The Rolling Stones have still got what it takes to please a crowd despite the band being composed of geriatric members with an average of 69. With Mick Jagger and his boys all being eligible for an Old Age Pensioner, aka OAP, bus pass (which means senior citizen on the other side of the pond) it’s pretty impressive that the guys could still strut their stuff without the aid of walkers. Jagger himself will be 70 next month. Their presence at the famous Glastonbury Festival was history being made.
The band lived up to all the hype about them being one of the greatest rock’n’roll bands in the world when they rocked more than 100,000 revelers this Saturday during their first performance at Glastonbury, the world’s most famous music festival.
The OAP’s kept the action moving as they performed their usual brand of rock and roll for a whole two hours in a set that started with Jumping’ Jack Flash and finished with fireworks exploding off of the stage during their iconic song Satisfaction.
The crowd were as loud as the “boys” while they cheered and sang along with the band that celebrated 50 years in the music business last year. The “Stones” rocked through a playlist of old favourites and new hits while the security guards attempted to block entry to the already overcrowded field.
Mick started by saying, “It’s great to be here doing this festival. After all these years they have finally gotten around to asking us.”
Glastonbury, which began as a hippie retreat in 1970, has turned into a tradition and an event that’s become well known for the royalty of rock and roll playing there. Music icons like Beyonce, U2, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie headlining the lesser known talent who play the festival. For years, The Rolling Stones were curiously absent from the headliners.
Festival founder Michael Eavis, who holds the festival on his 900 acre farm in southwest England, was clearly excited to have finally persuaded the band to play at the three-day event that drew over 150,000 music fans by Saturday. After the Stones finished making history on the stage at the Glastonbury Festival, Eaves told the BBC that it was the best festival ever.
Despite the fact that the band were all old enough to be the parents or grandparents of most of the festival’s audience, the crowd got carried away and cheered while Honky Tonk Woman was played and then sang along with Miss You.
After five songs into their two hour set, Mick Jagger introduced a new number called Glastonbury Girl, a song that he said he wrote for a girl he’d met at the festival on Friday night when he joined the audience to watch the Arctic Monkeys.
The Rolling Stones have always put on a spectacular show, while they played Sympathy for the Devil, a metallic phoenix rose from the top of the stage with flapping wings and flashing eyes while surrounded by shooting flames.
Mick Jagger was in constant motion and he shouted, “I want to thank you for coming to our shows for 50 years,” and introduced his band mates, drummer Charlie Watts and guitarists Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards.
“If this is the first time you have ever seen the band, do come again,” joked Jagger.
The singer had said earlier in the day said he would keep performing as long as his fans wanted him.
The average age of Glastonbury festival-goers has risen, rather surprisingly, to 36 as time has gone by, but the younger fans were just as bowled over by the “ancient” rockers as the older fans. With more than a few albums and hundreds of singles in to their credit over that last 50 years, it’s easy to understand how all ages could enjoy their music.
The events manager from Plymouth was surprised. The 27 year-old Mark Smalley said, “I thought it was epic. I thought they smashed it. I expected a dropped note here, a cracked voice there.”
Everyone who attended the festival was privileged to one of the highlights of the 43 years that Glastonbury has been going.
The lineup this year included not only The Rolling Stones, but Billy Bragg, Elvis Costello, psychedelic rockers Primal Scream and Laura Mvula as well as smaller acts on the 58 stages staggered across the sprawling 900 acre site.
British folk rockers Mumford & Sons will close the 2013 festival on Sunday night. There will be many fans of The Rolling Stones who will be upset that they didn’t get to see Mick Jagger and the gang make Glastonbury history on Saturday but those who did get to see them experienced a brilliant performance.
By Michael Smith