Tag Archives: MC5


Rolling Stones on Tour: Sixty Years and Counting

May 19, 2024

The Moody Blues was a notable band in the era of popular music that followed the initial success of the so-called British Invasion. All five of its original members are now dead, including Denny Laine, a guitarist who remained prominent as a guitarist in Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles band, Wings. Founded in 1964, the Moody Blues is yet another example of the long acknowledged fact that it wasn’t the baby boomers (those born after 1946) who instigated the cultural changes that marked the 1960s; rather, it was their elder “siblings” (those born between 1939 and 1945) who startled the status quo of Frank Sinatra and Baby boomers, in fact, did contribute to those changes, but it was as an audience. To offer a variation on a phrase by Peter Schjeldahl, baby boomer were a transmission generation. To a large extent, baby boomers represent a major instance of “reader response,” without which the songwriters born between 1940 and 1944 could not have had the impact on world culture that they did. The extent to which that listening influenced other avant-garde efforts includes the Language writing movement. Rae Armantrout, for instance, has specifically written of the impact that “Satisfaction” had on her as a young poet in San Diego in 1965.

No sooner did the demise of all the original members of the Moody Blues get announced than the obit book was closed on the final surviving member of the MC5 (aka the Motor City 5). Dennis Thompson the drummer, outlived bandmate Wayne Kramer less than four months. In contrast, not only are three of the original members of the Rolling Stones still alive, but each continues to be fully engaged with their preferred projects. Although Keith Richards gained deserved attention as a co-author of an autobiography, it is the original bass player, Bill Wyman, who has produced the most books as well as releasing solo albums of his own songs. One might attribute his artistic longevity to his decision to stop touring in what amounted to an oldies band in the 1990s, but that conjecture runs into the ever revivifying staying power of the collaborative songwriting partnership of Sir Mick Jagger and Richard, both of whom are leading the latest iteration of the band on a national tour that began in late April and will last until early July.

As vigorous as the frontman remains, and as invigorating a sense of a pivotal increment as the music still manages to attain, age has caught up with the band. One only has to look at the schedule of the 1966 tour with its nocturnal leap-frogging across the continent, with a show in a different city almost every night for a couple weeks in a row, to gain a perspective on this year’s tour, with its interlude of three days off between shows. Recovery time is understandably needed, and one wouldn’t want or expect them to move at any other clip. In part, the need to support the level of entourage assistance over such an extended time as the current tour has to be factored in when considering the price of the tickets.

Given the unlikelihood I’d be able to attend their next tour, I”m half-tempted to splurge and see this band for only the second time in my life, but I doubt that it would be worth the money. I don’t need my morale about my physical dilapidation getting another gut-punch by watching Jagger strut on the tight-rope of senescence. As for Richards, I saw him perform on his solo tour for “Talk Is Cheap,” and that suffices as one of the most exquisite musical evenings of my life.

I certainly wouldn’t discourage any young person from seeing the surviving version of The Rolling Stones, but I would urge them to first invest in some serious vinyl recordings. Cassettes and CDs, unfortunately, do not truly catch the mix of sound that comes across from the original vinyls. I am quite serious when I say that if one had a choice between spending a few hundred dollars on seeing the current tour or of acquiring vinyl, one shouldn’t hesitate to acquire the vinyl. The tour only provides a fraction of the music that makes this band intriguing. To put it bluntly, unless one is familiar with the following four dozen or so songs, one lacks the context to appreciate what one might hear on the stage in 2024.

Love Comes (At the Speed of Light)
One Hit (to the Body)
Yesterday’s Papers
Stray Cat Blues
Continental Drift
2120 South Michigan Avenue
What a Shame
Mona (Down Home Girl)
Stupid Girl
I Just want to See His Face
Cool, Calm, Collected
Doncha Bother Me
Cry to Me
That’s How Strong My Love Is
She Smiled Sweetly
The Spider and the Fly
Dear Doctor
As Tears Go By
Play with Fire
Lady Jane
Tell Me
You Gotta Move
Child of the Moon
Time Is on My Side
No Expectations
Sweet Black Angel
2000 Light Years from Home
Under My Thumb
Under Cover of the Night
I Am Waiting
Time Waits for No One
Salt of the Earth
Loving Cup
Can’t You Hear Me Knocking
Wild Horses
Moonlight Mile
Miss You
Ruby Tuesday
Locked Away

Encore song:
The Last Time (cf my blog post: Brian Jones and the Fiftieth Anniversary of “The Last Time”)

“Locked Away” is, of course, not a Jagger-Richards composition, but it would feel appropriate as a coda to an anthology of their songs that represents the extraordinary range of musical influences that Richards and Jagger have absorbed and disseminated with redolent embellishments. The crucial “color” added to their songs by musicians such as Brian Jones, Nicky Hopkins, and Mick Taylor, not to mention Wyman, the Late, beloved drummer Charlie Watts, and Ron Wood, can hardly be overlooked without leaving any account of this band open to charges of sycophancy.

