• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Rolling Stones Setlist and Review for Lincoln Financial Field

You can’t talk about the Rolling Stones without going on about how old they are.

Because of course, they are impossibly old, and have been at it pretty much forever. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are 80. Ronnie Wood is the baby at 77. Thirty years ago, they were so ancient, people started calling them “the Strolling Bones.”

As the astonishingly lithe and limber Jagger pointed out from the stage at Lincoln Financial Field on Tuesday during a fantastically good, nearly two-hour show on the band’s “Hackney Diamonds Tour,” the Stones first played Philadelphia in 1965 when they contentiously shared a bill with Herman’s Hermits at West Philly’s Convention Hall.

That building is long gone. The Stones are still here.

Some members have been lost along the way. Brian Jones died in 1969, so that was Wood — who paints in his spare time, and was introduced by the mischievous Jagger as “the Tintoretto of TaskyKakes” — playing wicked electric sitar on “Paint It, Black.”

The band lost Charlie Watts in 2021, so now the mighty Steve Jordan mans the drum kit, locked in with bassist Daryl Jones in the locomotive rhythm section that powered a deliciously murky “Monkey Man” and inexhaustible “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”

And that’s the thing about the core trio’s geriatric status, cheekily acknowledged by the (no joke) tour sponsorship deal with AARP: You don’t grade the Rolling Stones on a curve.

It’s not: “Yeah, not bad, considering they’re decades past their sell by date.” It’s: “My God, I can’t believe how good they still sound!”

This was the most thrilling Stones show I’ve seen in over 20 years. My last recollection of one this goose-bump-inducing would be the Tower Theatre show in 2002, when the band pulled off the neat trick of a three-show Philly run at Veteran’s Stadium, First Union Center (now the Wells Fargo Center), and the much smaller Upper Darby venue.

What made Tuesday’s show so good? Lots of things. Watts’ clean, precise style and regal mien are surely missed, but Jordan’s muscle gives the band added juice.

Long time vocalist Bernard Fowler is now paired with Chantal Haynes, a veteran gospel singer and actress who starred in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical in London and joined the Stones last year.

Fowler and Haynes boosted “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” which opened with Matt Clifford’s French horn and was aided by a cast of 60,000 or so, encouraged to sing along by Jagger, who asked: “Are you in good voice tonight, Philadelphia?”

Haynes’ got her star turn in an impassioned and deliciously theatrical “Gimme Shelter.”

The tete-a-tete with Jagger might not have matched the original with Merry Clayton — how could it? — but it was full of high drama nonetheless. It was reminiscent of Jagger’s 1985 duets with Turner at Live Aid at JFK Stadium, just across the street from the Linc.

But what really distinguished Tuesday’s show from recent Stones performances is that the band is touring behind an album of new material that they can be justifiably proud. Their 2023 release, Hackney Diamonds, is their first album of original material in 17 years.

Lots of bands tour behind new music that fans tolerate while waiting for the hits. The Stones haven’t bothered with that, instead packing stadiums around the world by giving people what they want, from “Start Me Up,” which kicked Tuesday’s show into gear, to “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” which closed it in style.

But this time, there was the added swagger and self-confidence that comes from knowing you’re not just reliving past glories, but pulling from an arsenal of new songs compelling enough to ward off a massive bathroom break.

Hackney Diamonds, which was recorded with decades-younger producer Andrew Wyatt, is hardly a classic, but it’s much better than anyone could have reasonably expected it to be.

On Tuesday, the Stones did three songs from the album, whose title refers to London slang for shattered shop window glass after a break-in.

“Angry” was crisper and punchier that its recorded version, and “Mess It Up” a respectable addition to the litany of Stones songs in which Jagger is beleaguered by a woman who’s outwitted him: “You took my keys, you nicked my phone / Seduced my landlord, broke in my home.” Woe is Mick, he’s got the blues.

Curiously left off the playlist was “Sweet Sounds of Heaven,” a duet with Lady Gaga, which the band had been performing as part of an encore but first omitted in Atlanta over the weekend.

This third Hackney song was “Tell Me Straight,” a plainspoken Richards showcase that was part of a three-song offstage break for Jagger, in which the guitarist who created some of the most identifiable riffs in history took over on raspy vocals.

The third song in that set came from 1972′s Exile on Main Street. “The band offered me an enormous bribe if I’d do ‘Happy’,” Richards gleefully said. “I’ve decided to take the money.”

Jagger’s Philly-focused stage patter was charming. With a picture of the Phillie Phanatic outside Buckingham Palace on the video screen, he said he felt he was part of an “an exchange program. The Phillies are playing in London and we’re in Philadelphia.”

He then disingenuously suggested that the band would have brought the Phanatic and Gritty up on stage to sing, “but we can’t because they’re in London.”

Not true, and don’t tease us that way!

Other highlights: For the song slot in which requests are granted as a result of a preshow online poll, the winner was “She’s a Rainbow.” It beat out “Rocks Off,” “Faraway Eyes,” and “Live With Me.”

That was a bummer as far as I’m concerned, but Chuck Leavell’s keyboard sounded great on it, as did his piano playing later in the set on “Tumblin’ Dice” and “Honky Tonk Woman.”

The voting interlude gave Jagger the opportunity to dip a toe into politics: “There’s an even more important vote for you to get involved with in November, because it’s the presidential election,” he said. “It could be your last time to vote, who knows?”

Besides the overall gloriously unkempt rock-and-roll vibe — Richards hit a bum note every now and then, and it’s no worries, because it’s not meant to be perfect — the peak of the show came toward the end of “Midnight Rambler.”

The whole song, from 1969′s Let It Bleed, was formidable in its bluesy menace, from Wood’s lead guitar work to Jagger blowing a moaning harmonica, one of his underrated skills.

But the coolest part came when he was out at the edge of the catwalk, extemporizing toward the tail end of the song, probably 30 yards away from the rest of the band.

“Take it down, Steve,” he called out to Jordan. The drummer then settled down the groove so Jagger could do with it what he wished, which was to transform the song into Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “You Gotta Move.”

He pulled the emotional power out of that haunted blues while Richards and Wood kept a close eye, watching to see where their leader was spontaneously taking them. Just a bunch of old guys, still intuitively connected on stage, keeping their music vividly alive after over a half century together.

Here’s the set list for the Rolling Stones at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on June 11, 2024.

  1. “Start Me Up”

  2. “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)”

  3. “Let’s Spend the Night Together”

  4. “Angry”

  5. “She’s a Rainbow”

  6. “Monkey Man”

  7. “Tumbling Dice”

  8. “Mess It Up”

  9. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

  10. “Tell Me Straight”

  11. “Little T&A”

  12. “Happy”

  13. “Sympathy for the Devil”

  14. “Honky Tonk Women”

  15. “Midnight Rambler” w / “You Gotta Move”

  16. “Gimme Shelter”

  17. “Paint It Black”

  18. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”

  19. Encore : “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”

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