Review | The Rolling Stones | New Jersey

Words by: Chadbyrne R. Dickens

The Rolling Stones :: 12.15.12 :: Prudential Center :: Newark, NJ

The Rolling Stones
"It's only rock n roll and I like it" exclaimed consummate front man Mick Jagger last Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. One would be hard pressed to be convinced of that when soaking in the sounds of The World's Greatest Rock n' Roll Band, that again proved it's much more than only rock n roll. A fervor was created when the The Rolling Stones announced a 50th anniversary tour, and it reached a palpable peak that never let up, even after the last note of "Satisfaction" concluded the historic 5 night anniversary run.

Possessing one of the most prolific catalogs in musical history, Mick and the men pleasantly peppered the frenetic crowd with endless selections of patented classic rock n roll hits as if Casey Kasem was spinning an edition of America's All-Time Top 40. Although the band members' average age is 69, and having not performed live since 2007, the energy they create onstage could rival any boy band.

Charlie Watts
The anticipation for these shows was immense, with even non-floor seats going for nearly $1000 each. Mick Jagger (vocals), Keith Richards (lead guitar), Ronnie Wood (guitar), Charlie Watts (drums), Darryl Jones (bass), Bobby Keys and Tim Ries (saxophone), Chuck Leavell (keyboards), and Bernard Fowler and Lisa Fischer (vocals), pummeled through a rapid-fire 22 song set that included so many guests, Jagger joked he was David Letterman. Mick also started a long list of countries included in the vast global live stream. He even poked fun at the hosting state, New Jersey, by exclaiming "I like an ironic license plate!", of course referring to The Garden State. Jagger juxtaposed that with a solemn reminder of the world's pain in the wake of the Newtown tragedy.

Bill Wyman
A mature crowd was interspersed with young fans catching The Stones for the first time, and were thus unaware of Bill Wyman's departure in 1993, or that Keith Richards dreamed up the riff for one of the most popular songs in musical history ("Satisfaction"), or that Apple once paid the highest amount for a song when they included "Start Me Up" in a commercial, or that The Stones performance at the marred Altamont changed history and effectively closed the chapter on the 1960's and the Woodstock generation. However, they witnessed an array of varied material encompassing the band's musical landscape of chart toppers, cult hits and even some recent releases. Amongst Jagger's gyrating hips and trademark sexy dance chops, still eerily reminiscent of the young Brit that tore up the scene in the early 1960's, stood the iconic vision of cool personified; Mr. Richards in his well-worn outfit and strumming some of our most known guitar licks with effortless grace.

Bruce Springsteen
A show without a dull passage, amidst the energetic romps were highlighted moments of pure ecstasy. Local hero Bruce Springsteen joined Mick, who has finally learned to play a fine guitar, for an anthemic version of "Tumblin Dice" that engulfed the crowd. John Mayer and Gary Clark Jr. (both guests at previous shows on the tour) joined in for a barn-burning rendition of "I'm Going Down," a blues-driven Stones song original on their 1975 album, Metamorphosis. Mayer again proved to be one of the greatest guitarists of our generation, mentoring the up-and-coming Clark. As Wood and Richards joined the fray, a memorable foursome guitar tour de force was on display. Mick Taylor, the Stones guitarist during some memorable and productive years (1969-1974), collaborated on a rambunctious and punchy "Midnight Rambler" as Jagger blew away on his harmonica. It wasn't due to a lack of effort, but The Black Keys' appearance was forgettable, as the straight up blues standard selection "Who Do You Love" didn't showcase their immense talent effectively.

Lady Gaga
Surprisingly, "Dead Flowers", a longtime favorite of hardcore Stones aficionados from Sticky Fingers and not a mass hit, was chosen through an online fan vote. Many rock n roll fans were apprehensive about the scheduled appearance of pop diva Lady Gaga (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta), but for 7:24 minutes she commandeered the stage, powerfully demonstrating stellar vocal chops and abundant energy in a commanding duet with Jagger on "Gimme Shelter" that clearly resonated longest with fans. It was a strong enough version that it may rival, in one's memory banks, the indelible mark left after its use near the conclusion of "Goodfellas."

With the gloomy reality that the version of "This could be the last time" may actually be the last time, the crowd embraced it like a last dance with that love of your life one is trepidatious about the possibility of never seeing again. Mick Jagger concluded the intense night by stating, "This is the last show of the anniversary tour. It's been fun and we hope to see you again soon." Many ardent music fans wait with baited-breath.

Set List: Get Off Of My Cloud, The Last Time, It's Only Rock & Roll, Paint It Black, Gimme Shelter (w Lady Gaga), Wild Horses, Going Down (with John Mayer & Gary Clark Jr.) Dead Flowers, Who Do You Love (with the Black Keys), Doom and Gloom, One More Shot, Miss You, Honky Tonk Women, Before They Make Me Run, Happy, Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor), Tumbling Dice (with Bruce Springsteen), Start Me Up, Brown Sugar, Sympathy for the Devil Encore: You Can't Always Get What You Want (with the Trinity Wall Street Choir), Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Satisfaction

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[Published on: 12/21/12]

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