The Rolling Stones made a triumphant return to the London stage on Sunday night in the first of five concerts to mark the 50th anniversary of their debut as an American-oriented blues band.
They showed no signs of wear and tear – except on their aging, heavily lined faces – as frontman Mick Jagger swaggered and strutted through a stellar two-and-a-half hour show. He looked remarkably trim and fit and was in top vocal form.
The Stones passed the half-century mark in style at the sometimes emotional gig that saw former bassist Bill Wyman and guitar master Mick Taylor join their old mates in front of a packed crowd at London’s 02 Arena.
Jagger, in skin-tight black pants, a black shirt and a sparkly tie, took time out from singing to thank the crowd for its loyalty.
“It’s amazing that we’re still doing this, and it’s amazing that you’re still buying our records and coming to our shows,” he said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Lead guitarist Keith Richards, whose survival has surprised many who thought he would succumb to drugs and drink, was blunter: “We made it,” he said. “I’m happy to see you. I’m happy to see anybody.”
Even the famously taciturn Wyman briefly cracked a smile when trading quips with Richards and Ronnie Wood.
The concert started with a brief video tribute from luminaries like Elton John, Iggy Pop and Johnny Depp, who praised the Stones for their audacity and staying power. The show contained an extended video homage to the American trailblazers who shaped their music: Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and others. The montage included rare footage of the young Elvis Presley.
The birthday bunch
Impressionist Rich Little is 74. Singer Tina Turner is 73. Singer Jean Terrell (replaced Diana Ross in the Supremes) is 68. Bassist John McVie (Fleetwood Mac) is 67. Actress Jamie Rose (“Falcon Crest,” “St. Elsewhere”) is 53. Country singer Linda Davis is 50. Actor Peter Facinelli is 39. Actress Maia Campbell (“In the House”) is 36. Country singer Joe Nichols is 36. Actress Jessica Bowman (“Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman”) is 32. Singer Natasha Bedingfield is 31. Drummer Ben Wysocki (The Fray) is 28.
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