I have been fortunate (twice) to see the best rock and roll band that ever strutted the planet, the Rolling Stones, in concert.
The first time, 16th July 1990, at Cardiff Arms Park, was possible only because the band had to cancel a few Wembley gigs due to Keith Richards’s injured hand, meaning they threw on the Cardiff gigs. I happened to be back in the UK and jumped at the chance.
The second time, last Weds, only happened because their initial date in March was postponed due to the sudden death of Mick Jagger’s partner.
I had tickets but had sold them to a friend as the date clashed with something I could not get out of. The rescheduling allowed me to see them for a second time last week.
No more Bill Wyman, but they did bring on Mick Taylor (at 65, the youngest of them, although he did not look it, having been their guitarist before Wood from the death of Brian Jones in 1969 up to 1974). Some say Taylor was the best guitarist to have ever played with them. Judging by this performance, his effortless blues riffs were incredible, and a stand out of the night.
Considering they were fantastic 24 years ago (when they were each in their mid to late 40s), I was not expecting too much this time around, now they are in the 70’s.
But Jagger stole the show, as always, with his trademark walk-skip as he moved around the stage, running around the elongated tongue extension stage all night.
Richards sort of played in slow motion, emphasising each chord, like a modern day blacksmith.
Ronnie Wood, too cool for school with a trademark ciggie perpetually struck out to one side rebel style, slung his axe to the side making faces at the crowd.
Charlie Watts, pursed lips, thwacked away with minimal of flourish, and maximum effect. Being a drummer, I watched Watts closely.
But you couldn’t keep your eyes off Jagger. A consummate showman.
He was off for 2 songs (note to all: Keith Richards, bless his little cotton socks, is one of the worst singers you will ever pay to listen to), but when Jagger came back on, the show soared again.
How 70 year olds can be so nimble, so cool, so professional… it was inspiring stuff.
If I have half their agility at their age, I’ll be more than happy.