The Rolling Stones turn back the clock, as they rock Southampton for the first time in over 50 years.
In over five decades the Stones have crafted a massive legend, known as much for their Rockstar antics as the raft of beloved tunes. Part of the British group’s deserved renown is that despite each of its members pushing into their 70s, the Stones have never slowed down.
The night’s blistering set at the St Mary Stadium proves to be no exception.
From the first notes of ‘Start Me up’ to the firework serenaded send-off ‘Satisfaction’ there is no let up. Some artists struggle to maintain their vocal presence as they progress through the latter years of their career, but this certainly does not include Mick Jagger.
The 74-year-old belts out each tune with unwavering strength, energy, and enthusiasm. That command doesn’t just extend to the singer’s impressive voice, but to his entire stage persona.
Whether powering through ‘Jumpin' Jack Flash’ or singing the blues during his rework of Buddy and Ella Johnson’s 50s hit ‘I'm Just Your Fool’, Jagger just won’t stand still. As if trapped on hot coals, the hit maker paces vigorously along the runway stage all night, stopping only occasionally to chat with the crowd and have fun with his colleagues.
The rest of the band aren’t too shy about showcasing their enthusiasm and lapping up the crowd’s adulation either. Charlie Watts struts his glittering shoes, Ronnie Wood performs a jig for the faithful, while Keith Richards stands out with vocals that sound a little reminiscent of Willie Nelson on ‘The Worst’.
The legendary Brits haven’t survived an ever-changing music industry, not to mention reaped the rewards of exorbitant ticket prices, without knowing how to please a crowd.
The evening’s fare sees them once again demonstrating their expert craft.
The raucous hit parade of ‘Start Me Up’, ‘Let's Spend the Night Together’, and ‘It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)’ are quick out of the gate. Like much of the band’s catalogue, the tunes are irresistibly catchy, have big hooks, and accessible lyrics.
Smart musicianship coupled with a well-mixed sound system mean that punters, young or old, drunk or sober, can take something from the occasion. What’s more, the chaps aren’t afraid to push tracks well past their original length. Though the move sometimes feels a tad exhausting, it allows the fellas and their supporting cast to showcase their artistry and keep the party jumping.
An 11-minute rendition of the rockin’ blues number ‘Midnight Rambler’ is a fun frolic as Ronnie Wood is let loose on the song, his guitar’s Smokey roar combines well with Mick’s chipper harmonica. With songs like ‘Get Off of My Cloud’ failing to make the cut some may be disappointed their favourite missed out, to long instrumental breaks, but they would be hard-pressed not to find joy from the excellence on display.
As the concert goes deeper into the evening the audience is treated to Jagger’s ingratiating charm.
The front man doesn’t say much, but when he does it’s with a deft ability to know his audience. The Kent born singer happily congratulates the Saints on surviving the Premier League relegation zone, name drops team legend Matt Le Tissier, and cheekily recounts being banged up in the nearby nick, adding that it was good for putting Away fans in.
The affable oratory not only keeps an up-tempo show moving, but also ensures that the megastars have a grounded air of being part of the fans fun, rather than above it.
The big guns continue to arrive in the 19-song run. ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ gets the budget thrown at it with sinister red smoke billowing from the stage, while the mournful and unsettling ’Paint It Black’ is like nothing else on the bill.
By the time fireworks see off the closer ‘(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction’, it’s clear that for most punters that opinionated refrain is far from the truth.
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