May 26, 2024


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Rolling Stones Hackney Diamonds tour: Jagger remains great

Rolling Stones Hackney Diamonds tour: Jagger remains great

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HOUSTON – It's not just amazing, it's somewhat miraculous that the Rolling Stones, more than 60 years after their first tour, are still filling stadiums.

It's surprising to realize that alongside their treasured songs, the Rolling Stones are bolstering their setlist with three songs from last year's well-received “Hackney Diamonds” album – their first album of original material in 18 years and their first album. Motivation for this 16 city tour.

You could call it a victory lap, but frontman Mick Jagger is more suited to marathons.

For Sunday's opener at Houston's NRG Stadium, the core trio of Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood – along with their supporting cast of exceptional musicians and singers – arrived on the massive stage to the sounds of Richards appropriately cutting the tune. , “Start me.”

Jagger, the lithe CEO of Stones Inc., wears a shimmering silver jacket, his rubbery legs merely the base for his rotating torso.

Richards, who still maintains his disheveled pirate look with a knit hat and multi-colored scarf slung from his hip, and Wood, who smiles constantly and occasionally trots down the long stage, retained their roles as loyal advisers.

There's not a patch of smooth facial skin between them (Jagger and Richards are 80 and Wood is 76). But with the energy needed to pull off an 18-song, two-hour set — yes, shorter than previous Stones shows, but still satisfying — no one was looking forward to being crowned pageant winners.

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While it took a couple of songs for the band to fully find their tunes — the fast tempo of the reworked “Get Off Of My Cloud” and the tumbling “Rocks Off” sounded awkward rather than powerful — Jagger compensated with his stirring presence and still-resilient flexibility. singing.

Along with the “Hackney Diamonds” songs selected for their live debut (the band played a few new songs at an intimate concert at a New York club in October), including the feisty “angry“And the appearance of the Gospel”Sweet sounds of heaven“melody 1966”Finished“It also got its US debut. The band revived it last year during some shows of their 60th overseas tour.

“I don't think you really know it, but you should know it,” Jagger said with a smile after leading the nearly full stadium through a chorus of arm-waving.

As is usual in a Rolling Stones production, the stage spanned the width of the stadium, covered in screens broadcasting images of the band in brilliant clarity. Close-ups of drummer Steve Jordan, who took over percussion duties following the death of original drummer Charlie Watts in 2021, happily thundering through the Jewel”Paint it blackAnd birthday boy Chuck Leavell tearing up a fleet-fingered solo on his Yamaha keyboard on “Honky Tonk Women” gave fans a peek at the magic happening just a few feet behind Jagger and Co.

“Always visceral”Sympathy for the devil“While snakes and fire crawled across the screens, Jagger cruised through the sinister groove, backed by percussion provided by background vocalist Bernard Fowler and chunky bass lines from Darryl Jones.

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Keyboardist Matt Clifford added French horn to “You can't always get what you want“While Jagger, playing acoustic guitar, rambled through a message of acquiescence that escalated into a gospel drop.

The trumpet duo of Karl Denson and Tim Reese cover many familiar anthems — “Jumpin' Jack Flash” and “Miss You” among them — with their rich, brassy voices. But, as fans have come to realize over the decades, the ominous “Gimme Shelter” remains the centerpiece of any Rolling Stones concert, and Jagger has a new stagemate in powerhouse vocalist Chanel Hines.

The woman who played Tina Turner in the West End musical about Turner's life and officially became part of the ensemble last year, roared through “Gimme Shelter” with a loud, energetic voice. As she and Jagger strolled across the stage, sharing vocals and chemistry, Jagger wisely stepped back several times, allowing Haynes to unleash her theatrical verve.

But this is still Jagger's circus, and whether he's swaying like a nervous prize boxer or shrugging his shoulders like the world's skinniest Chippendales dancer, he's a riveting octogenarian.

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The band enlisted several opening acts throughout the tour. And in Houston, Texas native and blues-rock guitarist Gary Clark Jr. earned a spot on opening night and charmed a mostly full stadium for 45 minutes.

With a big band of five musicians and three singers behind him, Clark was the epitome of cool in dark shades and a bandanna as he took the stage with “Maktub” from his recently released fourth album, “JPEG Raw.”

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Clark is a great name for editorial (and again, it is… He is Rolling Stones) and made good use of his time with huge licks on the rock songs “Bright Lights” and “This is Who We Are”, with singer Naala joining him.

The soulful “Feed the Babies” emerged as a highlight as the singer/guitarist showed off great playing and a breezy atmosphere for the crowd.