At a time when a farewell tour would be easy to announce and simply putting their collective feet up would be even easier, there’s satisfaction in seeing The Rolling Stones speeding onwards with no sign of a brake pedal. A strutting, peacocking advert for the joys of working beyond retirement age, the heavily furrowed septuagenarians were as entertaining as ever at London’s first stadium show of the year.
Their current No Filter Tour is a simple excuse to wheel out the hits again with minimal fuss, connected only tenuously to the 2016 blues covers album, Blue & Lonesome, that was the band’s latest recording. Special effects were sparse beyond some minor fireworks at the close, Keith Richards’ green trainers, a variety of shiny tops on Mick Jagger and a disconcerting up-the-nose-cam placed on Charlie Watts’ drumkit.
Jagger danced in an effusive, hand-flicking style that made him instantly recognisable even without the big screens, and sang in a voice unweakened by age, hitting a sweet falsetto during a rare outing for the 1976 ballad Fool to Cry. Richards’ two lead vocals were less memorable, but he led the charge with raw guitar work on a drawn out Midnight Rambler.
Ronnie Wood, as usual, looked delighted to be out of the house, a charming presence in a slick show that still had room for spontaneity. The band intros were mildly fluffed. Richards sheepishly rushed a cigarette before he had to sing. A fan vote called for Under My Thumb to join the setlist, despite it joining Brown Sugar among the more questionable lyrics of the evening.
Bassist Darryl Jones took the spotlight too, helping to turn Miss You into an epic disco monster. The hits sounded ageless, which must be what keeps this tireless band from withering and allows them to tick off another grateful stadium.
May 25, London Stadium, E20
June 19, Twickenham Stadium, TW2