Saturday, July 23, 2022

The Rolling Stones @ Hippodrome de Longchamp, Paris -July 23rd, 2022

For over forty years, each new tour undertaken by The Rolling Stones has been met with comments alluding to the fact that this might be The Last Time. And with each passing year, that possibility is getting ever more real: Jagger turns 79 in a few days, and Richards isn't far behind. This tour sees the World's Greatest Rock n' Roll Band celebrating 60 years, and the celebration is bittersweet: beloved drummer Charlie Watts died last year at age 80, another sign that Time Waits For No One. Thankfully, it seems his replacement by longtime Keith Richards associate Steve Jordan was well accepted by the fans, and let's face it: no one ever expected them to stop. As long as Mick and Keith are alive and willing, the Stones will keep rolling.
The show opened with a moving montage of Charlie which drove many a fan to tears. This was a perfect way to pay tribute to the man who always drew the loudest cheers during the band introductions, and proved to be as cathartic for the fans as it must be for the band. And with the sadness out of the way, it was time to celebrate. Opening with Street Fighting Man and unfolding one of the most unfuckwithable setlists in music, the Rolling Stones spent the following two hours living up to their hard-earned title of World's Greatest Rock N' Roll Band.

Jagger was his usual mischievous self, cracking jokes throughout, in an impeccable French. And how is he even able to move like that, and sing like that at his age? He is simply not human. He defies age and gravity. Keith of course is the epitome of cool and Ronnie, underneath his goofy demeanor, is the one that provides most of the guitars in the band. New drummer Steve Jordan rocks harder than his predecessor, but never forgets the swing: this is what distinguishes this band from all others. This is what makes the Stones roll.

But the concert was also an emotional affair: in all likelihood, this is the last time that most of this audience gets to party with these guys. If this is really it, then it is a very satisfying bookend for yours truly, finishing in the same venue where I first saw them over a quarter century ago. But who knows? There is no template. These guys are pioneers. They have invented the music business, stadium rock, nostalgia tours. They've played blues, country, rock n' roll, disco... Could they go another five years at this level, playing high-energy rock shows well into their eighties? If anyone can, it's them.

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