Rolling Stones bring fireworks to Desert Trip festival

The Rolling Stones 

INDIO, Calif. (AP) — Mick Jagger told the boomer-heavy crowd at the Desert Trip music festival, which boasts a legendary lineup of septuagenarians, that he wasn’t going to “do a bunch of age jokes.”

Then the 73-year-old Rolling Stones front man referred to the three-day event as “the Palm Springs retirement home for genteel English musicians.”

The festival features Paul McCartney and (non-Brit) Neil Young performing Saturday night. The Who and Roger Waters play Sunday.

The Stones brought literal and figurative fireworks to the festival’s opening night Friday. Jagger was his inimitably energetic self, skipping and shuffling across the stage and chatting warmly with the crowd.

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“You guys are going to have a rocking, wild weekend in Palm Springs,” he said, adding coyly, “We’re looking forward to seeing the dinosaur park.”

(There actually is a dinosaur exhibit in nearby Cabazon, California.)

The Stones played hits for two hours, including “Wild Horses,” ”Miss You,” ”Gimme Shelter,” ”Midnight Rambler” and “Sympathy for the Devil.” They even covered the Beatles’ “Come Together.” When the band closed with “Satisfaction,” pyrotechnics lit up the desert sky.

Bob Dylan kicked off the festival just after sundown with an 80-minute performance. Wearing a black suit with a white hat, the 75-year-old rocker took the stage without fanfare and sat behind the piano. He did not address the audience or say anything between songs.

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Backed by a five-piece band, he performed selections from throughout his catalog, including “Tangled Up in Blue,” ”Ballad of a Thin Man” and “Make You Feel My Love.” Dylan occasionally crept out from behind the piano to sing at a microphone center stage, pulling a harmonica from his pocket to play. He closed with “Masters of War” and silently left the stage.

Desert Trip is being held at Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, home to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival each spring. But where Coachella is aimed at millennials, Desert Trip targets more affluent baby boomers who grew up with the festival’s featured rockers.

“We’ve all been playing music for more than 50 years for you,” Jagger said of the event’s performers. “We think it’s pretty amazing that you’re still coming out to see us.”

The grounds have been outfitted with extra seating and shade structures to keep an older audience comfortable, and the festival porta-potties were replaced with air-conditioned bathroom trailers.

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The festival repeats next weekend.