Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Rolling Stones: Savvis Center, January 27, 2006

Many a knee-jerk criticism of the Rolling Stones vintage 2006 begins and ends with the canard that their shows are too tightly choreographed and as such do not allow for improvisation.

The setlist is to live rock as the lineup card is to baseball. You lead off with "Jumping Jack Flash," no ifs, ands, or buts. You close with unmitigated power: "Brown Sugar," "Can't Always Get What You Want," "Satisfaction."

And earlier on, having settled on "Rough Justice" in the cleanup spot followed by the solid "Tumblin' Dice" and then an out-of-left-field move like Tattoo You's often-overlooked masterpiece "Worried About You," Mick Jagger isn't going to pull the concert equivalent of the double switch. He's going to sit down at that keyboard and tell 15,000 screaming fans how he "Just can't seem to find [his] way," is what he's going to do.

For this attendee, the evening's sole weak spot came in the form of a segue midway through the set -- from a Keith Richards solo ("This Place Is Empty") to "Happy," that Exile on Main St. anthem which also features a Richards vocal. But seen in a slightly different light, even that sequence showed impeccable timing: You should have seen the lines form in the men's room as soon as "Keef" opened his mouth.

Here's a stunning statistic for you: Michael Philip Jagger is 440 days older than I am.