I should start this post with a disclaimer: I am not a music person. I am especially not an oldies person. While most of my friends listened to oldies with their parents in the car growing up, I listened to talk radio, 104.5 (the CAT!), or whatever gospel station my babysitter had on. I went through the typical indie rock phase in college and folk phase when I moved to Nashville, but for the most part, the radio in my car stays on 90’s on 9 or ESPN.
So, with all of that in mind, when The Rolling Stones announced they were coming to Nashville, I was excited because they’re legends, but I wasn’t bouncing off the walls like a lot of people, including my husband. He bought tickets and as we headed downtown, I looked forward to a fun night, but didn’t have huge expectations.
Even if I had, the Stones would have exceeded them. Here’s why:
They made a mockery of the old jokes
Everyone likes to make jokes about how old the Stones are. And they are old, ranging from ages 68-74. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are 71, two years older than my dad, a fact that provided blistering perspective throughout the night.
Pardon the cliche, but The Rolling Stones have gathered no moss. Jagger bounced around the stage like a kid hopped up on Mountain Dew. Richards, the original Captain Jack Sparrow of #TeamNF, prowled around like a bag of bones bound together with silk scarves. Guitarist Ronnie Wood, the youngest at 68, struck pose after pose in skinny pants and glittery sneakers. The only band member who looked his age was drummer Charlie Watts, who wore a simple t-shirt and dad jeans and looked like he dropped in from the set of “Empty Nest.” But he still rocked it. They all did, for two and a half hours, and as someone less than half their age, I want their energy; it was so infectious and in-your-face that after only a few songs, I felt guilty for complaining about being tired from the walk over the pedestrian bridge.
Each song made me want more
Going in to the night, I thought I could name a few handfuls of Stones songs (once again, music novice here). As is with most classic rock groups, I knew more than I thought I did. This wasn’t just my first Stones concert, it was my first stadium concert, so experiencing the songs I’ve heard for years in movies, life, etc. in a larger than life setting was pretty amazing. (Also interesting: this was the first rock concert ever at LP Field.) The set picked up steam as it rolled on, starting with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” taking a Music City detour with Brad Paisley joining in on “Dead Flowers,” and finishing with “Brown Sugar” before a sweet encore of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” featuring the Belmont choir, and, of course, “Satisfaction.” The show ended around midnight, but the good vibes kept me bouncing on the long walk home.
The backup solo on Gimme Shelter is downright chilling
A few years ago, I saw “Twenty Feet from Stardom,” an excellent documentary about backup singers. If you haven’t seen it, it’s on Netflix and deserves a night of your time. One of the best parts was the story of Merry Clayton, a backup singer who performed the iconic solo on “Gimme Shelter.” Clayton was very pregnant at the time and got a call to do the part in the middle of the night. She walked into the studios in her pajamas with curlers in her hair and absolutely nailed it. The audio is chilling.
Merry doesn’t perform with the Stones anymore, but Lisa Fischer made her proud, belting out the verse and giving LP Field goosebumps on a night “hotter than a monkey’s bum,” according to Jagger. Speaking of…
We should all want moves like Jagger
There’s a reason Adam Levine coined that phrase and a reason it’s now stuck in your head (sorry). Everyone knows about Mick Jagger’s moves, but to fully appreciate them, you need to see them in person. At 71, Jagger is still effortlessly cool, wiggling around the stage in a tight black t-shirt, pants, and a blouse that he uses more like a boa. He’s incapable of standing still, constantly pumping his arms to the crowd, clapping, kicking, and scooting across the stage. Just watching him is exhausting. I never thought I’d say this in my entire life, but Mick Jagger is still hot, and if that sentence makes you want to throw up, well, sorry (not sorry). Watch him slither around the stage for two and a half hours and then we’ll talk.
The crowd was a show in itself
I expected that the crowd would be a good mix of generations, but seeing the Stones’ original fans come out for the show was almost as entertaining as the show itself. From late afternoon on, they walked around Broadway in vintage fringe like giddy schoolkids, and at the concert, they seemed high on nostalgia (or whatever else hung in the air at LP Field). The Stones play like they did back in the day and their older fans tried to party like it too, which means there are probably quite a few hungover baby boomers around town today. (I see your Advil and raise you some Gatorade.)
The rest of the crowd was made up of all ages, everyone excited and grateful for the chance to see the Stones before they’re gone; however, by the end of the night, Mick, Keith, Charlie, and Ronnie made it very clear they’re still alive and kicking. In fact, they showed us they still do it better than anyone.