Ladies, gents - the Rolling Bones ... er, Stones!
With a booming introduction that actually did call them by their correct name, the special effects fog-cover lifted from the stage Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts about to ply their trade.
A split second after the opening announcement, the band erupted into "Street Fighting Man" and the crowd of 50,000 rose to its feet with an ear-splitting roar.
Welcome to The Rolling Stone's 2,000th (or thereabouts) concert. The first one was in 1964 and the band, against all odds, is still going strong in 2019.
Their recent performance at Century Link Field in Seattle pretty much verified that. The fact that there wasn't an empty seat anywhere, the fact that the audience was multigenerational, and the fact that Mick Jagger was still strutting across a huge stage, despite recent heart surgery, is a testament to the band's durability and lasting appeal.
I grew up with the Stones, so it was with some alarm that I viewed them close up on the large screen attached to the stage. My husband refers to them as "The Rolling Bones," and with good reason.
The energetic, nice-looking boy band I grew up with has turned into skinny, deeply wrinkled elder statesmen of rock. However, one can speculate that they may be skinny due to still having that same unstoppable energy. The Stones visibly put body and soul into their music and the calories they expend every time they step on stage must be off the charts.
The dedication displayed by Stones fans is legendary. The man sitting next to me was European and told me that he had come to the U.S. primarily to see the concert. It was his 16th.
Another man, spied in the aisles, sported a jacket that listed the years of his personal concert attendance on the back, beginning in 1965 and continuing to the present. A third encounter brought me face to face with another die-hard fan, who happened to be an acquaintance from Wilsonville. I mean, 50,000 people — what are the chances?
It's not hard to pinpoint why the Stones have sustained their longevity. It's not Jagger's androgynous dancing or quirky personality, it's not Richards' ability to stay alive, despite years of drug involvement.
It's really about four small men making big, unforgettable music. As young lads from London they managed to bring a connective, unique sound to the masses almost overnight, a sound those masses could recognize in their core.
When you're at a Stones' concert, the music is fiercely loud and alive with a deep, drumming, driving ferocious beat. It is a sound that courses through the body and the psyche like a relentless fever, and once you catch it, it's hard to get over it ... ever.
People like to speculate about how much longer the Stones will last. This was my fifth concert and I remarked to the person next to me that I feared it might be the last time I would get to see them. He didn't want to hear it.
In his eyes, and in the eyes of Stones fans everywhere, this band of not-so-gracefully aging codgers will somehow, magically, always be there — indestructible, and singing "I Can't Get No Satisfaction," to the very end.
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