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Review

Love it, yes they do

After all these years, nobody does rock 'n' roll better than the Rolling Stones, as more than 18,000 happy fans saw at the St. Pete Times Forum.

By SEAN DALY
Published October 20, 2005


photo
[Times photos: Chris Zuppa]
In front of the stage's giant video screen, Mick Jagger belts out a tune with his fellow Rolling Stones, from left, Ron Wood, Charlie Watts and Keith Richards on Wednesday night.

 
Name: Tee Blue
Age: 48
Residence: Tampa
Occupation: Local musician -- lead guitar and vocals
Favorite Stones song: Street Fighting Man
Number of previous Stones concerts: 4
What age should Mick call it quits: "I don't think he should. B.B. King's still doing it."
What's in your home/car CD player right now: Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet
Who else would you want to see live: Santana

Name: Alex Houser
Age: 10
Residence: Lake Charles, La.
Occupation: 4th grade student
Favorite Stones song: Jumpin' Jack Flash
Number of previous Stones concerts: 0
What age should Mick call it quits: "About 100."
What's in your home/car CD player right now: Rolling Stones, 40 Licks; Beethoven.
Who else would you want to see live: Led Zeppelin

Name: Syd Vickers
Age: 60
Residence: Port Charlotte
Occupation: Bartender
Favorite Stones song: Honky Tonk Women
Number of previous Stones concerts: 7
At what age should Mick call it quits: "Not at all. You can play music forever. It's not like playing baseball."
What's in your home/car CD player right now: Rolling Stones, Between the Buttons.
Who else would you want to see live: Elvis Presley

Name: Martha Sandusky
Age: 40
Residence: New Port Richey
Occupation: Cashier at Hess station
Amount spent on Stones gear Wednesday night: $90
Favorite Stones song: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
Number of previous Stones concerts: 5
What age should Mick call it quits: "Never. As long as he can get up on that stage and wiggle, I'm happy."
What's in your home/car CD player right now: DJ Santana (techno)
Who else would you want to see live: Neil Diamond

Name: Reema Hayden
Age: 35
Residence: Orlando
Occupation: Merchandise buyer for Disney (also 8 months pregnant)
Favorite Stones song: Start Me Up
Number of previous Stones concerts: 2
What age should Mick call it quits: "Never. As long as he can keep going."
What's in your home/car CD player right now: Rolling Stones, Hot Rocks 1964-1971
Who else would you want to see live: U2
What music does your unborn child like best: Simon & Garfunkel

TAMPA - Because there isn't a music critic alive who hasn't zinged umpteen Rolling-Stones-are-coots jokes over the past 20 years, and because most of those gags were wheezy and tired anyway, this review of Mick & Co's sold-out gig at the St. Pete Times Forum Wednesday will be refreshingly free of any played-out references to the British band's cumulative age.

Cause it's wrong.

Just wrong.

Really.

Even though during opening song Start Me Up, I'm fairly certain I saw drummer Charlie Watts keeping time with a brontosaurus bone.

Oh, c'mon! It's the Stones! They make us all giddy! And it's not like the self-proclaimed "World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band" cares about the japes. Not only are these 60-somethings very rich (tickets for this show soared as high as $500), but they remain devastatingly cool, prehistoric or not.

Plus, for more than two hit-packed hours, the blokes thoroughly pumped up 18,493 fans -- the very young and the very young at heart - with the cocksure knowledge that they're still better at their jobs than you'll ever be at yours.

Despite the fact that the "A Bigger Bang Tour" (named after their new album) is sponsored by the totally lame-sounding Ameriquest Mortgage Company, the Stones still have some naughty swagger in them. Are they as good as ever? Of course not. These days, the Stones lazily play too many songs at the same tempo and with little nuance. Classic cut It's Only Rock 'N' Roll, which used to grind along at a middling groove, sounded far too much like burner You Got Me Rocking.

But hey, for the most part, the Stones can still bring it with money's-worth gusto, with each band member capable of his own brand of thrills.

Mick Jagger, he of the infamous Stones logo lips and sexually-confused-chicken dance moves, rarely stood still, prancing like a dandy all over the massive stage, sharing his sly pout on the IMAX screen behind him. Mick still has the pipes, and he sounded especially crisp and inspired on new gutbucket-blues cut Back of My Hand and dusty country gem Dead Flowers.

(Although I am deducting cool points from Mick for this lame banter: "I want to welcome everyone who came from miles and miles away: Pittsburgh, Sarasota, Orlando." He later tried to talk hockey. Oof.)

Ronnie Wood - his guitar solos slithering through the arena-rock jangle like snakes dipped in Valvoline - infused some fresh, naughty blood into She's So Cold and Bitch.

Watts' casual backbone beat is as familiar as your heartbeat; heck, he barely moved during Miss You, but he's the reason you were shaking your caboose to that well-aged bit of disco.

And Keith Richards - dear, sweet immortal Keith - smirked out his legendary licks during that Glimmer Twins salute Tumbling Dice. The man lives in his own wonderful world, talking to himself, pointing to crowd members as if they were old pals. "Have you been good while I been away?" Keith lasciviously snickered before his solo showcase of rarity The Worst.

As a comfy little up-and-close-and-personal trick, the band rode a gliding catwalk to a smaller second stage at the opposite end of the arena. They seemed enlivened by the change of scenery: New cut Oh No, Not You Again had more feisty oomph than on A Bigger Bang. And a wonderfully nasty Honky Tonk Women had legit punch, with Wood and Richards hunting each other with knife-sharp licks, and Mick wiggling his wonder hips in pure seductive silliness.

(Speaking of which: English soul singer Joss Stone, a runway-model-tall blonde who prefers to perform in her bare feet, opened the show with some fine, if not exactly Times Forum-thrilling, blue-eyed wailing plus a rather sweet rendition of the Queen/David Bowie hit Under Pressure. She's 18 years old. In other words, she's young enough to be Mick's girlfriend.)

As the stage was bathed in a red glow, and Mick sang, "Please allow me to introduce myself..." the not-so-secret formula to the Stones' success became gloriously clear: Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie just love to play, be it Sympathy for the Devil or Brown Sugar. And that's what they did, rocking well into the night. And who knows? Maybe well into their 70s, too.

Sean Daly can be reached at sdaly@sptimes.com or 727 893-8467. His blog is at www.sptimes.com/blogs/popmusic

[Last modified October 20, 2005, 01:19:18]


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