NYCD: The Blog

Sunday, October 01, 2006

OLDER BUT... OLDER: TONY CHECKS OUT THE ROLLING STONES

Once the average ticket price for a Rolling Stones ticket equaled the monthly rent on a studio apartment in the Bronx, I assumed I'd seen them for the last time. The Stones are the Stones, and once they're gone we surely won't see their likes again, and they're still great in concert, and yada yada yada, but frankly, Mick Jagger would have to feed me matzoh ball soup from a porcelain tureen and wipe my chin with a linen napkin afterwards to make a Stones concert worth the prices they're charging.

By an obscene stroke of luck, however, I wound up in the 13th row at Giants Stadium last Wednesday, gaping at the Stones as they defied age and time yet again and put on a professional, rocking two hour show. When they're on, they can still generate a head of steam as hot as any band in the world. Keith is still the coolest guy in the world. Mick still dances like an ass-shakin', hip-wigglin, crazed monkey and somehow never seems to be out of breath. Ron Wood, who went into rehab yet again to prepare for the tour, is somehow even skinnier than he usually is. And Charlie is still Charlie, which is to say one of the handful of greatest drummers in rock history. Sure, they did all the obligatory hits -- "Satisfaction," "Start Me Up," "Brown Sugar," etc., but they also pulled out a lot of chestnuts for the fans, like "Monkey Man," "Sway," "You Got The Silver," and "Just My Imagination."

I don't see how any band can justify $450 tickets, but I've gotta admit the Stones did their damndest to give the fans their money's worth. Fireworks before and after the show; a moving mini-stage that slid towards the back of the stadium for a few songs to give the fans in the "cheap" seats a better look; an enormous inflatable Stones lips-and-tongue logo; huge jets of fire bellowing up during "Sympathy For The Devil;" you name it. And the band didn't slacken for a minute during the show. Even at 112 or however old they are, they can still rock fiercely for two hours a night.

And yet... the years are beginning to take their toll. Mick is still one of the most charismatic performers around, but he avoids going for the high notes whenever possible. And Keith looks bad even for Keith -- he sang a gorgeous, moving "You Got The Silver," but then staggered through "Little T & A," and even got lost during "Satisfaction." For much of the rest of the show he was a non-entity, leaving Ron Wood as the musical compass for the evening.

If you haven't seen the Stones, and you care at all about rock n' roll, they're still a must-see. If you've already seen them and are either an obsessive fan or have just won the lottery, they're worth seeing again. But I'd do it sooner than later. Heaven only knows what kind of shape they're gonna be in come 2012, when they hit the boards for their seemingly inevitable 50th anniversary tour.

9 Comments:

Blogger soundsourcenyc said...

i gladly passed up a ticket for the show 7 rows behind you. no expectations no regrets

7:18 PM  
Blogger soundsourcenyc said...

from the pen of bob lefsetz. i don't usually care for this guy but every once in a while he gets it right...

What's creepy about the passe acts is they want you to believe they're still in
their heyday. Not that they've still got their chops, which they might, but
it's the actual YEAR of their greatest success.

Look at Madonna. This almost fifty year old mother of two wants us to believe
she's still cutting edge, still a limit tester, when the songs everybody comes
to hear live were hits DECADES ago! She works out hours a day, to have the body
of a twentysomething, while those in attendance are all lumps and bumps.

And that's why I won't go see the Stones and so many of the classic rock acts.
The construct bugs me. Like time stopped still. Like we're all supposed to
pretend we're still in junior high. Like they matter. I still have a life. I
like to believe good times are ahead. I don't want to reside in an adolescent
mental jail. I'd rather listen to the records, at least they're HONEST!

3:15 PM  
Blogger Soupercollider said...

The problem with Lefsetz is that his bellyaching is just as obnoxious as what he's bellyaching about.

Aside from the obscene ticket prices, why not see the Stones because...well..they are still great in concert? Why must "cutting edge" always be a factor?

