The Rolling Stones are launching their 2013 tour tonight at the Staples Center in LA.
They played a club gig in town on Saturday night, before 700 people who paid a microscopic $20 apiece for a ticket. The Stones performed for about 90 minutes, appeared to go all out and were rewarded with highly favorable reviews.
I saw the Stones play last Dec. 8 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They were fantastic. No doubt hoping to stir up interest in a subsequent tour -- which happened -- they gave it 100%, as they did in an appearance in Newark, N.J., a week later, and in two shows in London to kick things off. The two songs they did at the 12-12-12 charity show at Madison Square Garden in between came off well, too.
When they feel like it, the Stones can still really play. Mick Jagger, who turns 70 on July 26, has few if any peers among rock and roll performers and singers. Keith Richards, who turns 70 on Dec. 18, and Ronnie Wood, a pup at 67, seemed reinvigorated on guitars and meshed well, and Charlie Watts, the fabled drummer who is past 70, sounded as good as ever that night in Brooklyn. Chuck Leavell, Darryl Jones, Bobby Keys, Bernard Fowler, Lisa Fischer & Co. ably supported the band.
This tour is an interesting one. The Stones don't have a new piece of product to hawk. It comes under the guise of the inevitable "50-Year Anniversary" series of shows. Everyone says, "They don't need the money," but the payoff will be huge. Tickets at Staples cost a minimum of $250 though several buyers will also be rewarded with special seats close to the stage.
By all accounts, it should be a good show and tour. For now, the Stones have scheduled only 18 dates in North America through June. It's a wise strategy. To give it their best effort night after night, the Stones shouldn't schedule too many shows in a row.
All I can tell you is that I saw the show a few months ago -- and I wish I could go again.