tue 18/06/2024

The Rolling Stones, BST Hyde Park review - let it rock! | reviews, news & interviews

The Rolling Stones, BST Hyde Park review - let it rock!

The Rolling Stones, BST Hyde Park review - let it rock!

Who can match The Rolling Stones firing on all cylinders? No one, that’s who

Out of the park: Mick Jagger with Sasha Allen during 'Gimme Shelter'Mike Baess

A few spots of rain greeted the arrival of the Rolling Stones on BST Hyde Park’s stage on Saturday night, and after “Street Fighting Man”, as Mick Jagger dedicated the show to the much-loved and lamented drummer Charlie Watts, a rainbow appeared over the stage. 

Then the band powered into the daylight half of their set, heavy on the Sixties pop end of their catalogue – a singalong revival of “Out of Time”, an angular, muscular, heart-racing “19th Nervous Breakdown”, and a delicate “She’s a Rainbow” giving way to a warm, oozy “Tumbling Dice” and the mournful guitars and horns of the evergreen “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. Ronnie Wood’s solo sheds shards of glass across the instrumental break before Jagger led a call-and-response before taking it down to their most recent song, the noirish, pandemic-era “Living in a Ghost Town”, with some strong animations, and a nice bit of dub opening up in the middle of the song.

Sticky Fingers classic “Can You Hear Me Knocking” got a rare and powerful, if truncated, airing, with Richards powering out that classic riff and the band segued nicely into the Latin groove playout, with saxman Karl Denison taking up Bobby Keys’ original solo, blowing it his way, and Wood adding a harsher angular tone to what Mick Taylor mellifluously put down in the studio back in 1971.

By now, the daylight was starting to go, and Keith Richards made a nod to the Turneresque sunset in front of him – “first the sun and then the moon” – looming up in the west behind the 50,000-strong crowd, before delivering a tender “Slipping Away” adorned with lyrical guitar breaks, and a more raucous, just-about-together “Connection”, from 1967 album Between The Buttons, and its first truly successful stage outing on this Sixty tour.

The ancient art of weaving between Richards and Wood was more like knife-play - angular, abrasive and jagged, delivering real tension

Then, with “Miss You”, night fell, the atmosphere changed, charging itself and thickening considerably. The Stones are a night time band. They’re not made for daylight. Darkness suits them. Their 1978 disco classic gave Richards a chance for a stage rest, before slipping out and cutting a few chord shapes around Daryl Jones’s inimitable bass, the guitarist now sporting not a bandanna but a fedora, and from then on, it was a peerless retinue of big hitters, from a 12-minute “Midnight Rambler”, through “Paint it Black”, “Start Me Up”, and the four horsemen of “Gimme Shelter” (with Sasha Allen brilliant on co-vocals), “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Satisfaction”.

The audience ranged from original Sixties and Seventies fans down to twenty-somethings getting their first taste of the greatest rock'n'roll band in the world. And they are, still. There’s something uncanny, even supernatural about the three surviving principles, grouped tightly together in front of new drummer Steve Jordan, forging their musical alchemy. Jagger has just had Covid at the age of 78, and there he was, jumping around for two hours, turning an audience of 50,000 separate souls into one writhing body. It’s uncanny. Come nightfall, the focus changes – instead of observers, we become participants. Most people even put away their phones for a while and do what concert goers used to do – dance and shout and wave their arms about.

Richards truly nailed the harsh, atonal solo on the first encore, “Sympathy” – coaxing it like a snake from its hole. Throughout, the ancient art of weaving between Richards and Wood was more like knife-play – angular, abrasive and jagged, delivering real tension, not nostalgia. There’s a lot of love here for Ronnie Wood – the gauntest of all the principals – and the serious concentration etched in his face shows that yes, they’re playing, but it’s serious play. That commitment draws you in. Wood’s big solos – on the likes of “Rambler” and “Shelter” – sound like he’s firing off several churning, distorted lines at once, and while it’s not pretty, it’s a powerful new addition to the Stones sound.

Come the encores, with the rousing chords of “Satisfaction” following on from Richards’ knife-throwing solo for “Sympathy”, and you understand that these Stones classics may be oldies, but they’re newies too – a lot of Hyde Park’s audience are too young to feel nostalgia. The Stones in the Park 2022 is not so much about the past, but about raw power, and the unleashing of it. Because the songs remain so present. They’re news that stays news. I’ve rarely felt such satisfaction at hollering “I CAN’T GET NO” along with 50,000 others in Hyde Park at a time when so much, beyond the world of the Stones, seems to be in a state of collapse. “Things are a bit rough,” Keith commented at the start of his mini-set. Too right. For a few precious hours, the Stones’ magic banished all that away.


Watch The Rolling Stones perform "Midnight Rambler" at Hyde Park

The Stones are a night time band. They’re not made for daylight. Darkness suits them


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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