The Rolling Stones hit Dallas, Saturday, with a worthy setlist and age-defying performance, continuing their multi-decade tenure as the best live band around.
There isn’t much that could pull me into the not-so-humble abode of the Cowboys. As an Eagles fan, I would spit on the stadium before even thinking of going inside. However, as I was visiting Dallas and acquired some last minute tickets for The Rolling Stones…who are the Cowboys again?
Yes, Jagger, I’m a Fool to Cry for letting petty football rivalries obscure my judgment. Okay, so, The Rolling Stones. I’m what you would call a casual listener of the band. My music library suffers from a lack of Stones records, instead burdened by two “greatest hits” cash grabs. 40 Licks, I think they’re called? I don’t care enough to look. To me, if there’s anything worse than reissues, it’s the dreaded “greatest hits,” or even lower, the “acoustic” record. I’m looking at you, Pain of Salvation!
So, in that regard, I’ll admit that I don’t know as much about the Stones as, say, Radio Rich — right, St. Louis peeps? Yeah, just said peeps — but I at least know the hits by heart. And that’s all I needed for this show. The band’s Zip Code Tour is a greatest hits show done right, a complete, powerful performance between the band — which still surprises me — and its backup performers, including a rousing opening set from Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. As I want to keep this review under novel length, I won’t go into the openers, but I at least wanted to give them a shout out. Here’s to you, Grace Potter!
The Stones came out swinging with one of their more recognizable tracks, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” I didn’t know what to expect going into this show. I mean, these guys are 70 years old, you know, the time when the vocal chords disintegrate and arthritis kicks in the ol’ wrist. I must say, however, Mick Jagger is the Hugh Hefner of rock n’ roll. He even held his own vocally, using just enough echo effect to hide decades of wear and tear. But that’s to be expected, especially during demanding tracks like, “Gimme Shelter,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” and “Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Age stands as an afterthought to these guys, something to stand in front of than behind, as evident in Keith Richard’s smooth-as-eggs stage presence. Sure, Captain Jack Sparrow was most likely high as the fucking universe, but his style, the fashion he deconstructed and redefined classic riffs, looked so…easy. He may look like a paper bag, but the man still has his trademark, no nonsense, sex, love, drugs guitar feel. Adjectives, galore.
Just look at that guy. How does he even know where the stage is? Richards and Ronnie Wood — who took on most of the lead phrases — played off each other through the set, occasionally allowing room for improvisation in performances of “Happy,” “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It), “Gimme Shelter,” and “Brown Sugar.” The Stones and guitar solos were always hit and miss with me, but when the band delved into jam territory during “Sympathy for the Devil,” I realized just how tight their live performances are. Utilizing a combination of blues and straight up rock n’ roll feel, the band pushed and pulled with the “woo woos,” throwing down some complex solos courtesy of keyboardist Chuck Leavell and the band’s guitarists.
As predicted, “Gimme Shelter,” stands as the pinnacle of the Stone’s Dallas stop. As my favorite Rolling Stone’s track, my expectations were sky high to the point that a botched performance would ruin my evening. Lisa Fischer, backup singer extraordinaire, thrust her voice through those expectations and ripped my soul out in the process. Overall, Dallas’ audience was substandard — what can you expect from a bunch of Cowboy’s fans? — but when Fischer belted out “Shelter[‘s]” iconic midsection, everyone, probably even Jerry Jones, was standing and cheering. What a performance. Her vocal contribution is a testament to the band’s entire backing staff, from Chuck Leavell’s praised keys, to the horn/sax combo, to Fischer’s backing partner, Bernard Fowler. Each member added their own unique flavor to the setlist, throwing in some new, musical approaches to help move along the band’s shakier sections, no pun intended.
Anyways, back to “Gimme Shelter.” We’ll call it the setlist’s energy booster, a precursor to the band’s climactic conclusion in “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and then — who’s surprised — “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” The University of Texas – Arlington made an appearance during the former performance and, I must say, I could feel goosebumps on every arm in the stadium. That’s almost a million arms. Take that into the feels perspective. Then, Jagger’s voice came in and I couldn’t help but kick back and forget that I had to write this review.
Overall, The Rolling Stones continued to stamp their name in Rock and Roll history, laying down a timeless performance at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX. Although the setlist felt a little on the shorter side, the band never looked tired. Maybe lost, but not tired. Jokes aside, the production, band performance, backing performance, and Jagger dance moves operated seamlessly, showing that, after 50 years of drugs, sex, and alcohol, The Rolling Stones still have it.
Disclaimer: All rights, properties, and content of the featured image belong to the owner. Image found on http://blog.ticketprocess.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/800x400xrolling-stones-presale-tickets.png.pagespeed.ic._349NKIoJ1.jpg. All rights, properties, and content of body image 1 belong to the owner. Image found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mick_Jagger#/media/File:Rolling_Stones_09.jpg. All rights, properties, and content of body image 2 belong to Ricky Brigante on Flickr. Image found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/insidethemagic/5705168314/in/photostream/. I have, in no way, used said images for profit.