Last night (November 25), The Rolling Stonesplayed their first arena concert in six years at England’s O2 Arena. The band played a two-hour-plus set, spanning their 50 year career.They opened with a nod to their very early days, via their second single “I Wanna Be Your Man” — a song John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote for them when they heard that the Stones needed a single (The Beatles recorded their own version a few weeks later). After that, though, they dedicated most of the night to the Mick Jagger/Keith Richards songwriting team, launching into “Get Off Of My Cloud,” before doing another cover, Bobby Womack’s “It’s All Over Now” (the band’s third single and their first UK #1).

After that, they played “Paint It Black” before being joined by their first guest of the night, R&B superstar Mary J. Blige, for “Gimme Shelter.” As opposed to their tours over the past two decades, this time around they’re using a stripped down band: Jagger, Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood are accompanied by bass player Darryl Jones and keyboardist Chuck Leavell, but no horn section or backing vocalists.  So without any women in the band, Blige was the perfect choice to reprise the Merry Clayton role in “Gimme Shelter.”

After two of their ’70s classics, “Wild Horses” and “All Down The Line,” they were joined by their second guest, frequent Jagger collaborator and guitar god Jeff Beck for “Goin’ Down,” a song Beck originally recorded for his 1972 Jeff Beck Group LP. After that, they traveled decades into the future with 1997’s “Out Of Control” followed by their two new songs, “Gloom And Doom” and “One More Shot,” both from their recently released GRRR! collection.

And then, they were joined by their ex-bass player Bill Wyman, who left the band in 1993: they performed “It’s Only Rock and Roll” and “Honky Tonk Woman.” Jagger introduced the band and left the stage, with Richards taking the mic for “Happy” and “Before They Make Me Run.”

They were then joined by their final guest of the night, former guitarist Mick Taylor, who was in the band from 1969 to 1974. They performed “Midnight Rambler,” a song Taylor didn’t originally play on, but which was always one of the highlights of the band’s performances during his tenure.

A few of their biggest hits — “Miss You,” “Start Me Up,” “Tumbling Dice,” “Brown Sugar” and “Sympathy For The Devil” — followed.  The encore was two songs: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (featuring a full choir) and finally, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”

The Rolling Stones’ second O2 show is Thursday (November 29) and they kick off a three show U.S. mini-tour on December 8 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Brian Ives, CBS Local


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