The Rolling Stones Invade Philly (“We’ve Been Playing Here For 50 Fucking Years”)
I have always wanted to see The Rolling Stones, the seminal 60’s Rock Band, the original “Bad Boys”. They have been playing for over 50 years and I still love many of their songs. The Stones are a staple in the Classic Rock catalogue. They may be only second to The Beatles but that’s another story altogether. I remember first listening to The Stones songs in my seminal youth. As a teenager, I seemed to desire the revelations of the 1960s and the “Hippie” culture. The Rolling Stones have stayed with me and have become part of my life’s soundtrack. So when I had the opportunity to see them in Philadelphia with one of my closest friends, I had to make the trek up north.
The lot scene in Philly for The Rolling Stones was insane. It may have been crazier than any Phish or Dead lot I have been to. Every car in each lot I walked through would play the local radio station, which was playing Stones songs for 24 hours. I have honestly never seen so many people singing songs in unison. The average age of concertgoers was about 50 but the energy of their fans is undeniable. The 200$ ticket price was a big fucking deterrent and I was hoping to have better seats; climbing into the nose bleeds of the stadium, even I had a little vertigo. On the stage were giant megalithic screens that the band would be projected on. They seemed like a prop from the wizard of oz or even like the monolith in 2001 (A space odyssey).
The Stones would roll through their classic songs and when I say classics, I mean CLASSIC like “Paint It Black.” I was impressed with the band and their exuberant amount of energy. Mick can still command the stage, dancing like no one has ever danced before and never will. I can’t say his dancing is good but is certainly original and entertaining. It’s strange to see people my grandparent’s age getting down like that. Keif looks like some half-ogre, half-pirate but his guitar tone cuts through everything. Charlie Watts looks rough in the back but still keeps a solid rhythm. Ronnie Wood is probably the best thing that ever happened to The Stones and you can tell he still invigorate the band especially Keif. It was great to see the one and only, Karl Denson onstage with these legends, cementing himself as a true legend himself. While this band doesn’t necessarily “Jam” they do Rock the fuck out and have inspired every single band today.
I can honestly say that this show was well worth the money but I don’t know if I’d ever do it again. I’m not sure there ever will be another chance for me to see this group. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see one of the greatest acts and all of Rock music. I have a new respect for these musicians that constantly tour around the world. The Rolling Stones can travel in complete comfort but at 70 some years old, it still must be extremely difficult. I hope that if you have the money and the opportunity to see the Rolling Stones that you take the leap and forget about the ticket price. Money comes and goes but this musical experience will last a lifetime.
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Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.