banks to tap (for real this time). The end was a mere formality, and though Banks left with her championship, Becky departed to a standing ovation, the crowd chanting along to her theme.

A week after signing off on a new round of offshore drilling off the coast of Alaska, President Obama on Wednesday delivered his most direct and dire warning yet about the threats we face from climate change. After the 2008 election, Obama tried to push climate legislation with arguments about green jobs and the moral imperative of taking care of the planet for future generations. But in the second term, thanks in part to impact of Hurricane Sandy and increasing extreme weather, Obama retooled his message and began talking about how climate change will affect food prices, the spread of infectious diseases and the public health implications of burning fossil fuels. When I began reporting my story on military and climate change late last year, it was clear to me that there are not a lot of climate skeptics in the military high command.

But Pentagon officials are reluctant to talk openly about this, in part because they don’t like to engage in heated political issues, but mostly because they fear climate deniers in Congress will slash their budgets if they tell the truth too bluntly. He has already signaled this by effectively killing the Keystone XL pipeline, as well as pushing the EPA to implement new rules limiting carbon pollution, which has predictably outraged coal-state Republicans like Sen.

After months of escalating protests and grassroots organizing in response to the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, police reformers have issued many demands. The moderates in this debate typically qualify their rhetoric with “We all know we need police, but…” It’s a familiar refrain to those of us who’ve spent years in the streets and the barrios organizing around police violence, only to be confronted by officers who snarl, “But who’ll help you if you get robbed?” We can put a man on the moon, but we’re still lacking creativity down here on Earth.

While law enforcers have existed in one form or another for centuries, the modern police have their roots in the relatively recent rise of modern property relations 200 years ago, and the “disorderly conduct” of the urban poor. Like every structure we’ve known all our lives, it seems that the policing paradigm is inescapable and everlasting, and the only thing keeping us from the precipice of a dystopic Wild West scenario. Rather than be scared of our impending Road Warrior future, check out just a few of the practicable, real-world alternatives to the modern system known as policing: Unarmed but trained people, often formerly violent offenders themselves, patrolling their neighborhoods to curb violence right where it starts.

There are also feminist models that specifically organize patrols of local women, who reduce everything from cat-calling and partner violence to gang murders in places like Brooklyn. Violent offenses count for a fraction of the 11 to 14 million arrests every year, and yet there is no real conversation about what constitutes a crime and what permits society to put a person in chains and a cage. Decriminalization doesn’t work on its own: The cannabis trade that used to employ poor Blacks, Latinos, indigenous and poor whites in its distribution is now starting to be monopolized by already-rich landowners.

To quote investigative journalist Christian Parenti’s remarks on criminal justice reform in his book Lockdown America, what we really need most of all is “less.” Also known as reparative or transformative justice, these models represent an alternative to courts and jails. From hippie communes to the IRA and anti-Apartheid South African guerrillas to even some U.S. cities like Philadelphia’s experiment with community courts, spaces are created where accountability is understood as a community issue and the entire community, along with the so-called perpetrator and the victim of a given offense, try to restore and even transform everyone in the process. Communities that have tools to engage with each other about problems and disputes don’t have to consider what to do after anti-social behaviors are exhibited in the first place.

Obviously these could become police themselves and then be subject to the same abuses, but as a temporary solution they have been making a real impact. In New York, Rikers Island jails as many people with mental illnesses “as all 24 psychiatric hospitals in New York State combined,” which is reportedly 40% of the people jailed at Rikers.

Mental health has often been a trapdoor for other forms of institutionalized social control as bad as any prison, but shifting toward preventative, supportive and independent living care can help keep those most impacted from ending up in handcuffs or dead on the street. That’s what we’re here to do.” Since launching a gospel music career in 2002, Farris — who made a name for himself as the leader of blues-wailers the Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies in the Nineties — has been entirely committed to elevating his brothers and sisters through powerhouse live performances, gaining famous fans like Marty Stuart and Buddy Miller along the way.

