Rolling Stones at Old Trafford
Photos and dreadful words: Anthony Firmin
Let’s face it, the Rolling Stones are pushing the phrase “getting on a bit” so this is quite possibly their last tour. You can’t always get what you want with live shows, but important questions still need to be asked: can Jack Flash still jump? And how much more sympathy do they have for the devil before it wears a bit thin?
Support for tonight’s show is from Richard Ashcroft (he of The Verve) although the likes of Liam Gallagher have supported elsewhere (there is no way Gallagher would have performed at Old Trafford though). Ashcroft’s sparkly jacket is, well, sparkly and taking it off and placing it on a mannequin proves to be one of only a couple of highlights for the crowd. The rest of the time the response is merely polite as much of his set sounds very similar; the final song, Bittersweet Symphony, finally gets the crowd going but it is too little, too late. Fortunately we don’t have to wait too long for the Rolling Stones to come on stage.
And it’s alright now because the ‘Stones leap straight into Jumpin’ Jack Flash, and let’s face it, It’s Only Rock’n’Roll (But I Like It). Everyone is happy and the first question has already been answered!
Mick’s wearing a sparkly jacket too and it looks very similar to the cover of the latest Hyena Kill album – is he a secret fan? Regardless of his taste in clothing, he certainly knows how to work the crowd and struts down the catwalk like Tumbling Dice, the band certainly don’t look Shattered from this tour.
The band reminisce with Just Your Fool, back to times when they played the Odeon and Free Trade Hall here in Manchester, before encouraging us to Let’s Spend The Night Together - quite a big request from the fans! The crowd are Like A Rolling Stone themselves but You Can’t Always Get What You Want Mick dons an acoustic guitar and Ronnie Wood plays a respectable solo on his battered Les Paul.
The video screens are impressive too and drummer Charlie Watts regularly pops up as a reminder that he is the heartbeat of the band – solid and dependable – having celebrated his 77th birthday a few days back. Those screens are painted black for Paint It Black, which has a much more modern feel, before the band roll out the Honky Tonk Woman (Keef’s Telecaster only has five strings, the bottom E is missing, interestingly).
Following introductions for the band and supporting musicians ,Mick gets a break for a couple of songs; You Got The Silver voice Keef, it is surprisingly good and Before They Make Me Run to the bar for another round of drinks the band finally show they still have Sympathy For The Devil, wooo, wooo!
Oh how we Miss You and your disco dancing Mr. Jagger, but we all join in getting down and seriously funky with them. At this point he is wearing another sparkly jacket, a nice red number, as he aims to be a Midnight Rambler, somewhere to put his harp when he is singing and it is easy to forget how instrumental the harp was to their sound in their early days. Jagger’s energy levels are incredible, he has been onstage for 100 minutes now and he is still running and leaping around. Charlie on the other hand is now looking beat after every song. Keef is just Keef and Ronnie is having the time of his life on stage!
The Stones can make a grown man cry as they Start Me Up, yeah yeah woooo…. but Brown Sugar tastes so good! The band bounce back for an encore, they want to Gimme Shelter but it’s not raining, they do give me a lot of Satisfaction over the course of their two hours onstage.
A truly great performance from a band that can honestly be called legendary and with a back catalogue like theirs, there is always going to be songs that are missed. A more than respectable performance.