‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ Remains Compelling Rolling Stones Proposition

‘Greatest rock & roll band in the world’ delivers powerful performance at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium

Whether you agree or not with the label “greatest rock & roll band in the world” (I dig the Stones big time but still would choose The Beatles, if could only select one band), I believe it is safe to say The Rolling Stones are a unique phenomenon. For now more than 55 years, they have brought energetic blues-oriented rock to audiences around the world. And they did so again last night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., during the first of two dates at that venue, as part of the previously postponed North American leg of their No Filter Tour.

At age 76, Mick Jagger remains one of the most compelling front men in rock. His voice still is in fairly decent shape. What’s even more remarkable is that he doesn’t appear to have lost any of his swagger. He is still a born show guy. He also continues to have the energy of a young man, allowing him to, well, move like Jagger. And let’s not forgot his heart valve replacement surgery only happened a few months ago. Frankly, all of this is friggin’ unreal to me. I will say that age hasn’t been as kind to other core members of the band, but together they still sounded great.

The Rolling Stones Live
The Rolling Stones (from left): Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Keith Richards

I agree with everything Music Enthusiast recently noted during his review of the Stones’ gig at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. These shows ain’t cheap, but when a band puts on that kind of performance, spending big bucks is worth it, especially if you dig their music. And like Music Enthusiast, I was also surprised how fresh and dynamic Miss You sounded, certainly not my favorite Stones tune, and what a killer performance they put on for Midnight Rambler.  Last but not least, I also love Brown Sugar, actually more so than Midnight Rambler, and Jagger and co delivered on this one as well. Hell, even the overplayed second and last encore (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction sounded cool.

Since most if not all more frequent visitors of my blog also follow Music Enthusiast, I’m going to deliberately highlight other tunes. Let’s kick it off with the opener last night: Street Fighting Man. As usually credited to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the tune was first released as a U.S. single in August 1968. It was also included on the Beggars Banquet album from that same year.

Next up: Tumbling Dice from Exile On Main Street, a favorite among Stones fans. Even many critics who initially were lukewarm about it changed their opinions later and concluded it’s one of the band’s best records – I guess being a critic and saying something clever is hard, and I’m definitely happy I’m not one of ’em! Co-written by Jagger and Richards, Tumbling Dice also appeared as the album’s lead single in April 1972, one month ahead of the record’s release.

Are you ready for something acoustic? Well, ready or not, here’s the second and last tune the Stones performed on the so-called B-stage. And even though as a country-oriented song it’s less typical for the band, Dead Flowers off Sticky Fingers from April 1971 is one of my favorite tracks from what has become my favorite Stones record. Again, it’s a Jagger/Richards co-write. Take me down little Susie!

The last tune I’d like to highlight is one of my other favorites from the Stones: Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Recorded during the Beggars Banquet sessions, the track was released as a single in May 1968. While officially it is only credited to Jagger and Richards, according to Wikipedia, then-bassist Bill Wyman in his autobiography Stone Alone wrote that he came up with the tune’s signature guitar riff on a piano but wasn’t acknowledged by the Glimmer Twins – that doesn’t sound nice!

Here’s the setlist from last night.

Main Stage:

Street Fighting Man

Let’s Spend the Night Together

Tumbling Dice

She’s a Rainbow (audience request)

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

B-Stage / Acoustic:

Sweet Virginia

Dead Flowers

Main Stage:

Sympathy for the Devil

Honky Tonk Women

Slipping Away (Keith Richards on lead vocals)

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

Miss You

Paint It Black

Midnight Rambler

Start Me Up

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Brown Sugar

Encore:

Gimme Shelter

Play Video

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Core members Mick Jagger (lead vocals, harmonica, guitar, percussion), Keith Richards (guitars, vocals), Ronnie Wood (guitars, backing vocals) and Charlie Watts (drums, percussion) were backed by Darryl Jones (bass), Chuck Leavell (keyboards, backing vocals), Matt Clifford (keyboards, percussion, French horn), Karl Denson (saxophone), Tim Ries (saxophone, keyboards), Sasha Allen (backing vocals) and Bernard Fowler (backing vocals, percussion). In addition to Jagger, Wood stood out to me with excellent guitar work among the Stones’ core members. And while all supporting musicians were top-notch, I’d like to call out Jones for his killer bass solo in Miss You and Denson for his strong sax work, which was on display during Miss You and other tunes.

