I’m far from being the first to say this but The Rolling Stones music in a live setting is still energized and vital. Earlier this month I got to see Brian Wilson perform and while there is absolutely no denying how amazing the music Brian created 40+ years ago is yet there is also no denying that it is simply not the same when performed today. It is, what it is. A nostalgia act going through the motions while the audience closes their eyes and remembers the way things used to be. They go to the show, sing the songs and forget it immediately.
I saw the Stones this weekend in San Diego with my children. For the most part, they did not know the music. They knew Mick, they know Keith because Johnny Depp used him as inspiration for his Jack Sparrow character. They had no idea who Ron or Charlie are and yet these four rock and roll outlaws somehow created new memories for me and my girls.
Mick, of course, is Mick. My girls will be mimicking his moves for years to come. They also loved Keith and his inability to enunciate so we could understand him during his time introducing the two songs he got to sing. I thought ten years ago that Keith’s time may have been coming to a close but he looks better than I think he’s looked since the 90s. Ron was also a wonder. Who knew rock stars still smoked onstage? Doesn’t he watch Mad Men? Doesn’t he know what becomes of Betty Draper? I will say that Ron now does all the heavy lifting when it comes to playing the songs. Keith is still cool but Ron is the muscle now. And then there’s Charlie. I think he’s the secret ingredient in this mixture. When I was younger, I was easily deceived by his simple drum patterns but now I can recognize that he is the true engine behind this rock and roll machine. He continually pushes the band and keeps Mick on his toes. I honestly don’t think The Rolling Stones will survive as a live band if Charlie ever leaves.
The Stones used to have elaborate sets which they thought helped provide added entertainment value now they only need video screens for us fans that are 500 feet above and away from the stage. They are truly emulating their blues forefathers who played as passionately as possible until death do us part. It’s truly their passion in the music that is essential and keeps us fans coming back for more.