Published in The Music (WA) | 05.11.14 | Issue # 63
Published on theMusic.com.au 29.10.14
Pic by Ash Westwood
THE ROLLING STONES
It’s been a rollercoaster of conflicting emotions for Aussie rock’n’roll lovers since The Rolling Stones first announced their triumphant return.
With their March dates set to kick off at Perth Arena, they were forced to call the entire tour off with the untimely passing of Mick Jagger’s partner L’Wren Scott. The postponed tour dates amplified anticipation, and their return seven months later rendered an overwhelming sense of anxious excitement as the masses shuffled inside.
A circular runway protruding into the audience formed the shape of the iconic tongue, consuming front row punters, and the rest of the stage production was just as grand, but neither matched that of the headliner’s entrance and the resulting reception. Darkness had never been so comforting as the moment the room went black for their arrival, and with a flurry of piercing red lights and an increasingly frantic beat, they finally stormed the stage.
In keeping with the tour’s title from the moment Start Me Up kicked in, The Stones were On Fire. Jagger howled as he soaked up praise from a standing ovation. “I want to thank you for all your patience. We really appreciate it,” he was quick to comment, with infectious rock swagger.
A keyboard was delivered for early ballad Worried About You that felt somewhat premature, but temporarily gave Jagger an anchor while guitarists Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards made use of the spotlight. Jagger rolled up his sleeves and grabbed a telecaster, Wood lit up a cigarette and it was time for some Doom And Gloom as the band queried punters on local AFL teams to mixed reactions. One thing the audience could agree on was Bitch, a trumpet-infused hit featuring the skills of sax players Tim Leads and Carl Jensen that was voted into the set via the band’s website.
The crowd got Out Of Control with a bass intro from Darryl Jones that locked in with the playing of background hero Charlie Watts as Jagger moved onto his second outfit and third instrument of the evening, a harmonica. Never has a packed arena been so enthused to hear a cowbell as when the intro of Honky Tonk Women was rung in. Richards approached centre stage with an acoustic guitar for You Got The Silver, and with Jagger out of sight, he continued with a somewhat lacklustre performance of Can’t Be Seen, only saved by backing vocalists Lisa Fischer and Bernard Fowler.
With jacket number three and the return of his harmonica, Jagger burst back on stage to reignite the audience. “You ready to sing now?!” he yelled through a British accent, and the crowd reaction to Miss You said it all. Fischer once again stole the show during Gimme Shelter, carrying the spotlight out onto the runway and unleashing her all.
Watts lead a Congo-infused percussion beat while Jagger darted offstage to grab a black and red feathery coat he was soon to unrobe and swing along to the beat of Sympathy For The Devil. Brown Sugar left a sweet taste as the band disappeared, but it wasn’t over yet.
From a dead stage, two choir groups emerged and echoed the chorus of You Can’t Always Get What You Want over and over, until the band resurfaced to ensure Satisfaction had been delivered. After months of waiting, it was all over in a flash, but worth it to witness rock royalty in the flesh. The Rolling Stones aren’t simply selling tickets by riding on the coattails of their glory years, they’re still producing one of the best live shows out of any act, past or present. And it’s unlikely we’ll see another band of their importance or magnitude roll through town ever again, as reinforced at Perth Arena.