Get yer ya-ya’s oot! The Rolling Stones live at Murrayfield, June 2018
This was a great night, and a great gig. I’d always wanted to see the Rolling Stones. I had seen a Stone once, Charlie Watts with his band Rocket 88 in Islington in 1977, but never the Stones collectively.
Time was running out, if I didn’t see them now would I get another chance? Or possibly more to the point, would they? But on the evidence of last night there is still a lot of life in the old dogs – and a very high percentage of their audience – yet. And energy.
It’s pretty raw and rough, starting with some dodgy tuning right from the outset and Start Me Up. But then this is rock and roll to an audience of 60,000 plus.
We were miles from the action at Murrayfield but the big screens meant you really could appreciate Keith’s (and less frequently Charlie’s) flashing teeth. Keith’s occasional chord. Mick’s frantic and demented semaphore. There’s so much solidity in the back line with Charlie (holding his sticks traditional style), Darryl Jones and the keys of Chuck Leavell and Tim Ries. Ronnie Wood is a powerhouse hitting the gas for his solos with that manic grin under a remarkably dark unkempt mop for his 71 years.
And no wonder Mick has the build of a galgo with all that running, jumping, skipping, hopping, swirling, prancing, bowing, flailing, clapping. What is he on? I would love to have that energy at his age – or even now!
The set had a few surprises I thought. Under My Thumb? She’s A Rainbow – voted by the public? And Mick took time out for a comfort break (and another pie possibly), and another change of shirt leaving Keith the Teeth (and the green trainers) to sing a couple of numbers including Happy – which he obviously was! Were they using Mick’s cast-off shirts to mop the rain from the stage and the runway? “Just like my kitchen,” he quipped.
He was charming. Throwing out lines about the last lot of English at Murrayfield, travelling to the stadium on a tram, salt and sauce, and Irn Bru (only joking). We never found out if anyone was there from the Orkney Islands.
They still put on a great show. Every detail, apart from maybe some of the notes. Yes there was french horn at the start of You Can’t Always Get What You Want, and a fabulous sax duo in Karl Denson and Tim Ries, which certainly did give it laldy (Mick said it first) on Honky Tonk Woman. Sasha Allen could have been louder, I thought, but was still amazing. And they didn’t skimp on the length of the show either.
You could tell those from Edinburgh – they were the ones (me included) really getting into it whilst still sitting down! That said a white haired, elderly lady a few rows in front of us up in the gods was boogying and flapping her arms so crazily for most of the gig I thought she was going to take off!
Midnight Rambler rambled on too long, and Charlie at about 15 minutes in did look like he might have lost the will to live. Sympathy worked its magic, the whole stadium hoo-hooing like crazy (as they did all the way back to Haymarket afterwards). So much so it should be renamed Sympathy For The Neighbours.
Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Brown Sugar wrapped up the show with energy, verve and more than a hint of abandon, and the encores of Gimme Shelter and Satisfaction closed down what for me was a once in a lifetime gig.
All you critics who moan about the Stones being old and past it can haud yaur wheesht (Mick needs to learn that one too for his next visit). This lot are probably the greatest rock n’ roll band in the world. Now. Still.
I hope that this isn’t the last time. But it could be. Maybe the last time. I don’t know. Oh no.
Haste ye back (another one for Mick to learn)!
Get yer ya-ya’s oot! Go see them, if you can, while time is still on your side.
Note: The apostrophe in ya-ya’s worries me, but that’s how it is for the record.