Concert Review: The Rolling Stones- 22 May 2018 London

Former rock royalty Liam Gallagher was the backing artist. He had a terrific backing band who were badly let down by their front man. He didn’t understand what he had to do. A Rolling Stones audience knows what they like and like what they know. Liam’s delusion is that there is life after Oasis. His set had the same impact as a mega-diuretic. Thousands left as he warbled.

There was no such confusion by the Stones. Their backlist is terrific, which helps but they have developed musically since those days. Now we have Keith Richards flaunting his abilities. On occasions well-worn numbers were transformed into jazz and were obviously expanded from tight 3 minute numbers into 6/7 minutes of exquisite driving musical experiences. I wondered if they’d considered having Bill Frisell as a guest to play alongside Richards. Ronnie Wood was allowed a couple of magnificent moments of pure brio. To my disappointment Charlie Watts merely did a tremendous job of maintaining the bedrock of the set. I’d hoped for a virtuoso solo.

Mick Jagger, sustained by brilliant choreography, only fell from super-human once when he ‘had’ to ‘obey’ the will of the people- this was his Brexit moment. Four songs were offered to the public to be voted on and the one chosen was the weakest of the four: Under My Thumb. He obeyed and probably wont have voting again any time soon. There was another informal electoral process going on. Iconic songs- Honky Tonk Women, Brown Sugar, etc.- were greeted with floods of iPhone cameras lighting up the arena. Less welcome songs were ostracised.

Two wonderful hours of something that I’d feared was going to be a wallow in nostalgia (Yes, I’m that old!) was a genuine concert worth attending for the music. This wasn’t a pre-death wake. It was magnificent and I was very pleased to have attended.


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