For its thirty-fifth concert in Paris, the sexagenarian group, which now consists of three septuagenarians, set fire to the Longchamp racecourse. We were there.
Longchamp Stones are a must have. In 1995, the group gave an anthology concert at the hippodrome facing a strong storm and heavy rain. Last night, 55,000 people made their Stations of the Cross to reach the site, enjoying a mild atmosphere. The merchandising and food stalls were taken by storm (Tshirts for 40 euros / beer for 8.50 euros) when Ayron Jones attacked his first part set – reminiscent of the best times of Lenny Kravitz. While nobody could move in the pit – the concert was really full – three black vans drove slowly towards the stage.
At 9:30 pm and 15 minutes late, the Charlie Watts tribute film kicked off the festivities. Three minutes later, here comes the long-awaited announcement “Ladies and gentlemen, The Rolling Stones”. And here’s Keith Richards tumbling for the first time slamming the chords of “Street Fighting Man”. Then running from the back of the stage, Mick Jagger came to jump in a huge advance that divided the crowd immediately people forgot his 78 years (79 in two days). Concentrated, Ron Wood took the first solo of the night while Darryl Jones shook the foundation with his bass. Behind the barrels, Steve Jordan – Charlies Watts’ chosen replacement – clearly has his own game, more rock than Watts, bringing another dynamic to the group. And from the beginning, we can appreciate the sound quality. The two guitars are very harmonious, Jagger is at the top vocally from the first note – we are clearly a level above the sonic mush of the 2017 concerts in the U arena. “Good night Paris, what’s up?” asked a smiling Jagger before moving on to the terrifying “19th nervous breakdown” that hasn’t been played in Paris since 1967!
Because yes the Stones have a sixty career as of July 12 and this tour intends to celebrate this anniversary. “And of course we dedicate this concert to Charlie who we miss so much” added Mick before “Tumbling Dice”. Despite his tired air, Ron Wood is clearly used to revving the machine, ensuring accurate and clear solos, while Keith Richards balances out the riffs. With their faces of old pirates, one might think that they are disappointed, just come to take the sorrel and give the minimum union. But no, the guitarists ensured the coolness associated with their old age, the apparent absence of pressure and the desire to fight. Except for “Like a Rolling Stone” the following.
And one wonders why the Stones continue to play Bob Dylan’s song. Obviously we prefer something old to this uninteresting cover that lets Mick play harmonica. Fortunately, here’s “Out of time” “a title we haven’t interpreted since its release in 1966” announced Jagger. The ballad does the job very well, leaving a wonderful air of nostalgia over the racecourse. For the chorus Jagger allowed two singers to join him – it sounded like Leonard Cohen’s version. And Paris to keep the melody at the top of their voices to the joy of the boss. “I like it when you sing well in Paris”. As night falls, Keith takes the opportunity to remove his dark glasses and begin “Wild Horses”. The ballad of “Sticky Fingers” gave Jagger a little break. The epic “You don’t always get what you want” and the latest “Living a ghost town” (the only song of the night after 1981) plunged Paris into a strange lethargy.
Fortunately at 10:23pm when Keith started “Honky Tonk Women” the concert got right back on track. Although he took the opportunity to deflect, Richards saw the crowd roar and Mick stormed further. “Do you know how I got here?” the singer asked at the end. “I came cycling with Anne Hidalgo,” he said, adding “it’s a joke” as the mayor of Paris whistled profusely. When introducing the musicians, Jagger forgot about Chuck Levell and passed the microphone to “my perfect Keith”, receiving a standing ovation as always. “Paris, Paris, I didn’t think I’d see you again,” said Richards, who was touched. Before indulging in a beautiful version of “You got the silver”. We can’t be too enthusiastic about “Happy” which is poorly sung by Richards, saved only by Ron Wood put on pedal steel (some think it’s a walker…).
If “Miss you” allows Paris to sing, it’s mostly a chance for Darryl Jones to do his number. Hiding for 27 years at the right of the stage, Bill Wyman’s replacement became the metronome of a formation that was not always fair and not always good. Fortunately, this will not happen in what follows. Because in “Midnight Rambler” the Stones are going to give us a slap. Powerful, stretched as it should be, the track is sublimated by the duo Richards / Wood. You don’t have to like the guitar to appreciate the group’s unity at this precise moment. Between rock and blues, the Stones could not finish the choice and there, they will take the hippodrome with all their knowledge and their experience. Jagger slips, cat, in the interstices left by his friends, dances on the proscenium, harangues the crowd. In ten minutes, the Stones folded the case – proving that they can still do this kind of magical flight.
When Longchamp breathes, here comes “Paint it black”. And if “Start Me Up” that follows suffers from overplaying, it allows Keith to play the intro with a fun and communicative joy. Soon two hours of performance and no drop in speed in sight. So here’s “Gimme Shelter” – Tuesday night it was on the concert program in Lyon, but Jagger was afraid of the extinction of the sound and zapped it for the last time. And we can easily understand why. Because if “Midnight Rambler” is the pinnacle of the guitar duo, “Gimme Shelter” is a good Jaggerian moment. Rumor has it that Lady Gaga is a guest, it’s finally the chorister Sasha Allen who duets with the boss. Six intense, sexy and sensual minutes – where Jagger sings with his eyes closed. It’s time for a change of guitars, and here’s Keith attacking a Dantesque “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”.
As a reminder, “Devil’s Sympathy” allows the public to talk again. Before the long mass ends with a “Satisfaction” of rigor. Review of the night? When the expensive prices were forgotten, the site was not suitable for this kind of rock event, the Rolling Stones did not sit on their victories. The energy and presence of Mick Jagger, the combined talents of Keith Richards and Ron Wood made for a show of strength that was never expected. What will they do next time? Here lies all their mysteries…
Setlist for July 23 Paris, Hippodrome de Longchamp
1/ Street Fighting Man
2/19th Nervous Breakdown
3/ Tumbling Dice
4/ Like Rolling Stone
5/ Out of season
6/ Wild Horse
7/ You don’t always get what you want
8/ Lives in a ghost town
9/ Honky tonk Girl
10/ You got the silver
12/I miss you
13/ Midnight Rambler
14/ Paint it black
15/ Let me start
16/ Give me Shelter
17/ Jumpin’ Jack Flash
18/ Sympathy for the Devil 19/ Complacency