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Rolling Stones don't show their age

Fenway Park, Boston, Aug. 23, 2005

By Jeffrey B. Remz

BOSTON - The Rolling Stones may be almost ready for Social Security age-wise, but there is absolutely no need to put them out to pasture. Whether Mick, Keith and company can keep up the torrid pace they showed during the second show of their Bigger Bang tour seems rather obvious.

Once again, they have a lot to show to musical generations that followed with a rocking, high energy show that captivated time and again.

The Stones began the evening with the appropriate "Start Me Up," although it didn't take much to get these guys going.

They spread the evening out with a bunch of classics, new material from the soon-to-be-released "A Bigger Bang" album and a cover.

The new songs from the reportedly strong new disc sounded quite good. They rock and show no age or attempt to go au courant with "Rough Justice" and "back of My Hand" sounding very good.

One of the highlights of the evening was the tribute to Ray Charles with "Night Time (is the Right Time)" in a bluesy, soulful style. Back-up singer Lisa Fisher was an absolute tour de force, letting loose on the song and basically challenging Jagger to deliver the goods.

Ultimately, Jagger was up to the task. The guy shows no wear and tear after all these years. His voice is fine shape - his vocals are head loud and clear (a fine system by the way). The tempos of several songs were changed - the closing song of the night, the appropriate "It's Only Rock & Roll" was faster than usual. But why bother playing songs the same way all the time?

And despite playing "Satisfaction" who knows how many times, one got the sense that no one on stage was going through the motions at all.

The twin guitar attack of Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood was strong throughout. They spiked the songs with meaty guitar lines time and time again. Many times, theplaying possessed a bluesy, steely quality, giving the songs much bite.

Of course, drummer Charlie Watt does a great job as the timekeeper. He maintains a light touch throughout, never flashy, but moving the songs along.

As for the staging, it was one huge stage. Jagger had no problems running about from end to end numerous times, a testament to his great shape, though it was almost too big.

The Stones got closer to the crowd starting with "Miss You" where a portion of the stage started moving out into the audience. The band stood close together and were close to the crowd as well.

And then they kept the momentum going when they returned to the main stage closing with a lengthy, but strong "Out of Control" and then the chestnuts "Sympathy for the Devil" with lots of red about the stage, "Jumping Jack Flash" and "Brown Sugar" to close the regular two-hour set before launching into an encore.

Yes, it may only be rock and roll - the Stones go much beyond love and lust, but today's generation of bands can learn a lot from these Stones. They lived the high life, but they also know how to make music that while perhaps not as vital as it once was, still deserves a place in the musical world today.

Age has not dampened the abilities of the Rolling Stones.

Black Eyed Peas opened the evening with a strong 45-minute set. The focal point of the Peas deservedly is Fergie. She could give Mick a run for his money as she proved by singing while doing a bunch of one-handed front handsprings.

But this wasn't a show that was all razzle dazzle either.

While Fergie is numero uno, she is joined by lead singers William, Taboo & in this hip hop configuration. None show the range or depth of Fergie, but each adds diversity.

And to their credit, the Peas displayed musical diversity as well with jazz elements part of the repertoire. A strong backing band helped.

Closing with their biggest hit, "Let's Get It Started," Black Eyed Peas did get the evening off to quite a fine start.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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