Not liking Madonna, or apologizing for seeing Peter Frampton in concert--something Lefsetz did in this same newsletter, but was left out here--is just as offensive. Frampton can still sing and play and that should be good enough.

It's music. Lighten up. Trying to be so hip is really square.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Michael in New York said...

I'm with Soupercollider and not just because Bob Lefsetz is wrong about Madonna (who is Bob Lefsetz, by the way?). Fans of madonna are not just there to hear "Holiday." They're there to hear critically acclaimed hits like Ray of Light and Music and Frozen and the very good songs from her new album. And she's not cutting edge? Well, tell it to the bomb threats and worldwide ruckus she created. She is a terrible example if you want to highlight an oldies act. The Rolling Stones ARE an oldies act since they last hit the top 40 in 1989 with Mixed Emotions, some 17 years ago. and really their last gasp creatively was surely Tattoo You. What the heck is wrong with musicians delivering their hits with a certain conviction? Save your scorn for Rod Stewart who makes a mockery of any rock credibility he ever possessed with his lounge singer wallow in rock classics on his new album. I'd rather see the Rolling Stones in 1977 of course, but that isn't possible. Did soundsourcenyc turn down FREE tickets in row 20? I can see not paying those prices, but if you turned down free tickets and hadn't seen them in many years or never, I don't understand.

9:58 PM  
Blogger soundsourcenyc said...

i turned down free tickets. and it's not about cutting edge or being hip. it's about overpirced tickets to see an oldies act at a football stadium with 50,000 of your closest friends. by the wat the last time i saw the stones was i don't know one of their forgetable tours from the last 15 years or so maybe it was voodoo lounge (also a free ticket). saw them at the academy of music in 65 and twice at the garden in 69 (if i remember the year correctly i'm getting a little foggy). also i guess theirs nothing wrong with musicians delivering their music with a certain conviction it's just that for $250 or whatever a ticket you could see the racontours or massive attack or the drive by truckers or you name 1000 other bands 6 or 7 times in a venue that seats 3000 not 60,000. or better yet go see james hunter with 200 other people 15 times. kinda of a bang for the buck thing as well. the stones etc are ripping off their aging fans in my opinion giving them an overpriced oldies show with pyrotechnics. and how about the who while we're on the subject moon and entwhistle are history and their still slogging around charging a fortune to see em in an arena. and as great as pete townshend is moon and entwhistle were both masters of their instruments and integral to the who's sound. yeah i know this time around they have three new songs wow thrilling. and yes lefsetz is an asshole.

3:08 PM  
Blogger NYCD Online said...

If the choice was 25-year-old Rolling Stones or 60-year-old Rolling Stones, the choice would be obvious. And when the choice is 60-year-old Rolling Stones or no Rolling Stones, the choice should be just as obvious. Especially when the ticket is FREE. What were you thinking?! The fact that they're no longer great songwriters has absolutely nothing to do with whether they can still turn it on onstage. Which they can. No, they're not worth the prices they charge, but as long as there are morons willing to pay $450 (which was the face value of my free ticket) to see them, why shouldn't they make every dollar they can? Wouldn't you?

3:22 PM  
Blogger soundsourcenyc said...

i'd rather rehearse with the cool jerks than go see the stones even with a free ticket

11:42 PM  
Blogger Soupercollider said...

so basically soundsource, you couldn't get out of band practice. and by the way, The Who was just awesome. I just don't see Massive Attack giving the same energy.

1:18 PM  
Blogger soundsourcenyc said...

getting out of practice was not the issue. a friend of mine saw massive attack and thought they were great. full band two drummers the whole nine yards. and great songs that we're written within the last ten years and i'm sure the who we're awesome. my issue isn't that these guys can't play anymore it's ticket prices and the fact that it's basically an oldies show. just call it what it is that's all.

4:04 PM  

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