Had you known the band in 1963 and told the fresh faced trio of Jagger, Richards and Watts that they’d be doing stadium tours in their 70s, they’d likely have been a tad sceptical.
The Rolling Stones, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh ******
The numbers are scary. It’s 54 years since they first played here at the comparatively intimate Usher Hall and 58 since Mick and Keith bumped into one another at Dartford train station after losing touch for a few years. There’s even a plaque to commemorate that event.
They know how to make an entrance, arriving in the capital in their own private jet. Although these days, the hotel rooms are safe. No TVs will be hurled out the window on this visit. Mick even managed a wee jaunt to the Pentland Hills the other day to relax.
They start with Start Me Up, of course they did, which turned out to be the most recent song they played having been on 1981’s Tattoo You and then it was an oldie jukebox all the way going straight into Let Spend the Night Together and It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll, The dice tumbled and a little banter from the front man, drily mentioning that they’d likely be leaving Murrayfield a little happier than the last Englishmen who visited. “You’ll be supporting us when we get to the semi-final of the World cup though, won’t ya?”. We’ll get back to you on that Michael.
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One of the most overwhelming aspects of the evening was how much they were clearly enjoying themselves, Keith in particular. The man never stopped grinning.
The obligatory cover, an old Jimmy Reed track next and then back to business, specifically a fan-voted option of one of their rare psychedelic tracks She’s A Rainbow with Ronnie Wood providing glorious slide guitar backing. You Can’t Always get What You Want provided an invite from Jagger for a sing-along. Challenge accepted. More banter from the ageless frontman along the lines of “gie it laldy” and “ you’ll have had yer tea” and into a slow but rather wonderful Paint It Black which bled into
Honky Tonk Women and some more chat, Mick claiming they’d all come here on the trams. Aye, right.
At this juncture, old rubber lips took a break and Keith took over, belting out You Got The Silver and Happy. Still grinning like a loon.
Mick returned front of stage for Sympathy For The Devil, the crowd filling in on the “whoo-hoo” bit before even the backing singers did. A few more classics, they’re all classics really and a quick break and into a storming Gimme Shelter on which
backing vocalist Sasha Allen was given free reign to wander out to the end of the walkway to duet with the main man and then Satisfaction to close.
There’s not a single person here, on and off-stage, who isn’t aware this is a bit of a nostalgia-fest and there’s nothing wrong with that and to listen to the roar that greeted them on stage was something else. And despite the predictable demographic, there was a surprising amount of well under 30s there too, all of whom seem word perfect on the lyrics, which is rather pleasing. The last time?