“We’ve been coming here a long time, New Zealand. So long that the first time we came, we were touring with Roy Orbison!” Jagger told me and 47,000 other fans. Damn right. And you know what? My mum was there. She remembers screaming her 15-year-old lungs out over Mick and Keith (Roy who?) in all the Stones’ velvet, fur and tight-panted glory at the Theatre Royal in Christchurch in 1965. Forty-one years later I first saw them on their A Bigger Bang tour at Western Springs in Auckland; and for a second, and even better, time at iconic Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday night.
I became a Stones addict later than most. At 27, I was seduced by the fabulous, mythical stories about the band. I read everything I could lay my hands on. I devoured stories about Marianne Faithful letting one shoulder of her fur coat slip to reveal her nakedness to police officers at a drug bust at Keith Richards’ place in 1967; drummer Brian Jones’ bloated body lying face down in his swimming pool; the paparazzi’s black and white images of Mick and Bianca Jagger’s St. Tropez wedding; the band’s time as British tax exiles at famed villa Nellcôte in the south of France (they recorded Exile on Mainstreet there, between parties); and of course Keith Richards’ supposed full-body transfusions to make good his drug-saturated blood. Oh the stories, the characters and the clothes are endless and fascinating.
Of course, I’ve grown to love their music too – particularly their early songs like Get Off My Cloud and As Tears Go By. To me their music feels like a soundtrack to the great stories. Saturday’s concert sits in my cache of personal stories in relation to the band, joining my heart to theirs with the finest of tendrils. Tonight’s stories will be about seeing the rockers at their very best; watching the wind drive the rain across the stadium (“We’re all in this together” – Jagger); partying with Ryan (a rather inspiring 23-year-old BMXer/style-insider/social media guru with fabulous socks from Auckland via Motueka) and his partner; and talking pre-school shenanigans with the lovely Megan from Auckland Stadiums. But most of all I will remember being inspired by witnessing the Stones doing what they love for fifty – fifty! – years and doing it with such energy, ferocious commitment and joie de vivre. I’d need to be writing at 96 to be able to boast the 50 years statistic. Bring it on.
Top Five Concert Moments:
- Mick Jagger’s strutting, cockerel fabulousness. And his red fur cape and sparkly red tails.
- Keith Richards tshirt with a C. F. Goldie portrait of himself on the front and his acoustic version of You Got the Silver
- It’s all about the guitars in Midnight Rambler (with guest Mick Taylor)
- Back up singer Lisa Fischer’s blast-the-roof-off-if-there-was-one vocals in Gimme Shelter
- Crowd participation and saxophone riffs in I Miss You
Quote of the night:
Keith Richards: “I nearly got buried here. Good fortune is on my side.”
Start Me Up * It’s Only Rock & Roll * You Got Me Rockin’ * Tumbling Dice * Like A Rolling Stone * Doom And Gloom * Out Of Control * Honky Tonk Women * You Got The Silver * Before They Make Me Run * Happy * Midnight Rambler * Miss You * Gimme Shelter * Jumpin’ Jack Flash * Sympathy For The Devil * Brown Sugar
You Can’t Always Get What You Want * Satisfaction