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LIVE REVIEW: THE ROLLING STONES, Perth, 29 Oct 2014

| 7 November 2014 | Reply

LIVE REVIEW: THE ROLLING STONES, Perth, 29 October 2014
Perth Arena, Wednesday 29 October, 2014
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
9.5/10

 

Photo from Perth Arena

Photo from Perth Arena

‘The Rolling Bones.’ They’re too old, past it. They should be rolling in wheelchairs and zimmer frames rather than rocking all over the world… That’s what people will tell you about the greatest rock n’ roll band in the world, but here’s a little truth for you: from the moment the Perth Arena house lights dimmed and the stage was bathed in blood red light, The Rolling Stones had thirteen thousand people in the palm of their hands and didn’t let go for over two hours.

A pulsating intro track boomed around the cavernous room until the opening chords rang from Keef Richards’ axe, heralding Start Me Up, and they were off like a hungry gang of street kids.

This was the infamous tour that was cancelled with a day or two’s notice after Mick Jagger’s partner, L’Wren Scott, tragically took her own life back in March, and Jagger took the first available opportunity after the opening track to graciously apologise for the long wait and thank the crowd for their patience. Later, Richards would do the same in his own inimitable style with a few words of gratitude which trailed off into a humble shrug which meant as much as the singer’s own acknowledgement.

For a group of pensioner age The Stones are more vibrant and alive and entertaining than just about ANY other band on the planet, and of course they have a back catalogue that is as unrivaled as it is vast. Accordingly, this means they couldn’t possibly play ALL your favourites, as well as ensuring that each night’s set list will be a little different.

On this second show of the 14 On Fire Australian leg, the band ticked pretty much all the boxes – something old (It’s Only Rock n’ Roll, Get Off My Cloud, Bitch, Gimme Shelter and more), something new (Doom & Gloom), something borrowed (‘70s guitarist Mick Taylor takes time out from his own touring schedule to appear as a special guest for a couple of songs) and something blue (a stomping version of Midnight Rambler featuring Taylor on some blistering lead guitar and Jagger’s greatly underrated harp playing make a glorious blues)

The secret of the Stones is the way the band gel – or ‘practise the ancient art of weaving’ as Richards has been known to describe it. He and Ronnie Wood’s guitars intertwine sinuously and seamlessly so you can barely hear when one stops and the other starts – and they exude consumate roguish cool. The lithe Jagger is the quintessential frontman, impossibly energetic and still in possession of a great voice with a virtually intact high range even at his age. Backing singers Lisa Fischer and Bernard Fowler are headliner-good on their own, and the additional musicians are peerless: bassist Darryl Jones (a veteran of the band for twenty years now) is a rock, sax players Tim Ries and Karl Denson (filling in for an ailing Bobby Keys), Chuck Leavell on keyboards and Matt Clifford on keys and French horn.

The tiger in the tank is Charlie Watts. As ever, he’s the glue without whom The Stones would have ceased to exist years – decades – ago.

As they bound playfully around the very minimalist stage – the light show does much of the work – the extended band are super-rehearsed, finely tuned, and although any show of this size has to be choreographed to a certain extent, it’s still a shit-hot band playing some of the best rock songs ever written, and it has all the raw fiery energy of REAL rock n’ roll.

The days of various members nodding off backstage after taking a fix, or swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniels onstage are long gone: The Stones are a well-oiled touring machine and they do it better than anyone, providing the crowd with a magnificent experience that was actually worth the very expensive ticket price.

Jagger uses the lips logo-shaped walkway to get closer to the people, and spices the set up with some deeper cuts that many in the crowd appear not to know – Out Of Control, for instance, from the Bridges To Babylon album featured some more tasty harp from Jagger, but an argument could be made that there are more worthy older classics that would have pleased the crowd more. No-one should blame them for wanting to play something from most stages of their fifty year career, though.

Everyone’s favourite rock n’ roll brigand, Richards, takes the mic for two tracks and instantly surprises with the little-heard You Got The Silver and, eschewing his signature tune Happy, delivering a wonderful rendition of the underrated Steel Wheels track Can’t Be Seen.

Jones plays a disco-flavoured bass solo through Miss You, also featuring some excellent sax work and Jagger’s super-high vocals, before the singer leads the crowd in a singalong of ‘yeah, yeah, WOOOOOO!’s.

The sass n’ frass of Gimme Shelter is another highlight as Fischer duets with Jagger at the midpoint of the crowd ramp, magnificently rendering Merry Clayton’s evocative vocal parts.

The stage is again bathed in blood red as Jagger makes a re-entry sporting a dark cloak of wool and fur for Sympathy For The Devil, before Wood hits a power chord to summon the big guy himself, and Keef delivers his solo crab-walking around the ramp. It’s processed evil for the masses.

Brown Sugar closes the main set before The Giovanni Consort Choir open the encore with beautiful backing vocals for You Can’t Always Get What You Want, before the song devolves to a New Orleans-style ragtime finale.

Last but far from least, the raw and jagged riff of Satisfaction (with Mick Taylor on acoustic guitar) gets the entire crowd to their feet for a wonderful celebration of the life-affirming power of music. Sure it’s only rock n’ roll, but everyone present liked it – A LOT.

Set list:
Start Me Up
Get Off My Cloud
It’s Only Rock n’ Roll
Tumbling Dice
Worried About You
Doom & Gloom
Bitch
Out Of Control
Honky Tonk Women
You Got The Silver
Can’t Be Seen
Midnight Rambler
Miss You
Gimme Shelter
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Sympathy For The Devil
Brown Sugar

You Can’t Always Get What You Want
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Shane

Category: Live Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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