August 21, 2007: O2 Arena, London, England
Start Me Up/You Got Me Rocking/Rough Justice/Rocks Off/Let It Bleed/Beast Of Burden/Can’t You Hear Me Knocking/I’ll Go Crazy/Tumbling Dice/Band introduction/You Got The Silver/Wanna Hold You/It’s Only Rock’n Roll/Respectable/ Satisfaction/ Honky Tonk Women/Sympathy For The Devil/Paint It Black/Jumping Jack Flash/Brown Sugar
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From The Guardian:
It’s been on the road for two years, and now, in spite of age, coconut trees and claims of substance abuse unconventional even by Rolling Stones standards, the highest-grossing tour of all time has returned home for three nights at the O2 Arena. These may be their last three nights ever, rumours say, but we’ve heard that one before. They have a collective age of 253, the four core members, but they’re showing no signs of collapse yet. Time is always on your side when you’re earning $500m, the Bigger Bang Tour’s estimated haul.
In comparison to their Rio concert last year, attended by more than a million people, this 20,000-capacity affair must seem positively intimate, but it does leave you thinking how great it would be if the Stones relinquished the arenas and the multi-million-pound lightshows and closed their career with a series of stripped-down gigs to small, fortunate audiences, threading a bit of myth back into their oversized reputation.
That said, the wiry foursome can still rock a venue of this magnitude with ease. No time is wasted: from the opening bars of ‘Start Me Up’ a maroon-caped Mick Jagger stalks the stage, pounding the air with both fists and looking, at 64, as if he’ll last all of two minutes at this rate. The fists are still pounding away two hours later, as ‘Brown Sugar’ and an explosion of streamers close the night.
A lot of vintage material gets aired in between, including ‘All Down the Line’, ‘Midnight Rambler’ and ‘Shine a Light’, which is what Martin Scorsese is calling his big Stones documentary, due next year. Keith Richards gives Mick a breather with a couple of (unexceptional) numbers midway through, before the band set sail through the crowd – and a selection of crowd-pleasers – on a rolling stage.
Several Stones defied the smoking ban within this monstrous, but enclosed, space on the first night; Richards sparks up again tonight, although Ronnie Wood, to whom Jagger refers at one point as ‘the Marlboro Man of Middlesex’, remains compliantly smoke-free.
Next to their hyperkinetic frontman, the two guitarists appear nonchalant, but they do gain momentum during the string of classics that fill the second hour. ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ and ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ get the audience chanting, and after the evening’s high-point, a theatrical rendition of the magnificently intense ‘Paint it Black’, Jagger seems genuinely touched by the ‘difficult’ home crowd’s approval.
‘We’ll definitely continue till Sunday,’ he says coyly in response to speculation about their future, and those with tickets for tonight’s gig may indeed find themselves clutching a piece of musical history. But I won’t be surprised if these deathless rockers have a few encores left in them. If only they weren’t so fixated on bigger and bigger bangs.
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