• The Rolling Stones redux. A rant recant.
On Tuesday of this week, I went to see a new concert movie about an old band. The movie was filmed in 1978 and in it the Rolling Stones put on a fairly blistering show. They play some old songs, the play a lot of new ones off their just-released Some Girls album. They look good. But most important they sound good. Bill Wyman is playing the bass as only he can, Ron Wood is audible and for good reason, Charlie Watts is hitting his drums hard and with a lot of feel, Mick is Mick and Keith is more concerned with playing well than playing Keith Richards. And yet, after the movie I was more reflective and down than inspired and fired up. In my rant I ascribed my reaction to the fact that the Stones are no longer what they were, not even close. I called them a nostalgia act and strongly hinted that they should hang it up. Well, they are a bit of a nostalgia act, no question, I mean, they haven’t released a great album since Tattoo You and they don’t ever change their material, in fact, on every tour since the early 90s, most of which I’ve seen, they try to get ever closer to the original recorded version. But should they stop? Hell no. Keith Richards has commented on this numerous times saying, more or less, what the hell do you expect me to do, go play golf? I intend to die on stage. Good for Keith. So why did I really react the way I did? I think I was just mad that I would never get to see in person what I saw in that theater and I desperately want to. The closest I have ever come to seeing the Stones in their heyday was in 1981, when I saw them at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. I went with my friend Toby Germano and about all I remember was that George Thorogood opened and throughout the whole show — George and the Stones — I could barely see a thing or hear a thing. To get a better idea of the show I saw, I bought “Still Life” but compared to the Stones bootlegs I was already starting to collect and to “Get Yer Ya Yas Out” it was clear I hadn’t seen a great Stones show. I have seen a few good ones since though, specifically 1999 in San Jose and at the MGM Grand in 2002, and I am immensely happy I have these memories. Still, I would truly, dearly love to see the Stones of the 70s, preferably 1972-3, just once, even just one song, hell, I’d settle for an intro verse and chorus. But it’s never going to happen. And that’s what I’m really sad about, not the fact that the Stones are no longer what they once were. Who could be? Who should be?