Thursday, November 13, 2014

Rolling Stones in Sydney on 12 November 2014 at Allphones Arena. Another brilliant performance spectacular.

Mick Jagger announced to the audience that the Rolling Stones had been coming to Sydney for 50 years and that tonight’s performance was the 20th occasion that they had performed in this city. The last occasion that they had performed in Sydney was in 2006 at the massive Olympic stadium next door. We could all have been forgiven in thinking that the 2006 tour may well have been the last to Australia, as they were regarded as being somewhat older (make that a great deal older) than what we usually refer to as a veteran rock stars. With all of them 8 years older, would they still have it in them.  

Mick Jagger aged 71, Keith Richards 70, Charlie Watts 73 and the youngest one Ronnie Wood 67 demonstrated to an also ageing audience that there has been no diminution in their ability to perform, entertain and please a crowd. For many, hip and knee joints were pre-marinated in Celebrex and glucosamine in preparation for an evening that had been especially anticipated after the cancellation and rescheduling from the original March date due to the untimely death of Mick Jagger’s partner earlier in the year. There was also the concern that Mick’s voice would not 'make it' after earlier last minute cancellations of dates in the Australian tour due what was described as a serious throat infection. 

The Sydney audience had nothing to fear. When the Rolling Stones bounced onto stage and launched into Jumping Jack Flash, the entire audience were up on their feet and there was no turning back. All fears about throat infections evaporated as Mick belted out the chorus to the song with crowd singing in unison. Behind the stage, there was a huge monitor that provided image resolution almost unheard of at such a large venue.  Facial expressions were crystal clear and yes, the Rolling Stones indeed had the look that they had been performing for over half a century.

The screen also provided the opportunity for a cheeky animation during the equally cheeky “Honky Tonk Woman”.  The animation featured a giant bikini clad woman walking the streets of a city and then climb a building, very much in the spirit of King Kong. Planes flown by cunning gorillas began their attack once she had climbed to the top of the building.  Guns aimed at her bikini straps soon saw to exposure of her breasts and with a slap of one of the planes, it went out of control and as the song moved into the final bars, it went crashing into her breasts.

As has become a common feature of Rolling Stones concerts, Keith Richards was given an opportunity to headline a couple of songs.  In spite of his fall out of a coconut tree and subsequent head injury, it was clear that his sense of humour had not diminished when he announced 

“great to see you ….(pause)…great to see anything” much to the crowd’s approval.

The focus of the play list was very much on the classics. Other bands that enter into self indulgent sets to satisfy their own egos rather than the wishes of their fans have much to learn from the Rolling Stones. We could argue all day on essential classics that had to be played but for me, they hit the spot.  Some of these included, Sympathy for the Devil, Paint It Black, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, It’s Only Rock and Roll.

Sydney 12 November Play List

Jumping Jack Flash (single, 1968)
It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It) (from It’s Only Rock N Roll, 1974)
Respectable (from Some Girls, 1978)
Tumbling Dice (from Exile On Main Street, 1972)
Sweet Virginia (from Exile On Main Street, 1972) (Request)
Bitch (from Sticky Fingers, 1971)
Paint It Black (from Aftermath, 1968)
Honky Tonk Woman (single, 1968)
You Got The Silver (from Let It Bleed, 1969)
Before They Make Me Run (with Keith on lead vocals)(from Some Girls, 1978)
Happy (with Keith on lead vocals) (from Exile On Main Street, 1972)
Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor on guitar) (from Let It Bleed, 1969)
Miss You (from Some Girls, 1978)
Gimme Shelter (from Let It Bleed, 1969)
Start Me Up (from Tattoo You, 1981)
Sympathy For The Devil (from Beggars Banquet, 1968)
Brown Sugar (from Sticky Fingers, 1971)


You Can’t Always Get What You Want (from Let It Bleed, 1969)
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (from Out Of Our Heads, 1965)

Following the completion of the show, it was difficult to not feel Satisfaction.  Once again,  the Rolling Stones had lived up to their reputation as arguably the greatest performing rock band in history. This may well have been the last time that we will see them but if there were to be another time, there would be no shortage of willing ticket buyers, even at record prices of $577 per ticket.

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