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Rolling Stones get Twickenham rocking


Review: Jack Foley

YOU can't always get what you want... even if you're Sir Mick Jagger it seems.

The veteran rock 'n' roller had been intending to play his first UK show of the current world tour to a sell-out Twickenham crowd on Saturday, to mark the band's home-coming gig, but flu forced him to cancel, meaning that Sunday's crowd were among those to make history.

And, yes, Satisfaction was guaranteed as The Rolling Stones delivered a show to remember; one which underlined their status as the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band.

Despite sharing a combined age of over 200, Jagger and co went about their business with all the vigour of a bunch of excited teens, bouncing around the stage while delivering hit after mouthwatering hit from their expansive back catalogue.

Any fears that this may have been a muted Mick Jagger, given the situation surrounding his voice, were quickly erased during the opening chorus of Brown Sugar; while all thoughts of Saturday's disappointment were banished when he informed the crowd that he was happy to have them here.

For the Stones, Twickenham's show was always going to be a special affair, given their roots in the area, which Jagger alluded to early on, when informing them that it didn't seem so long ago that the band were putting on concerts at rugby clubs down the road... at Richmond Athletics Ground to be exact.

In the 40 years since, the Stones have emerged as living legends - a tireless group of performers who continue to push artistic boundaries and deliver the goods whenever they play.

One might even dare to suggest that they are the Peter Pans of the music industry, although a quick look at Keith Richards and it's easy to see why Johnny Depp was recently quoted as saying that he based his latest movie incarnation, in Pirates of the Caribbean, on the wily guitarist.

But whether you love them or loathe them, you cannot fail to admire their longevity, achieving the type of status that most bands can only dream of when first starting out.

And their music continues to sound as fresh, today, as it did when they first played it, making it easy for the crowd to sing-along in tandem with every 'woo-hoo', or 'I can't get no...' that Jagger serves up enticingly before them.

 

Much of the band's allure lies in the accessibility of their music (particularly their earlier work), which continues to appeal to listeners of every generation.

Hence, Twickenham's crowd was packed with people of all ages, most of them sporting some sort of Stones' memorabilia that provided an indication of what lengths people will go to see them.

I can think of no other band whose merchandise commands such respect, or worldwide travel, given that there were T-shirts from Australia, New York and Sweden among those being paraded by loyal concert-goers.

We spoke to one fan, from Northampton, who had seen the band a whopping 84 times...

It is little wonder that tickets can be sold for such crazy prices, with face value for the Twickenham tickets starting at £35 and finishing somewhere near £160 - and double or even triple that if you were unlucky enough to talk to the touts.

Yet it is tribute to The Stones themselves that they do deliver value for money, with Sunday's performance clocking in at two hours and providing a rich visual feast, as well as the crowd-pleaser we have come to expect.

The highlights, of which there were many, included rousing versions of Sympathy for the Devil, complete with a flame show from the top of the stage; Paint It Black, with its distinctive guitar riffs; a rare live version of I Just Want To Make Love To You, conducted upon a more intimate mini-stage extended into the middle of the crowd; and Gimme Shelter, when the soulful vocals of long-time backing singer, Lisa Fischer, rang out into the dark night sky to mesmerising effect (marking the one time that Jagger failed to take centre stage).

And for a band which helped to put the sex and drugs into rock 'n' roll, the cheekiness was still apparent, with the lips and tongue logo being used, visually, on several occasions; but never more strikingly than when the big screen conjured up a saucy image of a topless cartoon woman riding the tongue like a cowgirl (before being swallowed whole and spat out afterwards), during Honky Tonk Woman.

Other tracks of note included You Can't Always Get What You Want, Wild Horses, Start Me Up, Streetfighting Man, and the newer track, Don't Stop, while the first act was brought to an inevitable close with a barnstorming version of Satisfaction - which never fails to get the crowd going.

And while the encore was brief, it was no less spectacular, courtesy of a suitably uptempo Jumpin' Jack Flash and a firework finale that ensured The Stones departed the stage with a bang.

It may only be rock 'n' roll to some people, but Twickenham couldn't fail to be impressed.

 

 

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