So I have been a very fortunate person, and I try to always keep that in mind. I really enjoy a lot of music, so going to concerts is something I do whenever I can, which hasn’t been often in the last year and a half. Last night the Rolling Stones rolled into town. An emotional experience for fans and the band. A phenomenal concert. So a few observations, aside from the music.
This is the F**k Coronavirus Tour. Not one word about the epidemic. Not one word about George Floyd. Just music. The Stones may know what you want, but they really know what you need. And what you need is to be removed from worldly cares and just be moved by music. No coronamonomania here.
These guys must not know that singing spews very heavy viral loads, because they encouraged the crowd to vocalize along with the band multiple times. Or maybe they just don’t care. When the band came on, many people around us were in tears. The idea that once again 50,000 plus people, 99% plus unmasked, could get together in person and share a common love was overwhelming. We lost so much of what it is to be human during this epidemic, most of it needlessly.
And the band was emotional too. Keith Richards spoke, with tears welling up in his eyes, of what it meant to be back with the fans. The Stones enjoy performing more than ever. Those on stage have survived, and are keenly aware of those who didn’t, going back to Brian Jones. And they lost a massive part of their core with Charlie Watts’ passing. As those of us who are getting quite old will appreciate, at some point it is freeing to just still be alive and you have a greater awareness of what really makes you happy and satisfied with your life. And for the Stones, that is performing music for fans. They truly enjoy it and that comes through in the show.
And perform they did. A tremendous show, Mick prancing as though it were 4o years ago, Keithy and Ronny with the guitar licks, all the sidemen and backing vocals hitting powerful rock grove after rock grove. We heard oldies like 19th Nervous Breakdown and Paint it Black, and all the classic hits, with the Let it Bleed playlist strongly featured. Over time, memory can fade about how well their songs captured a moment in time. Few bands, if any, can create such stirring guitar licks and sustain such deep rythmic momentum.
The penultimate song was Gimme Shelter, from 1969, another deeply troubled time. A storm is threatening our very lives today, but love is just a kiss away. Live your lives folks, it is all you have.