Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Stones Pass 50; On Tour Again

Rock Legends

The Stones On Tour:  The Rolling Stones on the cover of Rolling Stone.Gilmore says in the article: “Yet here the Rolling Stones are, in 2013, playing with an uncanny unity as they embark on what will possibly be their most anticipated series of musical performances since the epochal treks of America in 1969 and 1972.”
Photo Credit: Terry Richardson 

An article, by Mikal Gilmore, in Rolling Stone reports on The Rolling Stones, a British rock band that has defied all expectations— with its ups and downs, its in-fighting and its battles with drug use—has nevertheless survived and thrived as a group while performing like they was no tomorrow. They are getting ready for their first major tour in six years, practising in a space outside Burbank, California.

Gilmore writes:
The occasion is a rehearsal for the Stones' first major tour in six years, following a handful of concerts in Paris, London, Brooklyn and Newark, New Jersey, in the fall of 2012, commemorating the band's 50th anniversary as a performing unit. Last year's shows and the present tour both amount to an extraordinary milestone, for various reasons. Few musical units of any sort survive, much less prosper, with its core membership (Jagger, Richards and Watts) intact. As Watts pointed out to me, the only other major band of the past century to enjoy such longevity was Duke Ellington's, which the jazz pianist led from 1924 to 1974 – 50 years – though there was no lasting core membership during those decades.
The math in all this means that the musicians in the room are in their fifties to seventies and are playing a volatile sort of music that's commonly regarded as the province of the young and defiant. In the early and mid-1960s, the Rolling Stones represented attitudes, looks, desires and resentments – and in turn were reviled, condemned, targeted for legal persecution and even, at times, banned. ("Not usually the ingredients for longevity," Richards says.) Though the Stones have aged, and though much has changed in the past 50 years, they remain the most definitional band that rock & roll has produced. They continue to play music with tenacity and a sense of risk, as if it's still possible to upset the world around them with sound and rhythm. They have made that collective determination into an ongoing defiance, despite the dismay of some critics and even peers. "You know, they're congratulating the Stones on being together 112 years," John Lennon said in 1980, not long before his death. "Whoopee!" Yet here the Rolling Stones are, in 2013, playing with an uncanny unity as they embark on what will possibly be their most anticipated series of musical performances since the epochal treks of America in 1969 and 1972.
They will, of course, be well rewarded for their efforts. Ticket prices for these appearances range from around $150 to more than $2,000. In April, Kid Rock told Rolling Stone, "We're all over-paid. It's ridiculous. People stopped going to concerts because they can't afford them! The Rolling Stones are charging $600. That just makes me speechless. I love the Stones, but I won't be attending."
High ticket prices will deter some, but not many, willing to shell out big money for a group that can still crank it out.  It’s a sight to see ageing rockers—Mick Jagger will turn 70 in July, and Keith Richards, a few months younger at 69—belting out songs that defined a generation of rebels.

As Gilmore says, describing the group's continuing ability to take centre stage: “The Stones are astoundingly loud and raw – they are like an avant-garde din – with Richards’ guitar work sounding undyingly ominous. Jagger proves tireless and protean. His expressions mutate constantly, and though he has sung these songs more times than might be knowable, he still delivers them as fervent discoveries, as hilarious or imperative or desperate – and always with what is either a wild abandon or a remarkable enactment of it.”

That’s important, meeting  the expectations of fans. Make no mistake, Jagger is an astute businessman, and has led the group to both fame and riches. But this will be unimportant for most people at the shows, For many people attending, such as the baby boomers  it’s about reliving the past when they were young and full of possibilities. This is not always a bad thing when all you want is a few hours to escape into the music.

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You can read the rest of the article at [Rolling Stone]