Friday, July 1

The Rolling Stones ratify their eternity in Madrid

They completed 40 years of career and many already thought that The Rolling Stones was a thing of the devil, hence perhaps the bravado of reaching 50 and finishing off the name of that tour with an “and adding” that in this 2022, with another decade and another “tour”, has only ratified that yes, they are eternal.

Because his music is still valid and, at the opening tonight of his European tour “Sixty” at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid, the more than 53,000 attendees (full capacity, according to the organization) have once again gone crazy before Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ron Wood as if most of his songs hadn’t been done for half a century.

This has been the case with the incendiary “Paint it black” or “Sympathy for the devil”, the same with a “Midnight rambler” that hasn’t lagged behind them or, of course, with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction ” as a finishing touch to two hours of entertainment and almost twenty cuts in which there has been room for surprise.

As if each of his “shows” were not exceptional per se, other circumstances made this a unique event, such as the fact that it was held on the same day that the youngest of the group turned 75.

But above all because this is his first tour in Europe without Charlie Watts. “We miss him a lot,” Jagger underlined after a cascade of images at the beginning of the evening that consecrate it to the memory of who on June 2 would also have been celebrating his 81 years.

Precisely one of the great unknowns of the tour lies in the role of his substitute on drums, Steve Jordan, an old acquaintance of the band who has been able to assemble himself into a well-armed group with a small brass section and virtuosos such as keyboardist Chuck Leavell, former member of the Allman Brothers.

Faced with a live show that is usually very neat, the other big question was whether the venue would respond acoustically to the same extent. The Wanda Metropolitano was the only stadium they had left to conquer Their Satanic Majesties in the Spanish capital after assaulting the Santiago Bernabéu on their previous visit in 2014 and, especially, after the long romance with the Vicente Calderón since their first incursion in 1982, when between thunder and lightning they forged a special bond with this city.

Fortunately, the sound has gone from a very thick mixture to a conjunction in which sometimes even in the upper stands details have been distinguished, making part of the fears of this place so affected by rebounds forget.

start the show

Since early afternoon, normality has been the dominant note in the accesses of a public that has also borne witness to the enormous transversality of the Stones: nobody attracts such different segments of the population, especially with regard to age and wallet thickness.

The Vargas Blues Band, with (the very nephew) John Byron Jagger among its ranks, has been the first to open the colossal stage, simple for them if that can be applied to a front of 400 square meters painted in very Spanish colors ( red and yellow) by the artist Mark Norton, the same one who has redesigned the iconic tongue logo.

Around 9 pm it is the turn of the Sidonie trio, another of the “young” bands that show in their forms the influence of the Stones 60 years after their founding. “We are big fans!”, They have proclaimed, although later they have encouraged the congregated with songs like “My name is ABBA”.

“Hello, Madrid!”, Jagger exclaimed after jumping onto the track with his teammates with an unexpected 15-minute delay for the extreme British punctuality. He has been clad in a red jacket and under the chords of “Street Fighting Man”, remembering that there was a time (specifically 1968) in which they claimed the taking of the streets for social activism.

In a repertoire very similar to that of his previous tour in the US, there was little to wait for “Tumbling Dice”, with room this time to also rescue less hackneyed songs such as “Sad Sad Sad” or “Living In a Ghost Town” (from the few recent additions to his heritage) and even some never performed live before, such as “Out of time”, from his album “Aftermath” (1966).

Thanks to “Beast of Burden”, the one chosen by Spanish Internet users, in that first part it was possible to enjoy the beautiful dialogue between the guitars of Richards and Woods, while Jagger walked with a still light and dancing step the meters and meters of stage, waddling as if besides being eternal it was unattainable to the years.

With “Happy” and “Slipping Away”, Richards has claimed more of the leading role by momentarily assuming the vocal section, although in all honesty it was easy to identify by the impetus of the audience when the most anticipated hits were approaching: “Honkey Tonk Women”, “Miss You” or a colossal “Midnight rambler”. “Damn, Madrid, you are the best public!”, an exultant Jagger has proclaimed.

Among the classics there will be those who have missed “Angie” or a “Brown Sugar” (in Spanish, brown sugar) that was removed from their concerts a long time ago to avoid racial misunderstandings, although its authors have defended that it is precisely a complaint of “the horrors of slavery”.

Even without those bullets they are not short of ammunition, as the final half hour from “Start Me Up” to the usual brooch with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” has shown, just after paying tribute to the horrors of war in Ukraine.

In between, the cavalcade of “Paint It Black”, the magma of “Sympathy For The Devil”, the frenzy of “Jumpin Jack Flash” and, of course, “Gimme Shelter” have not been lacking. That said, one more lesson of eternity.