Sunday, August 21, 2005

REV: In their fifth decade

Having missed seeing some of the other legendary bands of my/our time because of my being locked up in podunk, texas, i cherish the fact that i managed to actually see the Stones in the 60s -- and now look, that's the only band still going. I have seen them in four separate decades now, and look forward to seeing them in this one for a last chance at a rock and roll legacy.

Rolling Stones kick off tour with a ‘Bang’
The elder statesmen of rock opened their latest tour in Boston
The Associated Press, Updated: 11:01 p.m. ET Aug. 21, 2005

BOSTON - The Rolling Stones launched into “Start Me Up” to kick off their latest North American tour Sunday night at Boston’s historic Fenway Park, a fitting venue and fitting opening song for the aging but irrepressible rockers.

Mick Jagger appeared as spry as ever, strutting across the giant stage.

“It’s great to be back in Boston,” the 62-year-old lead singer told the crowd.

It’s been 43 years since the Stones first took shape and three years since they launched their “Forty Licks” world tour, which many mistakenly believed would be the last for Jagger, Keith Richards and the crew.

On Sunday, fans across the age spectrum converged on the baseball stadium for the concert, many in T-shirts emblazoned with the band’s trademark lips and tongue logo.

“I tease them about geezer rock and now they’re seeing it themselves,” said Richard Tucker, of Chatham, who brought his 19-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter.

The Stones opened with classics “Start Me Up,” “You Got Me Rocking,” “Shattered” and “Tumbling Dice,” before playing “Rough Justice,” a song from their soon-to-be-released album, “A Bigger Bang.”

The 37-city tour gives the new album plenty of exposure. It hits U.S. stores Sept. 6, and with 16 tracks, it’s the Stones’ longest studio album since the 18-song “Exile on Main Street” in 1972.

“A Bigger Bang” has a stripped down, back to basics sound, returning the band to its hard-driving, bluesy roots.

One song, “Sweet Neo-Con,” is already generating noise for its overt political tone. While controversy is hardly new for the Stones, the band has only sporadically dabbled in politics or current affairs during its long history.

Elder statesmen of rock
The tour may well test the band’s stamina. The three remaining original Stones — Jagger, Richards and drummer Charlie Watts — are 62, 61 and 64 respectively. Guitarist Ron Wood, now going on 30 years touring with the band, is the baby of the bunch at 58.

Sixty-something or not, the Stones aren’t having trouble selling tickets, even with prices ranging up to $400 in some venues.

At Fenway, they’re playing one of the biggest stages in rock and roll. According to a publicist for the band, it took about 70 trucks to bring it piece by piece from Toronto, where the band rehearsed for the tour.

While the Stones rocked the stadium Sunday night, the noise police stood guard outside Fenway — noise meters in hand.

If the music surpassed 70 decibels on surrounding streets, the city was prepared to tell concert producers to turn down the volume.

About a dozen California nurses also stood outside protesting California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger with signs reading: “Sticky Fingers for corrupt corporate cash,” a reference to the classic 1971 Stones album, “Sticky Fingers.”

The Republican governor had a fundraiser planned during the concert, with guests contributing $100,000 apiece invited to watch with Schwarzenegger from a luxury box.

Stephen Ingerson, a critical care nurse at the University of California-San Francisco, said the protesters oppose the governor’s efforts to halt the state’s mandatory 5-to-1 patient-to-nurse ratio.