For many years people have speculated whether or not whatever current tour the Stones were on would be their last. After all, the megawatt energy that Mick Jagger expends on the stage couldn't be sustainable into his =gasp= sixties just as Keith Richards' fried liver couldn't hold out much longer either.
Well guess what? Mick is an athlete whose energy and physical abilities belie his age and Keith, as Bonnie Raitt stated in her opening act, is a force of nature. Older Stones fans can complain all they want about how the band has lost their edge and are now a parody of the once mighty and ground breaking band they were but all you have to do is see a show like this one at the MGM Grand to come up with a response to the complaints; something along the lines of SHUT THE #$*!^! UP!
The bottom line is that these guys still ROCK. Yeah you heard me. THEY ROCK! Mick Jagger is the consummate rock entertainer, dashing and skipping around the stage seemingly looking right at you and insisting on your participation. The ragged rhythms of Keith and Ronnie Wood were tighter than they've been at other stops along this long tour and Charlie Watts of course remains rock steady all night long. Even Keith's solo spotlight held something different for a change and kept more people in their seats (instead of the traditional bathroom/concession stand dash). Accompanied by Ron Wood playing acoustic slide guitar, Keith sang "you Got The Silver" guitarless for the first time in memory then followed it up with a rocking performance of "Connection."
The highlight of the show was an outstanding version of "Midnight Rambler." Mick milked this stage staple for all that it was worth, stretching it out further and further while the band telepathically responded, whipping the crowd into a frenzy.
Record Boy likes the music of many new young bands but really had to think over this question: where are the new Mick Jagger and Keith Richards? The answer for now is that the old ones will do just fine!
The Last time Record Boy saw the remnants of The Who was days after John Entwistle died and it was understandably one of the weaker Who shows ever. Four years later the circumstances surrounding this tour obviously are different and Pete and Roger have responded accordingly.
Honoring their fans capacity to handle something different, the lads peppered this show with some less traveled material (i.e. "The Seeker") as well as a handful of new tracks from their recently released "Endless Wire" album, some performed with only Pete on acoustic guitar and Daltrey singing. This was not strictly a greatest hits show and by that fact seemed to bring a renewed energy to the band. Roger's voice has mellowed a bit, but is strong as ever (yeah, he can still do the "Won't Get Fooled Again" scream)! Townshend attacked his guitar with the most windmills he's done in 20 years. Pino Palladino held down the bottom ala Entwistle allowing Zak Starkey to take off in his best imitation of the ever kinetic Keith Moon. Yeah, it was a Who concert all right.
The fans at the Bowl were made up of young and old (a few people there could claim that they've seen the Who in the early '60s And IN their early 60s!) While the fact that the guys didn't play anything off of "Quadrophenia" didn't escape me, it didn't really make a difference. It was enough to see some renewed commitment to the music and the vitality that surged through the two principles. It's heartening to see that Pete and Roger have opted to keep ridin' their rock horse instead of their rocking chairs.
It was quite a spectacle at the Hollywood Bowl as you could well imagine. This is one of the reasons that makes it difficult for Record Boy to go to concerts. The fuss people make over a super hero in their midst is incredible!
Oh yeah, the show was quite a spectacle too. Pink Floyd from the very beginning was always about a visual experience that accompanied and complimented the music. Roger made great use of the HD screen behind the band with different visuals happening for every song. Of course there were also fireworks, a flying pig and a giant prism for the Dark Side Of The Moon segment of the show.
In the first half of the show, Waters played a good chunk of Pink Floyd's greatest hits (saving "The Wall" excerpts for the encore), backed ably by a 9 piece band. For the second half of the show, which was a faithful recreation of the "dark Side" album, Waters and his band were joined by his Floyd mate Nick Mason on drums.
Guitarist Dave Kilminster was spot on as David Gilmour's replacement, hitting all the right notes with his solos and his vocals throughout the evening. Back up singer Carol Kenyon took center stage during "The Great Gig In The Sky" and sent shivers down the crowd's spine with her vocalizing.
Waters made great use of the Bowl's (relatively) new sound system, sending special effects to the back of the Bowl to create the occasional surround sound experience. The audience was made up of people from Generations X, Y, Z, Double AA and of course boomers too.
Roger Waters by most accounts isn't the easiest guy to like and he isn't an aging former sex symbol either. But people weren't enthralled at the concert by how he looks or what kind of guy he is. They were captivated hearing this timeless music played by a guy that had an extraordinary role in creating it.
If the crowd wanted a great guy and a sex symbol, well, they had Record Boy!