Gig review: The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park
Almost 44 years to the day from their last appearance in Hyde Park, The Rolling Stones confirm they are still the 'Greatest Rock'n'Roll Band'
The Stones 2012/13 vintage is, we already know, a Grand Cru, following landmark gigs at the Dome last November and Glastonbury last weekend. But this latest alfresco show, almost 44 years to the day from their last appearance in Hyde Park, confirms that the “Greatest Rock'n'Roll Band In The World” has changed from brand cliche to mission statement.
At that 1969 show, they played from a stage little bigger than a flatbed truck, barely visible from the rear of the crowd; this time, the stage and speaker blocks are the size of Buckingham Palace, flanked by giant plastic oaks whose fake foliage fringes the proscenium and lighting gantries. As we wait for them to show, the whole edifice screens a continuation of the parkland which, as stage-time grows near, sprouts gigantic magic mushrooms. Then “Let's Spend The Night Together” accompanies news footage of the 1969 concert, and suddenly we're spending the night together with the Stones, lurching their way through “Start Me Up” with the full complement of louche panache.
They look great - healthy in a gnarled, knotty way, and styled with casual flamboyance. Mick's gold brocade jacket is discarded by the second song, but later on he'll wear two outfits clearly referencing the '69 show - a flimsy white thigh-length chemise, and a snazzy electric-blue jacket with a blue butterfly motif, recalling the insects released to commemorate Brian Jones' tragic death. And the set is virtually perfect, a litany of indestructible classics from “Tumbling Dice” and “Jumpin' Jack Flash” through to the final encore of “Satisfaction”.
Highlights tumble one after another. There's a raucous, driven “Down The Line”, backdropped by a tableau of originators, from Bo Diddley to Howlin' Wolf; a “Paint It Black” boasting Ronnie Wood's spiralling arabesques of electric sitar; Keith beaming broadly as he slashes out the riff to “Bitch” alongside young guest hotshot guitarist Gary Clark Jr.; Mick and backing singer Lisa Fisher duetting up a storm on “Gimme Shelter”; and Bobby Keys honking out that most emblematic of rock sax breaks on “Brown Sugar”, his greatest gift to music.
Mick Taylor later reprises his debut appearance as a Stone at that earlier Hyde Park concert, as part of the triple-braided blues funk of “Midnight Rambler”, whilst Jagger dances down the catwalk, hands clapping above his head while his microphone pokes suggestively from the top of his trousers. It all builds to a glorious climax with “Sympathy For The Devil”, played through a smokebomb pall against a fiery backdrop, Keith rasping out a piercing solo as the crowd starts up a chant of “whoo-whoo” that later rings round Hyde Park Corner underground like the demonic mating-call of dedicated hedonists. Which, in a way, it is.
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
- 3 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
The Jump 2015 line-up: Joey Essex, Mike Tindall, Jodie Kidd and co take to the slopes
Game of Thrones: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as he can keep his clothes on
Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' goes viral 35 years later
Martin Scorsese 'in shock and sorrow' after death on set of new film Silence
The secret joke hidden in Silence of the Lambs' most famous line
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia