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It's Only Rock N Roll (But I like It)
British rock giants roll into Seattle

By Ronald Albrecht
Photo by Erik Schultz



“If I could stick my pen in my heart
And spill it all over the stage
Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya
Would you think the boy is strange?

The Rolling Stones sold out the Key Arena in late October, attracting around 14,000 fans with deep-pockets.

The show opened with the anticipated Start me up and ended with the encore set of You can’t always get what you want and Jumping Jack Flash. Other songs included hits from all five decades since their genesis in the early 1960s, including Get off my cloud, Satisfaction, Shattered and She’s so cold. Songs performed from the new CD included Oh no not you again, Rough Justice, Infamy and Rain fall down.

The new song Sweet neo-con, interpreted as highly critical of the current US government, was missing from the set. Perhaps the “Stones” have seen more than their share of concert brawls and nowadays prefer to spread harmony instead of political statements.  

Show highlights included the song Night time is the right time, a tribute to Ray Charles featuring back-up singer Lisa Fisher. For the song Miss you, the entire band was transported to the rear of the main floor on a smaller stage that traveled along rails. Surrounded by fans on all sides gave this part of the show a feeling of watching the band in a small, intimate club setting.

Considering their amazing resilience, the “Stones” could probably go on like this until most of their fans are well into retirement. But should they? Well, I have come to the conclusion that I hope they will not. Not because one can only speculate how expensive their shows will become, considering that my ticket showed a price of $160 (thank god for press passes) and the Seattle PI reported secondhand tickets sold as high as $3.400 each.

And not because many fans had to sit down to rest while a 60-plus-year-old Mick Jagger ran up and down the stage like a spring chicken. The musicians’ physical fitness is an inspiration in itself as is the obvious fun they are having. Definitely not because they didn’t meet the fans’ expectations, on the contrary, the Bigger Bang album and tour have been getting great reviews. The Seattle show is no exception.

I suppose it would be great to see them go out on top of their game. There is something to be said about leaving the stage when grace and greatness remain abundantly present, and as far as that is concerned, I am not quite sure if Time is still on their side.

Looking through binoculars at the beginning of the show revealed guitarists Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards glancing at each other with drawn facial impressions that could have been subtitled “Are we going to make it through this show?” Watching “Stones” drummer Charlie Watts walk off stage after the show, white hair, big bald spot, dressed comfortably like someone ready to plunge down on the living room couch to watch the day’s ball game, was like saying farewell to a close family member. His recent bout with cancer made the big grin on his face after another successful show an even more memorable moment.

Then again, journalists have retired the band so many times that it has become kind of a joke, especially since many of the journalists are now absent. So I believe it when I see it and until then it’s always good to see the “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll band” come to town.

For more Rolling Stones pictures by Erik Schultz click here




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