Dejected, he turned to what he says was his “only hope” — the off chance that there really was a God. “I started praying and pretending maybe this God is real. I had a mantra: ‘Show me where I’m supposed to be.’ And I ended up here in Nashville, living with my dad.” His father had a guitar and Farris cleaned up enough to learn to play. One morning he awoke with a complete song written in his head — future Wheelies track “Gypsy Lullaby” — and was convinced God had placed music in his path.

Songs like “Shakin’ the Blues” and “Ride the Tide” made impressions on the rock charts, and the Wheelies released three albums with Farris before breaking up. “I stuck it out with those guys longer than I probably should have,” he says now. “After the first record, I was pretty bored. When we were on the tour bus, that’s all I’d listen to.” But after the Wheelies disbanded, Farris gave up performing altogether and attempted to get sober. Then, at the suggestion of his mentor and manager Rose McGathy, who was in the final stages of cancer, he started singing again. “Here she was in the twilight moments of her existence, and here I was with this rebirth,” Farris says. He went on to record 2007’s Salvation in Lights, which caught Sony’s ear and garnered Farris another record deal and the Americana Music Award for New/Emerging Artist. “Everything just blew up,” he says. “I just felt like, I’m good, I’m working, I’m focused. Then I’m going in for help.’ It was the toughest thing I’ve ever done, man.” Four years later, after a stint in rehab, he is completely sober and finds himself at the most productive point of his career.

I just fall apart every time,” Farris says of the spiritual. “She’s like, ‘I don’t know what it is, but if it’s doing that to you, you’d better [record it].” “Real deal, rotgut gospel” is how Gauthier describes Farris’s version of her song. “[It’s] the kind of gospel singing that can make even non-believers fall to their knees and praise the light of love shining down on them,” she says. “Mike’s raise-the-rafters vocal talent combined with his passion and intensity make his voice the dream voice for this song. I absolutely love the way he sings it.” Like Gauthier says, “Mercy Now,” and Shine for All the People as a whole, is able to captivate all music fans, even those who might have preconceived notions about spiritual music. The percentage of Americans who self-identify as Christian dropped from over 78 percent of the population in 2007 to 70 percent in 2014 – a decline of five million people.

And this trend shows no sign of slowing down: Millennials represent the most non-affiliated demographic of all, with more than one in three young adults saying they don’t have a faith. This shift is inciting panic among conservatives, particularly those who like to argue that ours is a “Christian nation.” After the release of the latest data, right-wing pundits immediately started casting around for anyone – anyone but themselves, of course – to blame.

Rush Limbaugh, meanwhile, argued that the problem is too-liberal churches, particularly those that allow “female and lesbian ministers.” Former Christians “have left their churches because of social issues and the evolution of their churches to social areas they didn’t want to go and don’t feel comfortable being in,” he said, adding that “less than one million gay activists” have been able to “steamroll an entire country.” Limbaugh didn’t explain why people who hate gays would take the rather extreme measure of abandoning their faith rather than just switch churches to one that teaches homosexuality is wrong – there are certainly plenty of those out there. At an event in New Hampshire last week, Rick Santorum praised himself for being the only anti-choice Republican who really, truly, for real wants to strip women of their rights – even though the politicians he was accusing of indifference have passed more than 200 laws restricting abortion over the past four years. He then argued that those other Republicans’ relative lack of fanaticism is what’s leading to dwindling numbers in the pews. “A quarter of Americans are now non-religious,” he said, referencing the Pew numbers. “The bottom line is, if you want to change the country, you’ve got to find someone who is bold enough to lay out a vision.” And ladies, has Rick Santorum ever got a vision for you! As the Christian polling group Barna recently noted, the public increasingly associates Christianity with “preventing gay marriage and a woman’s freedom to control her body” and “mixing religious beliefs with political policy and action.” And no wonder Americans draw that conclusion, given that we’re subjected daily to a barrage of Christian right pundits and politicians spouting off about gay people, women and their “slut pills” and “legitimate rape.” If Americans conflate religion with hate, the Christian right only has themselves to blame.

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