CHICAGO — Any concerns that Mick Jagger might be hindered by the heart procedure he underwent in April were immediately erased the moment the near-76-year-old bounded onto the massive stage at Soldier Field.
As the band unfurled "Street Fighting Man," Jagger took an early lap down the lengthy ramp that extended from the stage, svelte as always in a black and white outfit.
Following the opening piano riff of "Let's Spend the Night Together" from Georgia's Chuck Leavell, Jagger shimmied and gyrated, his rubbery limbs as astoundingly supple as ever.
The Rolling Stones launched the North American leg of their No Filter tour Friday night in Chicago after the postponement caused by Jagger's recuperation.
The band will circle the country for 17 shows, though Atlanta, where they last played in 2015, is still absent from the itinerary.
Early in the concert, Jagger joked that the band loves Chicago so much – this was their eighth visit to Soldier Field, where they return Tuesday -- that they decided to launch the tour there instead of Miami, which will now end the run. Chicago was originally the last date of the tour.
(Side note – I’m in Chicago for a weekend vacation, not work, and had purchased tickets to the concert when they first went on sale late last year, so this will be a quick recap and not an official review.)
If you plan to catch The Rolling Stones on this tour, you’ll experience a straightforward stage design, with four panels of gorgeous screens beaming high-definition images to the farthest reaches of the stadium (ahem).
The band sounded taut throughout the two-hour show – though Keith Richards’ guitar was disconcertingly overpowering during “Sympathy for the Devil” – and the setlist contained the expected rundown (“Honky Tonk Women” – featuring a Leavell solo that ended with a quick tap of his foot on the keyboard – “Miss You,” “Tumbling Dice,” “Start Me Up”) and a few notable surprises (“Sad Sad Sad,” from 1989’s “Steel Wheels” was played for the first time since 2002,” and “You Got Me Rocking” was a fan-voted choice).
Drummer Charlie Watts remains stoic as ever, a human metronome behind a simple kit, while Ronnie Wood, in colorful garb and bright red sneakers, and Richards, charmingly disheveled as always, competed as showboaters.
Woods ripped out a tremendous solo during “Tumbling Dice,” while Richards, who took the mic for “You Got the Silver” and “Before They Make Me Run,” countered with the beautifully scraggly opening to “You Got Me Rocking.”
But now, as always, it was Jagger who commanded the spotlight, and between his serpentine movements and robust vocals, it can be affirmed that Mick is still ticking.
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