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Mick Jagger, Keith Richards photo by Ros OGorman141105-02
Review by Rob Walker

Photos by Ros O’Gorman ( )

Australian Musician’s Rob Walker captures all of the excitement of last night’s Rolling Stones’ show

As Mick Jagger announced last night at Rod Laver Arena, it’s been nigh on 50 years since the Stones first played Melbourne at the Palais (he even asked the crowd to give generously to the save the Palais fund) but man, it is always great to have them back in town.

Bookended with Jumpin Jack Flash and Satisfaction the show was a greatest hits party with many left out, only a couple of songs from the last decade – Out of Control being a highlight.

This was the archetypal rock band – doing it not much differently to when they shared the Palais stage with Roy Orbison and others in 1965. As you’d expect, they were a bit loose at times, but it was real. Some songs started tentatively, endings were improvised – but once they got into fettle, they rocked like no others can.

And what right has Mick Jagger got being as physical as that at 70+ – he was electrifying. The quintessential frontman left you with a smile on your face, A) out of admiration, and B) just out of the sheer entertainment of it all. I reckon Jagger would have the recovery regime of an AFL midfielder, such is the way he throws himself into the fray. And oh, such a great voice and timing.

The band was a highlight too. The great rhythmic partnership of Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood is now 40 years on and it shows. The sound of Richard’s guitar smacked you in the face, mostly Telecaster  … big, beefy, gangly chords, is the best way I can describe it. Both sneaking the odd contraband durie between songs, playing off each other, it was a real treat. Keith announced ‘it was good to be in Melbourne – good to be anywhere really’. The great man featured in a couple of his own vocal spots too, Before They Make Me Run and Happy, which added significantly to the flow of the night and showcased a soulful voice.

The whole rhythm section pinned your ears back when they were in full flight. Lead by the human metronome, Charlie Watts, his cross-sticked left hand was absolutely relentless.  Darryl Jones capped it off with a powerful bottom end, putting the edge on the groove.

Then if that can’t get any better, Mick Taylor appears for a huge Midnight Rambler – fantastic … guitarmageddon right there.

Chuck Leavell adds his keyboard magic.
Chuck Leavell adds his keyboard magic.

The backline of Chuck Leavell on piano and keyboards was masterful, his contribution to the rhythm section in particular was important. Lisa Fischer shone with Jagger on Gimme Shelter, bassist Darryl Jones grooved it out on Miss You and was outstanding. The tenor and bari sax combination of Karl Denson (Bobby Keys’ replacement ) and Tim Ries blew the house down. To top it all off, the Consort of Melbourne choir presented a magnificent mass choral backing to the first encore and the song of the night, You Can’t Always Get What You Want

The Stone’s sound has its fundamentals in rhythm and blues and rock n’ roll, continuously performed to millions of people, standing the test of time and sounding great. The power of the songs just roll over you.

“It’s still too early for me to talk about the Stones’ legacy,” Keith Richards says. “We haven’t finished yet. There’s one thing that we haven’t yet achieved, and that’s to really find out how long you can do this. It’s still such a joy to play with this band that you can’t really let go of it. So we’ve got to find out, you know!”

 The Rolling Stones next move on to Hanging Rock on Saturday. Keyboard player Chuck Leavell does a Q&A and plays some tunes at The Cherry Bar tomorrow night.

Last night’s Set List

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

You Got Me Rocking

 It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It)

 Tumbling Dice

 Wild Horses

 Doom And Gloom

 Street Fighting Man (song vote winner)

 Out Of Control

 Honky Tonk Women

 Before They Make Me Run (with Keith Richards on lead vocals)

 Happy (with Keith on lead vocals)

 Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor)

 Miss You

 Gimme Shelter

 Start Me Up

 Sympathy For The Devil

 Brown Sugar


 You Can’t Always Get What You Want with the Consort Of Melbourne

 (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

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