Three fun facts I learned: Jagger said last night was the first time for The Rolling Stones to play at MetLife Stadium. During band introductions, he called Charlie Watts Frank Sinatra’s favorite drummer – an allusion to Watts’ age who turned 78 in June? No idea, but I found it funny. Watts didn’t look bothered by it. Opening act The Wombats, an indie rock and power pop band from Liverpool, England, during their set mentioned that it was one of their songs, Techno Fan, to which Jagger danced during his post-heart surgery practice video that went viral on the internet. It sounded like that song choice led to outreach to the Stones and to The Wombats opening up for them last night – cool story.

The Stones are playing MetLife Stadium again on Monday, August 5. Then it’s on to Denver (Aug 10) and Seattle (Aug 14). The last North American date and I assume the end of the tour is in Miami on August 31. The No Filter Tour kicked off on September 9, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. There were a few bigger breaks throughout the two-year span. The schedule for the remaining shows is here.

Sources: Wikipedia, Rolling Stones website, YouTube

17 thoughts on “‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ Remains Compelling Rolling Stones Proposition”

  1. Good writeup, thanks for shout-out. Mick mentioned when in town that it was the 29th time they’ve played Boston. Keef got up and croaked a tribute to New England (largely because he lives in Connecticut I suppose.) How did Keith seem to you? When we saw him, he wasn’t smiling a lot and seemed to be remote. And Ronnie blew him away on guitar hands down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jim, I thought the Stones really sounded great. While Keith flashed an occasional smile, I have to agree with you that Ronnie looked much more agile. It pains me a bit to say this, since Keith Richards is one of my guitar heroes.

      In addition to his comparatively restrained playing, I also found his two vocal performances somewhat awkward. While he was never a great vocalist, the contrast to Mick, who continued to be on top of his game, could not have been bigger.

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      1. A buddy of mine says Keith has arthritis and one look at his hands seems to confirm that. On one of the numbers – I forget which – Keith was doing a solo and the video guys did an extreme close-up of his left hand which was barely moving and staying pretty much in one position. If I were Keith I’d say ‘lay off the close=ups.’ And while Ronnie is not in the pantheon of the all-time great guitarists, compared to Keith that night he was Eric Clapton.

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      2. I have a form of arthritis related to psoriasis. Fortunately, it’s pretty well controlled right now, and I almost don’t have acute symptoms. So I’m a lucky man.

        The only thing that can be a bit annoying is stiffness in my thumb joints. It’s not much of an issue on my right hand, but on my left hand it no longer allows me to put my thumb on the lower E-string to silence it or play notes. I also have a tiny bit of joint rigidity in my left index and middle fingers but it doesn’t hinder me much.

        In fact, playing actually helps to keep the joints flexible. It’s also what I tell my wife and son. So in case I go on their nerves, I got a good excuse – practicing is medical therapy!😆

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      3. There you go! Fortunately, I’ve been spared of that as of yet. I get some carpal tunnel-like feelings and some wrist ache, especially since I started doing push-ups. But, so far so good. If the day comes when I cannot play any more, so be it.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thanks, Jim. And you’re absolutely right, we should be happy with what we got and not worry about what may come.

        And, hey, should I have to give up playing the guitar and fooling around with the bass, I can always go and see – yes, you guessed it – a friggin’ tribute band!🤣

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    2. BTW, I recall a while ago, you mentioned a Chicago tribute band you had seen. Are they by any chance called Beginnings? I saw the latter last evening in a free open air summer concert, and they were outstanding! It appears they are a professional tribute band that tours nationally. They played a lot of the good (old) stuff!

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      1. No, mine was Introduction: The Chicago Experience. I’m sure your guys were great. I’ve come to realize that you don’t last very long as a tribute band if you don’t fucking nail it. BTW, was it you I was telling there is a Russian (!) Chicago tribute band? They played up at the beach in New Hampshire the other night. I was tempted to go but I heard about it at the last minute. And it was sold out!

        Spotify has a couple of nice Chicago compilations and I was listening to one from their early Terry Kath years.Terrific. Lots and lots of good music, and songs I’d forgotten about and haven’t heard for 30 years. The one I’m thinking about is called “The Studio Albums 1969 – 1978..” Before they got all wimpy and shit and became a band your mom likes.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nope, I don’t know about the Russian Chicago tribute, except that you previously mentioned them.

        Given how popular the 80s ballads are, I guess when you’re a Chicago tribute band, you pretty much have no other choice but to play them as well. Beginnings packaged them in a medley, which I thought was a clever way to handle it. Most of the other music was from the earlier years. Their three-part horn section was really impressive. The vocals were great, too. If you closed your eyes, they really sounded very similar to the real deal.

        Liked by 1 person

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