June 6, 2015
Arlington, TX USA
Review by Michael Insuaste
Photos by Rudy Luna
The Rolling Stones
In celebration of their 50th year as a musical group, the world’s greatest rock and roll band, The Rolling Stones, rolled through north Texas to make their only statewide appearance at AT&T Stadium, known to many of us here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area as "Jerry World."
What can be said about The Stones that most of us who have been enjoying their music for the past 5 decades don't already know? Having numerous commercial hits, notorious lifestyle alternatives and of course, their longevity in an ever-changing music business that has kept them on top of the rock and roll food chain. There is NO BAND that has come close to their persona as a band or their ability to pull 80,000 fans for a single gig.
Kicking off the show with one of their sixties classics, "Jumping Jack Flash" was quite fitting as 71 year old front man Mick Jagger hit the stage like a rooster on acid straight out of the hen house. His voice was strong and his swagger was stronger as he flaunted himself from end to end. Amazed I was, and a-rockin' we were!
Several big hits, like "It's Only Rock And Roll," “Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Tumbling Dice," fired up the house from top to bottom - or it seemed. From my perspective, many of the fans were comfortably sitting in their seats, watching these veteran musicians with very little fanfare. The age range was quite diverse as you can imagine. For the seniors at hand, I understand they came to watch The Stones in a relaxing, laid back atmosphere and mindset, but for the 50 and younger crowd, I expected a bit more stimulation considering the ticket price in the section I sat in were $200 and up.
As the mouthpiece for the band, Mick Jagger spoke to the huge crowd with ease, asking, "Do you have any song requests?" and even taunting us, asking the proper name of the venue. And being the only Texas date on the tour, he felt he had to make a wide shout out and mention the other major Texas cities such as, well, you know who they are - the ones that didn't get the show!
The Zip Code Tour, also supporting their recent re-release of their classic 1971 LP Sticky Fingers, saw the band performing a couple of great tunes from that famed album such as the dance classic "Bitch" and the smooth "Moonlight Mile," one of Mick Jagger's favorite songs to sing live.
One of the moments I was waiting for was the spotlight on guitarist Keith Richards. With only a few commercial hits under his strap, Keith took the mic and gave a warm dedication to their late friends and fellow musicians, sax player Bobby Keys and keyboardist Ian Mclagan, and performed "Before They Make Me Run" from my favorite Rolling Stones LP, their 1978 release Some Girls. His second selection was a more popular song from another classic LP, Exile On Main Street: "Happy," with Ronny Wood on slide guitar. There is something about Keith Richards that makes him so lovable among the fans. His classic guitar style, cigarette on lip and a puff of smoke not far behind, Richards has musically and physically survived longer than most of his contemporaries. Long Live Keith Richards!
For me, the show kicked into high gear when they played "Gimme Shelter" from the Let It Bleed LP. With back-up singer Lisa Fischer, who has been touring with The Stones since 1989, the collaboration between her and Mick Jagger was a highlight of the show so far. One thing I noticed is they left out a certain line in the lyrics, "Rape, Murder..." Hmm… have The Stones become politically correct in their golden years? Perhaps, but no one really noticed, except us hardcore fans.
A surprising moment of the show is when Mick Jagger walked out wear a cowboy hat and slowly kicked into "All My Ex's Live In Texas"... the classic country number by George Strait. Needless to say the crowd went wild! I swear the lady behind me about peed in her seat, screaming and shouting like a little school girl. Only a few performers and certain songs can get some fans so excited. Gotta love it!
"Start Me Up" sparked the entire venue from the first guitar note. From what I can see, about 75% of the 80,000 were on their feet at this time, or at least for the first part of the song. The fireworks did help awaken the silent minority.
From there, with the fiery flames displayed on the massive video screens, you heard the classic drum intro to the best song of the night by the great Charlie Watts. It was time for Satan to make his appearance. That's right, "Sympathy For The Devil" was on the rise. This song has been one of the most popular numbers performed at all the Stones concerts since they laid it down in 1968. It brings out the devilish side in most of us Stones fans, and come on; how can you not sing along with the “Who-Who's"? Back-up singer Bernard Fowler, who has also been with the band since 1989, joined Keith and Ronny center stage for the exuberant fun!
Exit, stage left for a slight break.
At this point I began to feel a bit worn down because I knew the show was coming to an end. Like saying good-bye to an old friend, it gets hard knowing the time to say farewell is near. Almost hitting the two-hour mark, the band returned to the stage with the UTA A Cappella Choir. As added back-up singers, the choir stepped in to performed another Stones classic, "You Can't Always Get What You Want," a somber song that starts off warm but hits high on jubilation by the end of the tune.
The final number was no surprise; finishing with their biggest hit from their heyday, "Satisfaction" incorporated a nice display of fireworks in the background that brought the Big Show to a close. Quite a performance! What can one say about The Rolling Stones? You either love them or hate them, but there is no doubt they have earned their status as the world's greatest and one of the most profound bands of our time. Could this be their final Big Tour? Who knows? One thing is for sure- they will NEVER announce it!