When you heard the opening chords of "Street Fighting Man", you knew the night had a chance to be something spectacular. As the evening continued, you realized you were watching a magical performance.
Last night was the opener for The Rolling Stones "No Filter" tour. This was the their thirty-eighth concert in Chicago and the eighth time they have performed at Soldier Field. When you combine that with a couple of the band's historical events such as recording at Chess Records and gigging with Muddy Waters at the Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago was the perfect place to open this tour.
The guitars of Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards were soaring and on fire all night. Woody was moving around the stage and taking the lead on most of the songs. Keith was very laid back, even when he took the lead vocals for "You Got The Silver" and "Before They Make Me Run." Charlie Watts was his typical self. He never says a word, his drums are in the background, but you know this wouldn't be the band they've been for six decades without him.
The star of the show, as always, was Mick Jagger. You had to wonder how he would be able to perform less than three months after having heart valve surgery. Mick did not miss a beat. He continually moved around the stage like he was in his prime...maybe he still is. He was not acting like a man in his mid-seventies who is coming off a major operation. The audience had more issues walking up the stairs than Mick did in his two hours of singing and dancing.
Jagger did a little research before coming to town. He welcomed new mayor, Lori Lightfoot to the show and her job. He also made a joke about indicted and disgraced alderman Ed Burke not being able to attend.
All of this was Mick at his best!
And then there were the songs....oh man, what a grouping of songs. When you attend a Rolling Stones concert, you know you are going to hear certain songs. In a lot of cases, you can guess the set list. This night was no different. Yet there was a certain electricity and energy coming from both the band and audience. It made you jump and cheer and yell out the name of a tune whenever you recognized what was playing...and that recognition usually came from the first note.
"Tumbling Dice", "You Can't Always Get What You Want", "Sympathy For The Devil", "Midnight Rambler", "Brown Sugar" and so many more. Like the title says, one hit after another after another. Twenty songs in all...and while it was enough to satisfy you, you left wanting to hear more.
The encore of "Gimme Shelter" and "Satisfaction" was traditional for the band, but even for songs that they've been playing for more than fifty years, it had a different feeling.
The entire show had a different feel than the past. Maybe because they've had a couple of health scares in recent years. Maybe at their age, they're just happy to be out of the house and on the road. And it wasn't just me. I talked with various members of the crowd after the concert and they felt the same way. One man had just been to his twenty-eighth Rolling Stones concert. He was excitedly recapping all of them to a guy who had just come from his first. They were bonding over a night of special music.
It's almost twelve hours since the concert has ended. I'm still excited over what I saw last night. My brain had been going "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah..WOOO!" all night. When you see a lot of the old time rock and roll bands, you leave disappointed in a lot of cases because they aren't close to what they were when they and you were at their best. That wasn't the case for the opening night of The Rolling Stones "No Filter" tour. You left wondering how these guys in the seventies just put on one of the greatest concerts ever.
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