Culture, Entertainment, Music, Thank You

Stones: They Gather No Moss

63,000 showed up for night two of the #nofilter tour

Two hours, 25 songs, superbly prepared and shared.

The Rolling Stones visited Soldier Field last night. 63,000 showed up to welcome them. Someone remarked that they had been together for 55 years..crazy!

Actually, based on the details I read off the back of a worn tour shirt two rows down in front of me, they have been making music for 57 years.

It is not surprising that they are here, despite their frenetic flight path. The secret is, they make good music.  Music that lasts and spans generations of fans.

I know this by their choice of “support” band that played for 40 minutes before the Stones. The warm up band, which will remain anonymous, came from a different generation.

Brought up from Texas, they are labeled as a southern rock band. They served up about 8 songs which were excruciating. Loud, atonal, angry, scowling and screeching, viciously hammering their guitars, they daisy-cut the audience.   Not that the audience mattered, because they never noticed we were there. Even their soft song was strident and angry.   When they strode off the stage the applause was one of acknowledgement of the effort, and thanks…for getting off the stage.

But back to the Stones. Lest we forget, they have been an item since 1962, so they are audience-tested, and found worthy.  Last night they packaged the evening with a controlled energy that never quit.

The Stones packaged the evening with a controlled energy that never quit.

They played for two hours, delivering 25 songs.  The sound system was the same as the warm up band, but the product was superbly better, which might be the genius of the Stones.  They showed us how good rock and roll can be, with considerably less effort and volumes more goodwill.

Keith Richards subtly picked his iconic riffs.

The music was real music: recognizable melodies obviously, but prepared so elegantly.

Keith Richards subtly picked his iconic riffs without raising a sweat.  Ronnie Woods rippled across the frets, and smiled to the audience like a proud chef building a plate. Charlie Watts at the age of 78 worked the drums for two straight hours without pause. You would expect he had forearms like Popeye, but no, he is a smaller, diminuitive man who executes with precision and focus, but not brute force.

And of course, Sir Mick danced across all of our heads smiling, exhorting, cheering us and the band on.  We were his pets for the evening.  It’s amazing what a heart valve tune-up can do for the soul.

It’s every rocker’s wish that the Stones will keep on delivering.  Maybe for the concerts, the community, the culture, but mostly because they have continued to produce good, clever, memorable music–a formidable and treasured body of work over 57 years.   It’s loud, but not abusive, rhythmic but not staccato, well played, and best of all, you can sing along, which we all did.



6 thoughts on “Stones: They Gather No Moss

    • Mark, as a newly retired Boomer you have a birthright and obligation to attend as many concerts as you can. Go for the pricey seats: climbing into the rafters is tough work.


  1. A cool review of a cool band. It’s all about good songs, and the Stones had them. Phil, I saw them in 2002 in Columbus with my son, who was only 12. Our seats were at the side of the stage, 15th row. One of the best shows I’ve ever seen (out of, what, 70 or so?). They played like 20 year olds. I wanted Nick to see them because I figured they would be hanging it up sometime soon. That was 17 years ago. Now, I guess I’ll have to take my grandkids!

    Glad you had a good time!


  2. Dr. Brown –

    If Keith Richards is ever cremated, he’ll be his own eternal flame — with a little blue alcohol fire burning until the end of time.

    Mick definitely learned something about marketing during his time at the London School of Economics.

    I don’t know where they summon the energy. I’m at least a decade younger than they are and I feel a sense of accomplishment when I cut my own food.

    Hope you’re having a great summer and the shield bugs have departed your house.

    Once again, thanks for lighting it up at the Caxton Club … speaking of professionals who know how to connect with an audience!



    • Hi Doug: they get their energy from the crowd. But honestly, Mick is the jitterbug and he is a health nut. Charlie Watts is an example of senior persistence packaged with efficiency. He beat the drums for two hours, which is about 1:55 more than I could sustain. Keith is the sleeper in the group. He plucks away, smiles and pouts, but rarely works up a sweat. Ronnie Woods plays face to face with the audience and gets revved up doing that. For all the noise, which is under tight control, they play very efficiently. With their hands on the volume knob. As I was advised early in my career as a carpenter’s helper: ‘Let your hammer do the work.’


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