First off, let’s retire those jokes about playing in wheelchairs. We may all be attending Rolling Stones concerts in our wheelchairs before they show signs of wear and tear.
Yes, the Rolling Stones, 51 years young as a band, played AT&T Stadium on Saturday night as part of the group’s 15-city Zip Code tour. They seemed to be having at least as good a time as the audience who stayed for the two-hour plus show to hear the hits, a few concert staples, a few surprises, a few memories and to watch slack-jawed as 71-year-old Mick Jagger danced like the world’s greatest shaman throughout the night.
They started the show with a high-energy version of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and only rarely stopped for a more moderate tempo number. When they did, as on the rarely-played Sticky Fingers deep cut, “Moonlight Mile,” the results were spectacular. Jagger hit the high notes with effort, but he hit them.
The show’s one detriment – and it was a big one – was out of the band’s control – AT&T Stadium, which made one long for the intimate environs of the Cotton Bowl. The sound and the rhythms bounced around willy-nilly, though it only seemed to throw the Stones off during “Sympathy for the Devil”, when mike issues seemed to derail the rhythm-dependent tune. No matter, it didn’t keep the audience from “whoo-whooing” to sing along.
The show did, thankfully for those of us in the rafters, have three large screens so we could see Jagger’s innumerable costume changes, the rock-steady Charlie Watts, human riff machine Keith Richards, and musical chameleon Ron Wood.
Despite the sound, the Stones, no surprise, soldiered on, this tour pushing a reissue of Sticky Fingers with additional material for the classic 1971 album that featured songs such as “Brown Sugar”, “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’”, “Wild Horses” and the aforementioned “Moonlight Mile.” Originally recorded when most of the band was under 30, the new releases offer several different versions of the album, with alternate takes and mixes of some of the albums tracks, while a bonus deluxe version includes a concert from the time period. The Rolling Stones have always been canny marketers.
There were some great high points to the show. “Gimmie Shelter” long a tour de force for the band, particularly with backup singer Lisa Fischer basically dueting with Jagger on the darkest of rock-gospel numbers, might have blown a hole in the roof if it hadn’t already been opened. And longtime concert staple “Midnight Rambler”, threatened to conjure up the very moment Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the Mississippi crossroads. Sound problems seemed to vex “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” but the University of Texas at Arlington A Capella Choir’s work on the song was stellar.
And now there’s an answer to that question of what two artists have sung, “All My Ex’s Live In Texas” at AT&T Stadium: George Strait and Mick Jagger. It was only a snippet from Jagger, but it was great to hear his pseudo-country voice in full effect.
Richards spelled Jagger for two numbers, and took time out to remember the Stones’ longtime saxophone player, Bobby Keys of Lubbock, who died recently. But Jagger was the show, a rock ‘n’ roll front man to end all rock ‘n’ roll front men and he would have been if he were half the age he is now. As he strutted and danced down the runway from the main stage, a flood of cell phone cameras went off, seeking to capture a moment of the band’s magic.