On Monday night (8/5), The Rolling Stones returned to MetLife Stadium for the second NYC-area show of their 2019 "No Filter Tour." It's their first major North American tour in four years, and it comes over half a century since the band first set foot on our shores. The tour was briefly postponed due to Mick Jagger needing medical treatment, but it is very clear that he has recovered. Jagger turned 76 two weeks ago and he still runs around the stage with energy that seems limitless.
The Stones came out swingin' to "Jumpin' Jack Flash," which is a hell of a way to kick off a stadium rock show, and it was clear right off the bat that The Rolling Stones are still a force to be reckoned with. I'm too young to have seen the Stones during their heyday, but I've seen plenty of videos, and Jagger was as animated, athletic, and flamboyant on Monday night as he was decades ago. He practically defined the art of what it means to be a rock frontman, and he remains one of the best there is. Seeing him live in 2019 didn't feel like reveling in nostalgia for rock history; it felt like watching a living legend. He and longtime partner in crime Keith Richards epitomized cool during the British Invasion, and both of them remain intimidatingly cool on stage today. Guitarist Ronnie Wood's been channelling just about the same level of steez right beside them for almost 45 years now, and he's still got it too. (Drummer Charlie Watts remains as charmingly stoic as ever.) The only other act that can really say they've been operating at this level for this long is Paul McCartney, and though McCartney's shows are truly spectacular, they don't rock like the Stones. Mick, Keith & co existed through hard rock, punk, metal, and beyond -- all of which they influenced -- and they still put on one of the loudest, most badass, most hard-hitting rock shows you can see.
Not only does Mick Jagger still have the stage presence that he did half a lifetime ago, Keith Richards' guitar still cuts through the mix like a dagger. There'd be moments when he'd crank the volume for a specific riff or a specific crashing chord, and it would hit you like a rush of blood to the head. (His tone is impeccable too.) The show wasn't only bone-rattling rock and roll though; like any good two-hour-long stadium rock show, it went through different phases and various peaks and valleys. They did an acoustic portion where they played "Let It Bleed" and "Dead Flowers," the latter of which sent the whole crowd into a singalong. They broke out their version of Bob & Earl's "Harlem Shuffle" for the first time since 1990, and they played the winner of this night's online fan request poll, Let It Bleed deep cut "Monkey Man," which was played at two other nights on this tour but otherwise not since 2007. Following band introductions, Keith Richards -- as he's known to do at Stones shows -- took the spotlight and did two of the songs where he sings lead.
"Miss You," the Stones' 1978 foray into disco, was as dancey and shiny as you'd hope, complete with neon light visuals. "Paint It Black" was as psychedelic today as it was in 1966, with trippy black and white visuals to match. "Midnight Rambler" saw the band flexing their jam chops. "Gimme Shelter" saw Mick Jagger pushing his voice to its absolute limit and still sounding fantastic. (Backing vocalist Sasha Allen was a true powerhouse on that song too.) There were too many great moments to name them all individually, too many timeless classics performed nearly flawlessly to count. My personal favorite moment, though, was set-closer "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." No other song in the setlist rocked that hard; Jagger's shouts in the chorus blasted throughout the venue, as the sea of fans put their fists in the air and all shouted right back at him. It felt as cathartic as any harder rock show where this type of crowd behavior is the norm, and it's still a little hard to believe it happened while seeing one of rock's first major bands over 50 years into their career. Fireworks went off when the song ended, and I can't think of a better way the Stones could've ended the show.
If I had to complain about anything, I wish they could've made the show a little longer and fit in more of their many huge hits. I realize two hours is already a long set, and any band would tire of playing the same exact songs all the time, but when you're The Rolling Stones and playing to a stadium of like 80,000 people who paid hundreds of dollars to be there, it feels a little rough to omit "Beast of Burden," "Wild Horses," "Angie," "Get Off My Cloud," "Ruby Tuesday," AND "Let's Spend the Night Together." But as a wise man once said, you can't always get what you want, and the experience of seeing the set they did play is still one I'm already treasuring.
Jumpin' Jack Flash
You Got Me Rocking
You Can't Always Get What You Want
Let It Bleed
Sympathy for the Devil
Honky Tonk Women
You Got the Silver
Before They Make Me Run
Paint It Black
Start Me Up
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction