Rolling Stones

By Jake Ebdale

Artist:  Rolling Stones

Date / Venue:  Saturday November 22nd, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland

Over a year after buying tickets, I finally got to see The Rolling Stones in the flesh. Forget the recent tabloid fodder. Everyone on stage was in elated spirits - it was the last show on a huge Australasian tour. In short: they turned up on time, they played the hits, and they put on a damned entertaining rock show. The energy was electric, fired up by a great set by Australian legends Hunters & Collectors.

There were 36,000 strong at Mt Smart, braving a slightly windy, drizzly night. We managed to find very cheap tickets in the front row at the last minute - an absolute dream come true. For many out in the bleachers, the band appeared as huge projections on TV screens, or wrinkly little figurines obscured by light. But hey, it's to be expected from a production of this size - and importantly, the sound was fantastic throughout the whole stadium.

It was very much a greatest hits set here - a particularly rapturous applause for ‘Honky Tonk Women', a local choir on ‘You Can't Always Get What you Want', Daryl Jones and Bobby Keys smashing out solos on ‘Miss You' - and most importantly, an appearance from Exile-era guitarist Mick Taylor on ‘Midnight Rambler' that was the pinnacle of the show. The fact that Keef played his greatest solo tracks in a row (‘You Got the Silver', ‘Happy', ‘Before They Make Me Run') was the cherry on top. ‘Tumbling Dice' and ‘Doom and Gloom' were favourites.

If there's one thing I can comment on - I've always maintained that Jagger should limit his movement on stage these days to really focus on singing. Listening back to videos from the concert, he's a now talk singer, no longer possessing that raw, near vulgar blues howl, more of a shaky yelp. But the guy is a great grandfather - the mere fact that we got to see him shaking his bony arse was enough. I walked away with a huge smile on my face.

The biggest band in the world pulled it off. Hopefully this won't be the last time.