How many of the people who see The Rolling Stones on tour in the United States this summer will be familiar with the above songs? My guess is less than 20 percent. One can hope, I suppose, that the show will encourage them to dig into the backlist, but that’s not likely to happen. As I think about it, one of the reasons I am not interested in attending their show is that I would prefer to hear them in the company of people who know the band’s work. I never enjoyed large crowds, and at this point actively dislike them. To feel that the people around me are ignorant of the context of the music leaves me dismayed at how little curiosity most people have. The sad fact is that at least those who listened to “You Gotta Move” then went out and bought an album by Mississippi Fred McDowell. I can’t imagine that happening now to any significant extent.

Suppose someone were to offer me two free tickets to attend the current tour. Would I go, despite my discomfort with large crowds? I would certainly be tempted, if only to help erase the rather insipid taste that I still have from the one time I did see the band, in Los Angeles in 1972; it wasn’t an impressive show. It was a matinee performance, and the band seemed to treat it as a dress rehearsal meant to make up for a lack of preparation. Perhaps my indifferent reaction was in part due to their set list, which included several songs that hardly rank as among my favorites. Lyric content aside, “Brown Sugar” always struck me as a song that never amounted too much after the first eight seconds, which get one’s instant attention, but which gets frittered away with a predictable road-house bravura. The songs they performed from their new album at the time, “Exile on Main Street,” didn’t seem to have made a full transition from the studio to the stage. The best of the show seemed to be “Gimme Shelter” and “Jumping’ Jack Flash,” two songs that are included in their 2024 tour.

Here’s the tour, with both dates already played and those yet to come:

April 28th, 2024 — NRG Stadium HOUSTON, TX

May 2nd — Jazz Fest NEW ORLEANS, LA

May 7th State Farm Stadium GLENDALE, AZ

May 11th Allegiant Stadium LAS VEGAS, NV

May 15th Lumen Field SEATTLE, WA

May 23rd MetLife Stadium EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ

May 26th MetLife Stadium EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ

May 30th Gillette Stadium FOXBORO, MA

June 3rd Camping World Stadium ORLANDO, FL

June 7th Mercedes-Benz Stadium ATLANTA, GA

June 11th Lincoln Financial Field PHILADELPHIA, PA

June 15th Cleveland Browns Stadium CLEVELAND, OH

June 20th Empower Field at Mile High DENVER, CO

June 27th Soldier Field CHICAGO, IL

June 30th Soldier Field CHICAGO, IL

July 5th BC Place VANCOUVER, BC

July 10th SoFi Stadium LOS ANGELES, CA

July 13th SoFi Stadium LOS ANGELES, CA

July 17th Levi’s ® Stadium SANTA CLARA, CA

Post-Script: For baby boomers who remember hearing their music in the 1960s, you might enjoy these outtakes of
18 recordings from 1967 featuring Brian Jones.
Mord Und Totschlag (opening credits) – harmonica: https://youtu.be/XLCUyWJHbcA?si=IWCKY64_ff1tBrwB
Mord Und Totschlag (recorder theme) – recorder: https://youtu.be/UkTesw51tM0?si=ejdX3_n8Ka99Nzis
Mord Und Totschlag (sitar theme) – sitar: https://youtu.be/Svr8fxUU30w?si=635qDu_VREmKRIjj
Mord Und Totschlag (dulcimer theme 1) – dulcimer, sitar (drone) & autoharp: https://youtu.be/JiVF4h0Kffo?si=do0fQI8gRgQxdVov
Mord Und Totschlag (harmonica solo) – harmonica: https://youtu.be/_7rYxrZ6bkE?si=u0bMj6ttn9WX-MR4
We Love You – mellotron: https://youtu.be/WOWvT5dPGJE?si=sezj2yPOc5EjZzST
Dandelion – soprano saxophone: https://youtu.be/-dufQk7apX0?si=n3JGo6BYs8l0anS-
You Know My Name, Look Up The Number – soprano saxophone: https://youtu.be/iMhKWOP6EZQ?si=QIuucvgyQCC5mWh3
Citadel – soprano saxophone, recorder & mellotron: https://youtu.be/I9KJAeM3NCc?si=PUgQH2hVNRVW_ys2
The Lantern – organ: https://youtu.be/9dRyCruH3d4?si=i2glC741TpAGd1YS
She’s A Rainbow – mellotron: https://youtu.be/zKfJXUey8r0?si=uaJbVKrrJpquA28V
In Another Land – mellotron: https://youtu.be/jBJbo5kLXVs?si=P74B6ywTO5YKqaoY
Gomper – electric dulcimer & recorder: https://youtu.be/12VrOX-ogAw?si=bwXmL7FefxMQthA1
2000 Light Years From Home – mellotron: https://youtu.be/RLhFT7YXnoI?si=KlvdExs6sEF0UmDu
On With The Show – mellotron: https://youtu.be/SYwqJmRIQng?si=JiRTLeKen7186cQI
Acid in the Grass – concert harp: https://youtu.be/F8Uu0Kl680s?si=QPna5pJbw9-l-YAX
Majesties Honky Tonk – organ: https://youtu.be/kADe7QFC2cE?si=ohrgDXvWQ3eL1_dE
Gold Fingernails – harmonica: https://youtu.be/X0xFaDN0jLs?si=4iOFKYhNrrORhcKr
Photo: Gered Mankowitz