Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Rolling Stones; older than I am, yet still rockin’ away after all these years

Perhaps this is a tacky joke, but I have to wonder what the fine print says for anybody buying tickets to the Rolling Stones’ upcoming U.S. tour – the one that has them traveling the country come spring and summer, with a Soldier Field stop on June 21.
In fact, Chicago will actually be the final stop on the tour – which creates the potential of a band operating on pure adrenaline. They’re going to have to be outright exhausted by that point in time.

CONSIDERING THAT THE key members of the band that has operated for more than a half-century are aged – rock stars Mick Jagger and Keith Richards both are now 75 years old.

Yet carrying on as though they think they’re still in their early 20s, playing music for the masses and carrying on the image of the late, great bluesman Muddy Waters – whose hit song “Rolling Stone” gave the band their very name.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that at age 53, I’m not capable of the kind of stamina one would need to do such a tour. It kind of astounds me that Richards, of all people, would be capable.

But then again, if someone were willing to pay me the kind of money the Rolling Stones will be getting for these shows, I’d figure a way to get myself up and running so as to do it.
A favorite, particularly the cover

BUT THEN AGAIN, the Rolling Stones seem to be a unique institution, performing those concerts that still draw the kinds of crowds to pack stadiums such as Soldier Field.

Whereas most other rock ‘n’ roll bands of the 1960s who still insist on performing live are reduced to events such as the Ribfest held every summer in suburban Naperville.

Or, like the Buckinghams – the one-time Chicago native band named for the fountain – playing venues such as the Paramount Theater of Asbury Park, N.J. (they really played there back on June 21 of this year).

Although the same purpose was served – allowing aging fans to be able to close their eyes and pretend they’re still youthful. And that with the opening guitar riff of “I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction),” they can pretend it’s still 1964 and that by listening to “the Stones,” they’re making a statement about how much “the Beatles suck!”
TO BE HONEST, though, watching those old video snippets of when the Beatles came to White Sox Park for a pair of concerts back in August of 1965 (just a few days before I was born) makes me think that event was far more significant than any of the Stones’ concerts – since my own quickie research finds they have played here so many times throughout the decades.

The only way the 2019 concert becomes memorable is if, by chance, there is a fatality in the band and the event becomes an informal memorial tribute. A morbid thought that I'm sure no one is rooting for.

But I’m sure the kind of people paying hundreds of dollars to sit in the outer reaches of the Soldier Field seating bowl aren’t going to let anyone deprive them of a musical experience.

And they’re not about to let some snot-nosed 19-year-old punk make rude comments about the Rolling Stones being a batch of geezers. They’re going to enjoy their money.

NOT THAT I have any intention of showing up – mostly because I think it’s impossible to truly capture the essence of what made the Rolling Stones so incredibly unique in musical annals. Time passes us all by, and what we have left are lasting memories.
So that may be the real essence – listening to those Rolling Stones records I have amongst my collection (yes, I did buy the “Blue & Lonesome” compact disc of a couple of years ago). My memories get triggered every time I play a record or disc.

And as far as I’m concerned, I have a personal favorite recording – although not one that would come to many fans’ minds. It’s “2120 S. Michigan Ave.,” the instrumental number on one of their first records meant to be a tribute to the old Chess Records label (which was located at that address).
Which is meant to remind us of the great blues music that once came from that address. Now if Muddy Waters, or any of the great old bluesmen, were to be capable of giving us a concert, THAT might be the concert event worthy of much of the hype the Rolling Stones will try to arouse in coming months.


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