Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Rolling Stones Live @ Comerica Park

The Rolling Stones

July 8th, 2015

Live in Detroit

By Bo White


After all my years of attending concerts I’ve come to the conclusion that my concert days are coming to an end. Don’t get me wrong I love the music and the songs but I don’t like people, especially concert goers and I’ll tell you why; these nincompoops stand up during the entire show and block my view of everything including the screens , sing every effin’ lyric of every song, stink of beer and cigarettes, smoke marijuana but won’t share. Then there are all those yuppie dinks, walking tall, shoulders back like they have a stick up their collective butts. They are smug and self-righteous and never actually listen to the music; instead they talk about driving the Rover over to their summer residence in Charlevoix.  But really now, I’m not here to gripe to you about my curmudgeon-like approach to life; It’s just my fear of losing my passion for rock & roll and my ongoing battle with father time. It’s this inevitable I will grow old. But until I take my last breath, I will live it to the hilt. This brings me back to rock & roll. The Rolling Stones will be performing in Detroit in a huge stadium made for professional baseball. Back in 1972 I bought four $10 dollar tickets to see the Rolling Stones at Cobo Arena. They had just released Exile on Main Street and they were on the top of their game. I was enjoying a busy summer. I helped roof and repair city school buildings in Saginaw, got up a 5am, got to work at 6:30am and patched roofs till 4:30pm. Then I would hit the clubs; visit with semi-automatic girlfriends and take in all the Dionysian delights a young man might covet. After a month of serious debauchery, alcohol and weed I came down with a serious attack of mononucleosis. It knocked me down for the count. It took me a good five months to heal and an entire year to regain my strength; my friends Garno & the Nabber visited me while I was convalescing. When I asked about the concert, they said “It was the best show EVER!!! I meekly smiled and mumbled insincere thanks. From that day on I made a promise that someday I would see the Rolling Stones. I want to dig Satisfaction in all its fuzzbox glory and hear those deep cuts that kick it out. Just listen to Keith Richards guitar work and his open tuning technique that worked so well on Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, Brown Sugar and others

Ladies & Gentlemen…The Rolling Stones

The setlist was tight, just what I expected, hits mixed in with deep cuts. Before the show opened up, the fans had an opportunity to pick one of four or five songs. The song that got the most votes was added to the setlist. I picked Rocks Off and it made the list, it proved to the fans favorite. The band was tight and Mick Jagger proved to be a charming front man. He came prepared, held his hand, palm up as he pointed to the exact spot in the the southern mitten of Detroit. He won the crowd over by mentioning Bob Seger and Kid Rock and congratulated the Detroit Tigers on their regional championships for the past five years. The dude did his homework.

The show opened with a collage of images of the stones through the stages of their long career. Then the band walked onto the stage with a roaring approval by the fans. Jumpin’ Jack Flash opened the show. This was a high energy set with the four long time members of the Stones taking the stage hostage. Jagger’s soulful baritone was powerful. He sang and danced and mugged for the crowd. He’s a showman who possesses an improbable stamina. 70 years and counting and Jagger still has the gris gris. Ronnie Wood’s slide was incredible, he worked his craft with an easy aplomb. Charlie Watts is an incredible jazz drummer who happens to play rock & roll. He does that hesitation beat and holds his sticks properly like we were taught in junior high school. Next up was a spirited It’s Only Rock & Roll, a hard rocker with a heavy beat and great slide work by Ronnie Wood. Jagger changed the lyric to “you think you’re the only girl in Detroit town.” By and large all those golden rock solid chestnuts were faithfully rendered for the masses. And we loved them for it. It brought me right back to when Satisfaction and Honk Tonk Women carried me over the edge of civility and into more urgent carnal desires. Jagger pumped up the crowd over and over again. He needed only to shout out , “Hi Detroit Michiganders and we were all his, hot and ready!

Exile on Main Street garnered several songs, it is truly one of the greatest Stones LPs . I loved Keith Richards vocal performances on Happy and Before They Make Me Run. The Sticky Fingers was represented by a lusty version of Brown Sugar and Bitch, gotta hand it to Jagger, he sustained a high energy level throughout the 2 and ½ hour show. He even delivered an incredible falsetto on Moonlight Mile, a song about sadness, regret and redemption. Jagger is becoming a singer!

He may not be a singer per se but he is an expressive vocalist. He danced around the stage all night and never let up. He’s aged well! The Ronnie Wood/Keith Richards alliance is what makes the music jump, scream and electrify. Charlie Watts tightened it up.  Honky Tonk Women is truly a masterpiece of carnal delights. Jagger was up for the task and he delivered. The background singers were part of most of the songs. Gimme Shelter was a highlight. Mick sang the lyrics like a man possessed…rape, murder is just a shout a way; love, sisters is just a kiss away, a perfect dichotomy with really no resolution. A true masterpiece!

The encores included You Can’t Always Get What You Want (with members of the Oakland University Choir). It was incredible!


The Stones ended their performance with a raucous and sloppy (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, it was the perfect foil to the digital age!

At the very end of the show, following the encores, the symbol of the Rolling Stones big red tongue morphed into the Detroit Tigers logo! This was followed by an incredible fireworks display; it was totally unexpected but it was the perfect end to an incredible night of music.

P.S. Rolling Stones tee-shirts cost $50 in the stadium, $20 outside the stadium and $10 down the block down

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