Support: Liam Gallagher
I had almost forgotten how much I hate stadium crowds. Thankfully tonight was there to remind me in full...an A-Z of things that annoy me at gigs...you may want to take a deep breath: Pissed teenagers, pissed 'this is my only night out this year' 50 somethings, pissed pensioners angrily admonishing anyone near them, the very strong smell of joints, twenty somethings pissing in plastic cups, loud Argentinians, girls getting on shoulders of every guy directly in front of me and the general feeling that half the crowd had never been to a concert in their lives. Ah, how could I not remember the rich tapestry of stadium shows...but still...never mind all that...tonight was all about the Rolling 'Mother Fucking' Stones.
It gets pretty tiring listening to people scoff when you mention the Stones these days. How dare they. How very bloody dare they. Those particular people usually mention one thing about the band (it begins with 'a', ends in 'e' and has a 'g' in the middle), it gets boring hearing it and quite frankly shows them to be the inbred idiots that they almost certainly are. They have obviously never seen Mick, Keef, Charlie and Ronnie (correct order by the way) live. If they had they would understand. It has been eleven years since I last saw England's finest…the world’s biggest and most famous of bands. That they are still playing to live audiences 56 (FIFTY SIX) years since starting out in 1962 is quite amazing. The fact that they are still arguably the world’s best live band is quite unbelievable.
Alas there was no golden circle for us this time, the prices dictated that wasn’t an option but we still manged a decent(ish) view. The set is, of course, crowd friendly, they have been since I first saw them on the Steel Wheels tour in 1990, but they still manage to include a few surprises (hearing Fool To Cry was certainly unexpected) and they do find room in the set for a number of changes with songs picked from the five decades of albums behind them. Every track is a classic, but such is their back catalogue that they could play a different 20 songs and all would still be a classic...and I really don't think that's exaggerating in any way.
The night starts with Street Fighting Man and the buzz of seeing the Stones is back with a bang. It really is way too long since I last saw them...like Springsteen gigs it is medically proven that you can suffer withdrawal symptoms. Tonight it may be that Mick is (relatively) pacing himself for the first third of the set (if that's possible while singing It's Only Rock n Roll, Tumbling Dice and Paint it Black)...but by You Can't Always Get What You Want, he and the band are in full swing. As always Keith sings a couple of tracks including one of my absolute favs, Slipping Away, from the Steel Wheels album (the first new Stones LP I bought for myself). Then it's time for Sympathy for the Devil. Still one of the very best songs ever written and live it takes on a whole new life. Always a huge highlight of any Stones show although some in the crowd really shouldn't be singing along to it (there I go again, grumpy fucker). The biggest surprise for me is how great Miss You is. Possibly the best version I've heard.
Midnight Rambler showcases the band and leads into the run to the end of the main set...which just happens to be Start Me Up, Jumpin' Jack Flash and Brown Sugar...I mean come on...how could you not love that? They encore with Gimme Shelter (belted out by Mick and the fab Sasha Allen) before Satisfaction (had to be) closes things down. Absolute perfection. The smiles on stage (especially that on Ronnie's face and even uber cool Charlie near cracks a big smile) say it all. Five years since they last played the UK it really is great to see them back. Love these guys. We will really miss them when they are gone...so make sure you appreciate them while you have the chance.
Nothing beats a Stones show, unfortunately I can't say the same about the London Stadium. The two gigs I have seen here have been top notch, no problem there, but getting out is horrendous. It took 90 minutes to get on the tube which mainly involved walking up and down and around Westfield shopping centre...it really should not be that hard. No matter though, afterall, I saw the Rolling 'Mother Fucking' Stones.
Ticket Price: £89.95