Pop: It's Only Rock'n'roll, but We Still like It ; THE ROLLING STONES Twickenham Stadium London Oooo9

By Martin, Gavin | The Independent (London, England), August 26, 2003 | Go to article overview
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Pop: It's Only Rock'n'roll, but We Still like It ; THE ROLLING STONES Twickenham Stadium London Oooo9


Martin, Gavin, The Independent (London, England)


Mick Jagger's flu caused the Rolling Stones to cancel the first night of the UK leg of their 40 Licks tour. But any fears that the singer's health problems, which have already caused two shows in the year-long stint to be rescheduled, would result in a diminished performance the following night were soon banished.

The Stones may have been an Establishment institution for far longer than they were ever a threat to public decency. Yet, in spite of the outlandish corporate trappings that surround their show, they are still working musicians, keen to prove worthy of their legacy and reputation.

Thundering tribal drums filled the darkening stadium, and suddenly there was Keith Richards, hammering out the unmistakable and never-bettered riff of "Brown Sugar". He was followed by Jagger, a freak of nature in a tailcoat, arms akimbo as he raced around the stage demanding total involvement from the audience. The shift from the ragged, ungainly nature of previous tours was immediately apparent. There was a pre- cision to both Jagger's vocal declamations and the expansive musical settings that the band gave to classics such as "You Can't Always Get What You Want".

Jagger and an emotional Keith Richards made clear that this was almost a homecoming gig for the band, who began playing residencies in nearby Richmond back in the days when the Prime Minister was more likely to despatch to the Tower than to give them a knighthood. Perhaps early song choices such as "You Got Me Rocking" and "Don't Stop" relied a little too heavily on recent albums. But once they hit their stride, the Stones proved invincible. "Wild Horses" was majestic, the two backing singers waltzing, and one helping out on acoustic guitar.

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