Let the Geritol jokes, the Depends quips and the Metamucil gags stop right now. The members of The Rolling Stones may be eligible to join the AARP and would be welcome to buy a home in the retirement mecca of Sun City, but as a sold-out Glendale Arena crowd witnessed Sunday night, the self-proclaimed "Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World" is gathering no moss as they head into their fifth decade together.
As the large curtain around the stage pulled back and guitarist Keith Richards ripped into the opening salvo of “Start Me Up" from 1981's “Tattoo You," the crowd erupted into a mass of synchronized hand-waving and hip-swiveling as lead singer Mick Jagger, who practically invented how to be a rock 'n' roll frontman, shimmied around the stage dressed in black pants and a sparkling purple suit coat, playing to the crowd as only the enigmatic Jagger can, a zero-body-fat lothario who can still elicit screams from female fans three decades younger than himself by simply strutting across the stage in his skin-tight trousers.
Richards, who has been at the top of death pool lists for 30 years due to a once-legendary heroin habit — how can anybody survive for so long after something like that in his youth? — looked lean and mean dressed all in black, his familiar Telecaster draped over his thin frame as he dipped his knees, shrugged his shoulders and whipped out such memorable riffs as “She's So Cold," "Tumblin' Dice" and “Rocks Off."
Perhaps no other band can crank out new tunes that have the classic edge of their best material as can The Rolling Stones, who tore through some new songs from their terrific 2005 release "A Bigger Bang" such as the riff-heavy lead single "Rough Justice," the reggae-inflected "Rain Fall Down," which featured Jagger on guitar, and the Richards-sung "Infamy," all of which were well-received by a crowd that was most likely at the arena to hear the classics.
And The Stones did not disappoint, going as far back as the mid-'60s to deliver such chestnuts as "Get Off My Cloud," "Honky Tonk Women" and "Sympathy For The Devil," all of which were played on a small stage that moved to the center of the arena floor, the band playing on a platform no bigger than that of a small club.
By the time The Stones wrapped up their 20-song set with the all-time classic “Satisfaction," it was clear that the band, the longest-running rock superstar act still making records and touring, still has plenty of gas left in the tank, and it is not inconceivable that The Stones will still be packing in appreciative crowds 10 years from now, and Mick, Keith and the boys will still be bringing the rock 'n' roll with a ton of sweat and energy.
As on many of their recent tours, The Stones have made it a practice to bring young and hip bands along with them to open the 2005 shows, only to blow the kids off the stage. Sunday night's victim was singer/songwriter Jason Mraz, an earnest youngster who mixes folk, pop and rock with hip-hop vocal cadences and is known mainly for his alternative hit "The Remedy." Mraz and his band performed a short, tight set, and the crowd was polite. But when The Stones are waiting in the wings, it's hard for an opening act to make much of an impression.
"Start Me Up"
"You Got Me Rocking"
"She's So Cold"
"Oh No Not You Again"
"Rain Fall Down"
"Get Off My Cloud"
"Honky Tonk Women"
"Sympathy For The Devil"
"Jumping Jack Flash"
"You Can't Always Get What You Want"