Culture

What to expect from The Rolling Stones this summer

BY John McKie   /  2 March 2018

It’s all right now. In fact, it’s a gas.

It must be a gas, or something in the water, which means that four men with the collective age of 294 can be responsible for the most anticipated  tour of of the summer.

Bearing in mind the size of the grounds where West Ham and Manchester United play their football, and three of the four home nations play their rugby, some will be seeing The Rolling Stones for the first time.

If you are numbered among them, in the interest of preparation rather than spoiler alerts, here are ten things to expect:-

1 Mick Jagger may well wear an eye-watering shade of canary yellow or fuchsia pink because, once you’ve appeared in Freejack with Emilio Estevez and Dave Stewart’s reggae project Superheavy, you’re pretty much unembarrassable.

2 While trading guitar licks, Ronnie Wood will rub bottoms with Keith Richards. It will look like two dogs mating which is sort of is.

3 Mick will make a droll quip about the band’s multi-faceted history. (Sample from a gig this writer witnessed in Los Angeles. “Nice to see all the wives and ex-wives here….and that’s just Charlie.”) Mick will then chuckle away at said droll quip as if he’s been summoned by the spirits of Mark Twain or Groucho Marx.

4 That lips logo will seem like it’s everywhere because it is. On stage, on flags, on every conceivable piece of merchandise. It is beyond any the powers of Western political party, any other rock band or global corporation save perhaps the McDonald’s golden arches. Jeep® have paid to be the official sponsors of the 2018 No Filter Tour but they could plaster their insignia from Stratford to Richmond and back and it won’t compete with a pair of giant red lips.

5 You will look at the skin and mainly bones of Keith Richards, still directing musical traffic ahead of an impending 75th birthday. You will consider the husk hauling the Fender Telecaster weaving his way in and out of a 40 year back catalogue, inspiring 60,000 souls to belt out every word. You will look at this anti-Jane Fonda, a personal trainer’s worst nightmare, this affront to the idea of healthy living who has ingested every substance known to a man, and you will ask yourself: “Why did I worry about that extra burger? Was it really worth denying myself the kingsize Mars Bar? Why did I risk the run? Or the weights at the gym? Or that salad? Because look at him. He clearly didn’t bother with any of that and seems to be all right…”

6 No one will miss Bill Wyman. This is not The Stones without Mani, Chic without Bernard Edwards, The Who without The Ox. The Stones were lucky that, unlike The Spice Girls, Genesis and Van Halen before them, their least charismatic member bailed early. Although it would be something of a collector’s item if the band performed Je Suis Un Rock Star. The Stones always come with a hefty Bill anyway….

7 One of your party will note that the ticket prices include £399.95 for one ticket for an area called the No Filter Pit. Another of your party will ask how many ex-wives and children this astronomical price the singer needs to justify charging this astronomical price. It is kinder not to ask.

8 Mick will drawl at one point “Keith’s going to sing one now” and there will be a mass exodus to the bar. Fight the temptation to join them. Keith’s rendition of Happy, even without the late, great Bobby Keys, is always one of the highlights.

9 You will glance at Charlie Watts and recognise, in the light caressing of the sticks, and care in his labour, the opposite of the tub-thumping, poodle-haired, television-hurling drummer in other stadia-dwelling bands. (The Foo Fighters alone number two of those) You will remember that Charlie is at heart a jazzer.

10 If they don’t perform Tumbling Dice, you are legally entitled to ask for your money back. Likewise, if they do perform Waiting On A Friend.