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THE ROLLING STONES

Rolling Stones.Mick Jagger5899Perth Arena

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It was delayed. We were heartbroken. But surely not as heartbroken as Mick Jagger. And so we waited. And were rewarded.

The Rolling Stones first played Perth way back in 1965. In the almost half-century between that first date and their latest visit, they have become what they first started calling themselves back in ’69: the greatest rock & roll band in the world.

In excess of two hours of solid state, old school, bombastic rock kicked off with – what else? – Start Me Up, and the capacity crowd went wild. Mick strutted, Keith prowled, Ronnie treated the whole thing like a very amusing private joke, and iceman Charlie Watts keep things rolling from behind the drum kit – if Richards is the human riff, then surely Watts is the human metronome, bringing jazz precision to solid rock.

The thing about a Stones show is that there are no surprises – although the inclusion of an audience-voted song in the set list mimics one (Bitch, incidentally, got the nod on this particular night). Rather, you know what you are going to get and the joy comes form the realisation that the Stones are exactly as great as you hoped they would be – as great as myth, legend and hyperbole promised they would be. These men playing these songs is the epitome of rock, and the set was packed with classic cuts: It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It), Honky Tonk Woman, Midnight Rambler – with old hand Mick Taylor returning to the fold! – Gimme Shelter, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Sympathy For The Devil. Keith took vocal duties on You Got The Silver, as is his wont, plus Can’t Be Seen, while the odd deeper cut (Worried About You) and one new track (Doom And Gloom) kept the proceedings from being just a greatest hits compilation – although, indeed, when the hits are this great, who’s complaining?

Jokes about the Strolling Bones come easily, but the energy and enthusiasm the band brings to bear should be the envy and the aspirational high water mark for any outfit who reckons themselves a decent live draw. Age has not wearied them; rather, years of rubbing against each other like Stones in a bag has left the band a perfectly fitted and honed music machine – on a purely technical level, this was one of the best live shows in memory.

The encore saw us graced with You Can’t Always Get What You Want – complete with choral contribution – and, finally, Satisfaction, wrapping things up with the song that started it all. Thousands of people ticked a box on their bucket list this week – thank you gentlemen, it was worth the wait.

 

TRAVIS JOHNSON

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