The Rolling Stones last night (November 25) played the first of two long-awaited shows at London’s O2 Arena to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band.
As well as previously announced guests and former members Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor, the band were also joined by Mary J Blige, who added vocals to “Gimme Shelter”, and Jeff Beck, who played guitar on 1969’s “I’m Going Down”. Bassist Wyman played with the Stones from 1962 until 1992 while guitarist Taylor played with the Stones from 1969 to 1974. This is the first occasion the two have played with the band since that time.
The show began half an hour late at 8.30pm. A video showed clips of Stones fans including Iggy Pop, Elton John and AC/DC’s Angus Young explaining what The Stones mean to them. One of the talking heads, actor Johnny Depp, described their songs as “music that makes you want to do bad things”. Next, a tribe of percussionists wearing gorilla masks – a nod to the new compilation GRRR! – paraded around the arena, before the band launched straight into the Lennon-McCartney-penned “I Wanna Be Your Man”.
During ‘All Down The Line’, the backdrop showed footage of Stones heroes, from Chuck Berry to Elvis Presley. The setlist spanned the band’s 50-year career, with tracks ranging from 1963’s “I Wanna Be Your Man” to this year’s “One More Shot” and “Doom And Gloom”, which Jagger introduced by saying it was time for “Their Satanic Majesties… in full,” jokingly pretending the band would play the divisive 1967 psychedelic album.
Keith Richards took guest vocals on “Before They Make You Run”, from 1978’s Some Girls album, and “Happy”, from Exile On Main Street. A full choir joined the band for an encore performance of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, and the show ended with “Jumping Jack Flash”. “Satisfaction” was reportedly also on the setlist, but was not played due to time constraints.
At one point, singer Mick Jagger jokingly addressed one of the most-discussed aspects of the show – the price of tickets, which ranged from £90 to nearly £400. He said: “How’s everyone in the cheap seats? The problem is they’re not so cheap!”
Some tickets were being touted outside the venue – also the scene of the last UK Stones shows – for upwards of £3000.
The Rolling Stones played:
I Wanna Be Your Man
Get Off Of My Cloud
It’s All Over Now
Paint It Black
Gimme Shelter (with Mary J. Blige)
All Down The Line
Going Down (with Jeff Beck)
Out Of Control
One More Shot
Doom And Gloom
It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (with Bill Wyman)
Honky Tonk Women (with Bill Wyman)
Before They Make Me Run
Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor)
Start Me Up
Sympathy For The Devil
You Can’t Always Get What You Want (with choir)
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
The Rolling Stones will play the O2 Arena again on Thursday (November 29). They will also perform at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on December 8 and at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on December 13 and 15.