By Burt Graeff
They are a combined 301 years old. They have performed more than 2,000 concerts from Brisbane to Boston since being formed in 1962. As in 1962 when JFK was in the White House; when a first-class postage stamp was 4 cents; when the DOW Jones hit 767; when the average price for a movie ticket was 70 cents.
The Rolling Stones are ageless. Lead vocal Mick Jagger (76), guitarist Ron Wood (72), guitarist Keith Richards (75) and drummer Charlie Watts (78) appeared in late August at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Az., outside Phoenix.
It was the first time my wife, June, and I have seen them. A Rolling Stones concert is not an event; it is a happening. We talked to one couple from Perth, Australia. Earlier that day, they visited the Grand Canyon. “We saw them once before in Australia,’’ the husband said. “We wouldn’t miss this for anything.” We talked to a woman who was seeing them for the sixth time. Another woman wore a t-shirt that read: ‘Mick is my boyfriend.’
The Rolling Stones are the bad boys of rock and roll, and they love it. They poured heart and soul into each of the 19 songs they did over a raucous non-stop two-hour performance. The head of this ageless snake is Jagger. Without Jagger’s are-you-kidding-me boundless energy, the Stones are a local band performing in joints around Tucson.
Mike Jagger is a freak of nature. This is a guy who underwent a heart procedure in April, pushing the Stones original May date to August. This is a guy – a great-grandfather no less – who looks like he weighs 120 pounds, is closer to 80 than 70, yet is able to prance and dance his way an estimated 12 miles with every performance.
A reviewer of a Stones’ concert once labeled them as ‘the aging rock group.’ The review was written in 1986. Jagger was 42 at the time. ‘This could be the last time,’ is one of the Stones early hits. Yes, this could be the last time. But, don’t count on it. The Rolling Stones don’t appear ready to rock, or roll, into the sunset.