Mick Jagger, about being onstage (several quotes from 1994-1995):
“My energy’s usually pretty good (just before I go onstage). Sometimes I think, Oh, Jesus, do I really have to go on now? You have to finally switch into the fact that you’re just about to go on, because before it can be unreal. As you walk down to the stadium from the dressing room, you start to buzz a little bit. And you hear the audience, what their response is when the music starts. And then just before we go on, just while the music’s really warming up, you get an extra buzz then. When you first walk on, it’s really – let met think. I walk out to an empty stage; I’m very confident. This is what I do. I’ve done it so many times. I’m not at all nervous about going on. It feels very comfortable and like home. But having said that, there’s certain feelings you get, you know: Jesus, all those people! There’s a few empty seats sometimes I see, and you say, Oh, God, how many empty seats? And funny things that you think of – just silly things – and you must not think of those, because as soon as you start thinking, I hope that the heavy rains that we’ve had in London don’t block the gutters up (laughs) and the roof leaks again. (Laughs) It’s just – anything can come into your mind, but you have to throw it out because you just have to really concentrate on what you’re doing. It’s very high adrenalin. If you’ve ever been in this high-adrenalin situation – like driving a car very fast or being in a championships basketball team in the finals or whatever it was – it’s really high adrenalin.
But it’s quite hard to describe just in trying to offer a description. I’ve sometimes tried to write it down. I have written it down – what it’s like, what you feel like. But there’s so much going on, it’s hard unless you’re really in a stream-of-consciousness thing. Because there are so many references. Oh, I’m doing this, and I’m doing that, and you’re sort of watching yourself doing it. Oh God, look at that girl; she’s rather pretty. Don’t concentrate on her! But it’s good to concentrate on her, she’s good to contact one-on-one. Sometimes I try to do that. They’re actually real people, not just a sea of people. You can see this girl has come, and she’s got this dress on and so on, and so you make good contact with one or two people. And then you make contact with the rest of the band. You might give a look-see if everyone’s all right.
I don’t let myself get transported on the first number, because that is very dangerous. I used to let myself do that, but it’s not such a good idea, because there’s too much to check. I mean, is everything working? You seem to be split in various parts. There’s part of you which is saying to you, OK, don’t forget this, don’t forget that. And there’s this other part of you, which is just your body doing things that it isn’t really commanded to do, which I found is the dangerous part. You can hurt yourself if you don’t watch out – because you’ve got so much adrenalin. That’s why I like rather doing Not Fade Away, because I don’t do much physically on it. (Laughs) But if you start off with a number like, say, Start Me Up, which we did on the last tour, your body starts to do all kinds of things on this adrenalin thing. You’ve got to watch out. You can really hurt yourself – or just tire yourself out too quickly in the first five minutes, and you’re just wiped out.
At some point in the show, you just lose it. You get such interaction with the audience that it feels really good. And it should be pushed. You should let yourself go. I mean, have those moments when you really are quite out of your brain… It comes in isolated moments. It’s just a transcendent moment – I don’t know whether you can say it’s joyful. Sometimes it can be joyful; sometimes it’s just crazy.
When the show’s over, y)ou just let yourself go, just tired, you know. And then you recover pretty quickly. After about 10 or 15 minutes, you feel OK”
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