On Tuesday night, thousands of Rolling Stones fans descended on the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia for the first of the band’s two nights here on a tour that has made headlines for its outrageous ticket prices and the resulting lukewarm sales. (Don’t worry, there are still more than a few $597 tickets remaining for Friday night’s performance). Below, my observations from one of those outrageously priced seats and some photos from the show.
The Rolling Stones Are the World’s Greatest Rock ’n’ Roll Band
People like to say that, and it may well be true, based on last night’s performance at Wells Fargo Center. The songs are dirty, uncomplicated, honest, thumping and pure examples of the rock ’n’ roll genre. Mick Jagger is a consummate frontman, a 69-year-old sex symbol who prances around the stage like a man half his age (actually, most men half his age can’t even come close) and whips the crowd into a drunken party frenzy. Here they are from last night doing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” with a choir.
If You Can’t Have Fun at a Rolling Stones Show, There Is Something Very Wrong With You
Still, $597 for good seats — and that’s without service fees, etc. — is just ridiculous. I don’t know how many of those seats the Stones gave away last night (mine was one freebie), but it’s fair to say that they gave away more than a few.
Philadelphia Turned 331 Years Old on Tuesday
At least that’s what Mick Jagger announced during the show. Specifically, he said, “Philadelphia just turned 331 years old today … I read that in the paper.” Anyone have a clue what he is talking about? Should we be celebrating?
It’s Still Cool to Smoke If You’re Keith Richards
When lizard-faced Keith lit up his first (of several) onstage cigarettes, a roar of cheers ripped through the crowd, probably a mixture of proud, defiant current smokers and nostalgic ex-puffers. “That’s what’s keeping him alive,” said one woman seated near me. “If he stops smoking, he’ll probably die.” She may be right.
Rolling Stones Fans Are Not Brad Paisley Fans
During the first half of the show, Mick Jagger announced that he had a special guest coming out to perform “Dead Flowers” with him. The special guest was country star Brad Paisley (wearing a Stones shirt and sporting a paisley guitar), who could barely get a clap out of the crowd when Jagger announced his name. I half expected Jagger to pause and say, “Philadelphia, I said make some noise for Brad Paisley.” But he didn’t. This show doesn’t pause.
It’s Devil Horns, Not Sign Language for “I Love You”
This one has been bothering me for a while. More and more, I see younger fans at older rock shows flashing the American Sign Language sign for “I Love You” when they mean to be flashing the devil horns, aka the sign of the horns, which looks just like “I Love You” except the thumb is not extended and which has a totally different meaning. Note the technique displayed properly by the late Ronnie James Dio, below. You still have time to practice for the Black Sabbath performance at Wells Fargo Center on August 10th.
You’re Not the Only One Who Doesn’t Know the New Songs
Nine songs into the set, Jagger said, “Philadelphia, this is a little song we do called ‘One More Shot.’” I’m pretty sure that there were more people who understood the “Philadelphia just turned 331 years old today” reference than who knew this song based on the lack of crowd enthusiasm for it. Turns out it was the last song on disc two of the Stones’ 2012 greatest hits collection, GRRR!. Why bother?
Does Mick Stuff His Pants?
It sure looks like the virile senior citizen is wearing a codpiece, but it’s more likely that he’s just so damn thin that his junk looks particularly large in his impossibly skinny skinny jeans. Just another benefit of weight loss, guys.
If You Don’t Sing Along to “Wild Horses,” You Are Way Uptight
But if you don’t sing along to “Honkey Tonk Women,” you may very well be dead inside.
Photos of the Rolling Stones at Wells Fargo Center, 6/18/2013: