The Rolling Stones Show Review

Someone else took this picture who had way better seats than me

Venue: Arrowhead Stadium

Location: Kansas City, Kansas

Date: 06/27/15

Inebriation Level: Too Full On Soul Food To Get Drunk

Number one on my list of shows was The Rolling Stones. I mean, we know Keith Richards will somehow live to be 100 with a careful mix of hard drugs and booze, but the rest of the guys are, well, old. I had to catch them while they’re still touring. Maybe I’ll look back at this 10 years from now, when they’re still rocking stadiums, and laugh at the immediacy of having to see them. But this time around, The Stones was a must.

The last time they toured in 2013, they skipped my fair city of Denver, CO for bigger markets. I wrote them an open letter imploring them to come out to the Mile High City, but alas, it was ignored. This time around, they skipped my fair city for smaller markets. So through the plains of Kansas it would be to finally see The Rolling Stones.

Sneaky cornfield Jesus

I grabbed my friend Aaron, usually my go-to guy for dragging to concerts, but this time we had both had made a pact that we would see The Stones no matter where they ended up. We hopped into my Civic after work for a road trip through the not-so-beautiful state of Kansas. Past truck stops, tumble weeds, thunderstorms, and anti-abortion signs we went, until we rolled into the fine metropolis of Kansas City.

As an added bonus, my sister and brother-in-law live out there, so we they wanted to come along to the most epic of all concerts. I even got some time to hang with my little nephew, so maybe that drive wasn’t so bad after all.

Isn't he just the cutest?

Isn’t he just the cutest?

When it came time for the concert, we skipped my usual pre-concert ritual of drinking in the car. Instead we went to a soul food buffet. That’s right, all you can eat fried chicken, mac n’ cheese, collard greens, cornbread, etc. When we arrived at Arrowhead Stadium right after and cracked open the cooler of brews, I felt like s**t. Could barely muster one brew. I mean, nearly ralphing on the walk to our seats. I think I’ll stick with my drinking in the car ritual, much safer (sorta).

The most dangerous pre-concert ritual

Our seats were up at the top level, even though they looked really good on Ticketmaster. I’ve never been to a stadium show, mainly because I wasn’t around in the Arena Rock days of the 70’s, don’t like Country (all they do is sing about cold beer, red solo cups, and living in the country), and all the other great Rock acts haven’t been touring for 53 years. I could see the stage, sorta, but 75% of it was cut off. So I guess you could say our seats weren’t quite worth the hundred bucks we threw down.

We missed the opening act because Ed Sheeran isn’t quite as awesome as a soul food buffet, but by the time The Stones took the stage at about 9:30, the stadium was pretty damn full. They launched into “Start Me Up”, an almost cliche beginning to a Rolling Stones show, but they sure came out blazing, fireworks and all. We could really only see Mick Jagger waltzing out on the t-shaped extension of the stage, and we could sometimes catch Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards when they moseyed out to the front of the stage. Charlie Watts and the rest of the crew were hidden from our view for the whole concert. Damnit!

IMG_2499

Section: Nosebleed Row: 6 Seat: 12

After another straight played “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)” and a few more choice classics, they started to hit their stride. They did a killer throwback of the Blues classic, “Kansas City,” which appealed to all the people in, you know, Kansas City. Then it was onto one of my favorites, “Bitch,” as they made the set list very Sticky Fingers heavy to go along with the new deluxe release. Needless to say, the set list was epic.

It’s hard to explain how much these dudes rock. They’ve been touring for 53 years, are in their 70’s (except Wood), and all should be in bed before 9:30 after a long night of infomercial watching and playing bridge. Yet in all the concerts I’ve been to, I’ve never seen anyone with as much energy and charisma as Mick Jagger. He learned from the greats like Little Richard and James Brown, so in 2015, he’s about as good as you’re gonna get. He would run down one end of the stage, and the crowd would go wild. He’d come over to our side, and then we’d go crazy. He was like those guys at sporting events that have the free t-shirt cannons. Side note: They were selling t-shirts for 45 bucks. Apparently no one has ever seen a $10 Stones shirt in a Target (pronounced targette) before.

Mick Jagger learned how to get the crowd going from this guy

The whole time we were sitting down, but you could feel the energy way up on row nosebleed. I’ve never sat down for a whole concert, but I mean, I’ll take it. I didn’t wanna be that one drunk (on soul food) guy that dances by himself the whole time. Plus, most of the crowd had probably seen The Rolling Stones before, but like in the 80’s. What I’m really saying is the crowd was old and enjoyed a good seat.

After some more classics like “Wild Horses,” “Street Fighting Man,” and “Honky Tonk Women,” they let ol’ Keif sing a couple songs, including the classic “Happy.” The whole time I couldn’t help but wonder how many drugs he had taken in the last 12 hours. But I’ve gotta say, the dude can rock. He’s written some of the most badass riffs in the history of Rock ‘N’ Roll, literally, and at his age, with Ronnie Wood by his side, they were absolutely killing it.

Those three ants are Jagger, Richards, and Woods

Those three ants are Jagger, Richards, and Wood

They closed off the show with a monster of classics. Instead of playing them straight through like at the beginning of the show, they were working the songs. They were feeding off the energy of the crowd, letting the songs take their own shape, and playing some of the tightest most energetic tunes I’ve ever heard live. In short, the dudes were playing like they’ve been doing this for 53 years. They slayed “Midnight Rambler,” did a surprisingly monster rendition of “Miss You,” and then slowly built up to an epic crescendo on “Gimme Shelter.” They ended the show with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Sympathy for the Devil”, and closed it all out with the Sticky Fingers classic “Brown Sugar.” Basically they just reminded everyone that they wrote some of the greatest songs of all time.

They came back for a short encore starting with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” complete with a full choir, and then ended the show with a killer reworking of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” While they were stretching out that song and building it up, I remembered that it’s one of the most influential songs in rock history. No really, it is. Keith wrote that riff back in 1965 and here they were, 50 years later, playing it to a stadium full of fans. It was an epic moment to realize that we were watching arguably the most legendary band touring today make magic on stage, for the thousandth time in half a century.

Dudes ending the show with the most epic of all "Satisfaction" renditions

Dudes ending the show with the most epic of all “Satisfaction” renditions

Overall, yes, I did give the show a 4/5 rating, but come on, you saw how s***ty my $100 seats were. The audio mixing was also poor, but hey, stadiums aren’t designed for acoustics. If I could actually see more than a quarter of the stage and hear a good mix, I’d say it was one of the best concerts ever. Some bands get together to cash in on their glory days and get a fat paycheck. I’m sure The Stones made quite the cash flow on the concert, but they aren’t an old impersonation of their glory days. After 53 years of touring, it’s unbelievable how much energy these guys have. This one tiny show in their long history was played like it was their last. Not bad for a bunch of old dudes.

Was it worth it to drive 1,200 miles through the heartland of America to see The Stones? Absolutely. Would I do it again if I had the chance? No doubt about it. I’ll just try and get better seats and skip the soul food buffet pre-game next time.

4/5: Awesome

4 Records

Set List:

Start Me Up
It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)
Tumbling Dice
Doom and Gloom
Beast of Burden
Kansas City
Bitch
Wild Horses
Street Fighting Man
Honky Tonk Women
Before They Make Me Run
Happy
Midnight Rambler
Miss You
Gimme Shelter
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Sympathy for the Devil
Brown Sugar

Encore:

You Can’t Always Get What You Want
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction 

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