'Wild Horses' couldn't turn fans away from Rolling Stones' Gillette Stadium triumph (2024)

'Wild Horses' couldn't turn fans away from Rolling Stones' Gillette Stadium triumph (1)

FOXBOROUGH— Jumping Jack news flash. The Rolling Stones have yet to run out of gas, gas, gas.

In fact, the Stones still run circles around their rock ‘n’ roll peers half their age or younger, as evident May 30 at Gillette Stadium. Then again, the Stones are not known as "the world’s greatest rock 'n' roll band” for nothing.

For a two-hour, 19-song set, including a two-song encore, Mick Jagger had the crowd of 45,000-plus under his thumb and on their collective feet.

While it would be laughable for Jagger to sing “The Last Time” with the catchy refrain, “Well, this could be the last time/This could be the last time/Maybe the last time/I don't know,” personally, I thought it was going to be the Stones’ last time back in 2019 after Jagger’s lifesaving heart surgery, and I never expected to see them tour again after the death of the Stones’ beloved drummer Charlie Watts, at age 80, in 2021. But what do I know? I’m only a music critic.

And it would just be downright comical for Jagger singing “Mother’s Little Helper,” with the opening line, “What a drag it is getting old,” when the remaining Stones (Jagger and Keith Richards, both 80, and Ronnie Wood, who turns 77 two days after Thursday’s concert) truly are old, but have proven age is merely a number and time is on their side. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Need a break? Play the USA TODAY Daily Crossword Puzzle.

After Thursday night, I am convinced that the Stones will never retire. And why should they?

'Wild Horses' couldn't turn fans away from Rolling Stones' Gillette Stadium triumph (2)

'Start Me Up'

Touring behind “Hackney Diamonds,” the Stones’ first album of new original material since 2005, the Stones sounded ferocious. The accompanied players were tight. The setlist was phenomenal. And the new cuts are killer live.

In short, the Rolling Stones on a tour, sponsored by AARP (insert punchline here), sound like they are getting better with age.

Jagger made an incessant pledge that he will “never stop, never stop, never stop” on the adrenaline-pumping, arena rocker “Start Me Up.” And the Stones front man wasn’t kidding. He swiveled his boney hips to the song’s signature three-chord crunch and his limber legs repeatedly ran up and down the catwalk and covered every inch of the massive stage while his arms and index fingers were extended out as if he was directing a fleet of planes flying on and off an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. And “Start Me Up” was only the opening number.

Wearing a patchy black and red leather jacket that looked like it was lifted out of Michael Jackson's closet, the skinny-as-a-rail but larger-than-life Jagger jumped right into the 1965 single "Get Off of My Cloud." And while the sentiment sounded a little dated, the enthusiasm conveyed in Jagger’s voice and the combined guitar crunch of Richards and Wood made it sound rocking and relevant.

Not only was “Bitch” totally bitchin’, it was the first number in which Richards and Wood had an opportunity to rock out with reckless abandon, which they did. The dual-guitar onslaught laid down a sweaty and sinewy groove that was peppered with Karl Denson and Tim Ries’ fiery horns, making it a fierce, full-body rocker and one of the evening’s early standouts.

On “Angry,” the first of four songs performed from the band’s latest “Hackney Diamonds,” the Stones prove they still know how to write a great arena rocker with an indelible power chord crunch.

'Emotional Rescue'

After tongue-in-cheekily reminding the audience to vote during this year’s presidential election, Jagger revealed that the fan-voted song of the evening was no other than the Stones’ last days of disco foray “Emotional Rescue.” Rarely played but sounding like it’s meant to be played live, Jagger’s flawless falsetto meshed with Darryl Jones’ funky bass line. By the time Jagger was serenading the audience with "You will be mine. You will be mine, all mine," they were deep under his hypnotic trance.

Jagger and company continued to roll nothing but sevens with the “Exile on Main St.” gem “Tumbling Dice.” After running out of audience members to point at or wave his arms to, Jagger stood on one leg like a flamingo. Talk about getting a leg up on the competition.Pouring his heart out over the jagged guitar riffs provided by Richards and Wood, Jagger was tall in the saddle on “Wild Horses,” arguable one of the greatest tender tough guy ballads ever recorded and another evening highlight.

The Stones delivered an absolutely stellar version of the timelessrock 'n' roll sermon "You Can't Always Get What You Want." With Jagger strumming an acoustic guitar and keyboardist Matt Clifford tooting a French horn, the song became a soul-searching singalong that the audience couldn’t have wanted more from a number.

At the concert’s midpoint, Jagger acknowledged that the Stones were not only the first to play Gillette Stadium (on Sept 5, 2002), but that they played before any of the six Super Bowl championship banners were hung at the gridiron. And not only did Thursday mark the fourth time the Stones have played at the current home of the New England Patriots, the band was playing the 100th concert at Gillette.

Of course, the Stones also played several times at the old Sullivan Stadium in the ‘80s and Foxboro Stadium in the ‘90s, both previous homes of the Patriots before the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era.

Speaking about eras, roughly a year ago, Taylor Swift brought her triumphant “Eras Tour,” a live extravaganza covering the first 16 years of the pop diva’s recording career, to Gillette Stadium.

Thursday night, the Stones brought their “Hackney Diamonds Tour,” with songs spanning from 1965 to the present, a span of 59 years, to the gridiron.

I know it’s only rock ‘n’ roll but if Taylor Swift is calling her latest tour “The Eras Tour” — wouldn’t it make sense to call the Stones’ latest tour “The Eons Tour”?

Love Taylor. She’s great and all. But can anyone truly imagine Swift and a crowd of 45,000-plus balding Swifties filling out Gillette Stadium singing “Shake It Off” 40 years from now in 2064? I think not, but I digress.

'Gimme Shelter'

After Richards did a commanding job singing lead on a pair of prerequisite ditties ("Tell Me Straight” and “Little T&A”), Jagger embarked on the darkened stage as a "man of wealth and taste" on "Sympathy for the Devil," one of the great literary marvels and complex character studies to emerge from the rock 'n' roll era. With Jagger performing in front of video images of snakes wrapping around Grecian columns and hellfire consuming vast empires, the Gillette crowd hasn’t seen this many snakes since Taylor Swift’s “Reputation Tour” in 2018.

After the always dependable bump and grind "Honky Tonk Women," the Stones delivered the fierce and ferocious blues boogie "Midnight Rambler." Jagger's blistering harmonica was answered with a series of riff-shredding, awe-inspiring blues licks from Richards and Wood, as well as fevered backbeat of Jones and drummer Steve Jordan, who was handpicked to replace Charlie Watts by Charlie Watts before he was thinking about retiring. And, when it looked like the evening couldn’t get any cooler with that epic scorcher, the best song of the night was just around the corner.

Taking a short break in between songs to address the crowd, Jagger acknowledged that it has been almost 60 years since the Stones first played in Boston, although time and time again, Bay State Stones fans know Jagger uses the term “Boston” interchangeable to encapsulate every place in Massachusetts, including Foxborough (“Hello Boston”) and, you guessed it, Worcester.

In fact, the first time the Stones played Massachusetts was on April 30, 1965, at the Worcester Memorial Auditorium and returned to play on Sept. 14, 1981, at Sir Morgan’s Cove, which is in Worcester, NOT Boston.

“Gimme Shelter” was not only arguably the evening’s undisputed standout but also served as the coming-out party for soon-to-be superstar Chanel Haynes. Remember that name. Singing the spine-tingling, soul-stirring, female vocals part first immortalized by Merry Clayton, Haynes — who portrayed Tina Turner in the West End theatre production of “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” — owned the song and the moment. She also later sang the Lady Gaga part on the gospel-driven encore "Sweet Sound of Heaven." Not only did she stand toe to toe and shared great chemistry with Jagger, Haynes, with her long blond locks cascading down her gorgeous blue gown, left him in the dust while leaving the crowd in awe.

'Wild Horses' couldn't turn fans away from Rolling Stones' Gillette Stadium triumph (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Stevie Stamm

Last Updated:

Views: 5959

Rating: 5 / 5 (80 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Stevie Stamm

Birthday: 1996-06-22

Address: Apt. 419 4200 Sipes Estate, East Delmerview, WY 05617

Phone: +342332224300

Job: Future Advertising Analyst

Hobby: Leather crafting, Puzzles, Leather crafting, scrapbook, Urban exploration, Cabaret, Skateboarding

Introduction: My name is Stevie Stamm, I am a colorful, sparkling, splendid, vast, open, hilarious, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.