Monday, June 1, 2015

The Rolling Stones rock Ohio Stadium

"It's good to be back. Actually, it's just good to be here." — Keith Richards, The Rolling Stones 

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The rumors you've heard are 100-percent accurate; The Rolling Stones bring it in concert.

Meme and photo by CARY ASHBY.
blogger & webmaster
Mick Jagger is 71. But you sure wouldn't know it.

Jagger — who was in great voice Saturday — never stayed in one place; he danced, pranced, did his Jagger-esque moves and even skipped like a man many decades younger throughout the entire 2-hour, 10-minute show at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.

If he wasn't moving, he was encouraging the crowd to clap, using the overhead move that rock fans have seen for decades in concert footage. The only time Jagger was stationary was when he played rhythm guitar for one or two tunes.

And yes, the ladies still scream their heads off for every gyration the Stones' lead singer gave them.

Having been a classic lover for most of my life, I've listened and rocked out to the Stones for a long time. I never thought I'd have the chance to see them in concert — because for one thing, the tickets always have been so darned expensive.

Taking a selfie with my new smartphone
Saturday before the show with my concert-going
buddy, Scott Seitz.
So at $75, Saturday's show was a deal. Even if my buddy Scott Seitz and I were sitting four rows from the top of the massive Ohio Stadium. (The home of the OSU Buckeyes holds 104,944; Seitz estimated there were 60,000 fans there for the concert — by far, the largest outdoor show I've attended.)

The Stones opened up with "Jumpin' Jack Flash," a great show-opener and some fireworks from the stop of the stage. The first few songs included "It's Only Rock-n-Roll (But I Like It)," "Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Tumblin' Dice."

Jagger admittedly said they were going to slow it down with "Wild Horses" — a studio song I'm not all that crazy about, but da Boyz knocked it out of the park. (As they did with the entire set, made up of nothing but hits.)

Online fans had the chance to vote for one of five songs for the Stones to play in Columbus. "Paint It Black" got the top vote; I would have preferred hearing "Heartbreaker" or "Shattered," but I didn't vote -- much less knew anything about it. ...

Jagger chatted up the crowd before playing "Paint It Black" (yet another Stones song that is far superior live and rocks out in concert much more than the studio version).

"Before we do that, we'll do a little bit of this," he said.

And The Rolling Stones cranked out the official Ohio rock song, "Hang On Sloopy" — complete with the entire crowd chanting "O-H-I-O" during the chorus.
The huge screens used by The Rolling Stones had great clarity -- even from four rows
from the very top of Ohio Stadium, better known as "The 'Shoe"!

 That wasn't the only time the Stones played to the home crowd.

"I've been told if I say two letters, I'll get a reaction," Jagger said much later in the show.

Fans erupted, expecting Jagger to start the famous OSU "O-H-I-O" chant one more time.

"M. … I …," he teased, which brought out the boo-birds.

And yup, the Stones' charismatic lead singer then started the "O-H-I-O" chant. Even speaking as a Michigan fan who respects the Buckeyes, there's nothing quite like joining thousands of other fans in such a unifying chant.

Jagger said the Stones have played in Columbus and/or Ohio regularly since 1964. The band last played Ohio Stadium (better known in college football circles as "The 'Shoe") in 1997. Jagger and lead guitarist Keith Richards both told the crowd they were glad to be back many times.

“It’s great to be back in Ohio Stadium; I’ll tell you that -- a stadium of champions,” Jagger said, alluding to the OSU Buckeyes being national champions in football.

Richards couldn't keep a goofy grin off his face, especially after Jagger introduced him. (The lead singer started with the extra musicians — two back-up singers, a keyboardist, a keyboardist/French horn player, a bassist and two saxophonists — before introducing Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood and drummer Charlie Watts. Kudos to the folks at the soundboard, who made sure we clearly heard Richards and Wood's guitarists throughout the night. And even the saxes, especially on "Bitch.")

"It's good to be back. Actually, it's just good to be here," a smiling Richards said with a shrug, referring to his years of substance abuse.

Jagger ditched his royal blue blazer and the matching silk, black dress shirt with matching blue trim after two songs into the concert. He later said he decided to add some "color" to his then all-black outfit by donning a bright red blazer.

"Columbus is the fashion capital of the world," Jagger quipped.
Mick Jagger gestures to the crowd at Ohio Stadium on Saturday.

That wasn't the only time the Stones paid homage to Columbus and OSU.

The infamous Stones logo rocked scarlet and gray plus the OSU block-"O" after the last song.

Very early in the concert, Jagger said the band had the chance to check out the local sites, including some restaurants and "the Zombie Walk." He noted there were some "well-fed zombies" in the parade.

Some questionable fashion choices Jagger made came much later in the show. There was the feather-y, floor-length robe/jacket he wore at the beginning of "Sympathy for the Devil" and a newsboy hat he wore during another tune. (Apparently, the hat makes regular appearances as I overheard a nearby woman say, "I love when he wears that hat.")

The only songs I didn't recognize were "Doom and Gloom" and one of the tunes from the 1972 album EXILE ON MAIN STREET that Richards sang. (The guitarist, who was spot on with the killer licks he's created, also sang "Happy.")

I'm pleased to say The Rolling Stones did rockin' versions of my three favorite tunes, "Start Me Up," "Honky Tonk Woman" (which had the crowd singing with the chorus) and "Brown Sugar." "Wild Horses," "Bitch" and "Brown Sugar" come from the 1971 album STICKY FINGERS, which Jagger said they "recorded 149 years ago."

The Ohio University singers joined the band onstage to sing the choral intro to the first encore, "You Can't Always Get What You Want." The formally attired ensemble stood on opposite sides of the stage and sounded just as good as the original recording. By the middle, "You Can't Always Get …" was bit like organized chaos, but despite that and like sooo many of the songs the Stones played Sunday, it had the crowd singing along.

"Sympathy for the Devil" was the second-to-last song of the regular set. The Stones closed with "Brown Sugar." Their two encores were "You Can't Always Get …" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."

In the end, the Stones live up their well-deserved reputation of being living legends. If you get the chance to see them in concert — and you can afford it, grab that opportunity. Grade: A-

Want different perspectives of this show? Check out this link for a review from THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH with more of the great photos you saw here by staff photographer Kyle Robertson. Also, my buddy Scott Seitz wrote a review for the NORWALK REFLECTOR (the newspaper where we both work) for his column, "Entertainment InSeitz."

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