The Rolling Stones: Old Trafford, Manchester

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Rolling Stones in Manchester

Rolling Stones in Manchester – Painting it Black

Rolling Stones brought their No Filter tour to the UK and even extortionate ticket prices couldn’t keep fans away, Getintothis’ Neal McGrath hits Old Trafford to find out if they can still paint it black.

When news of The Rolling Stones UK tour was announced all the talk was of the mind-mindbogglingly steep ticket prices.

And at £441 (including booking fee) to stand at the front, you could see why.

Gone are the days when a prized spot on the front rail just meant getting up early and a bladder the size of a football.

The credulity of the British concert goer was called into question – cue the usual plethora of hipster dolts prising themselves away from whatever music they’re pretending to enjoy that particular day, to sternly lecture a fan base that couldn’t possibly be going to enjoy the actual music and were just turning up to tick a famous band (way past it’s prime) off their fantasy list.

Indeed down the years The Stones have often swayed into a pastiche of themselves; Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood in particular have turned in some dubious, possibly chemically-induced poor performances throughout the decades.

Having said that though (and to highlight the ignorance of their oafish detractors), since the millennium the band has often been capable of stunning live shows as shown on many of the recent concert films like the one filmed in Cuba, Havana Moon.

It’s easy to forget what a wonderful band they are when they hit form; their set lists constantly change and no song is ever played the same way twice, giving each concert a sense of uniqueness.

Rolling Stones in Manchester

Rolling Stones in Manchester

Back in Manchester, the band wisely kick off with Jumpin’ Jack Flash, eschewing Sympathy For The Devil as a set opener which had been used on early dates on the tour. It’s riff really is a thing of rock ‘n’ roll perfection and it allows the band to warm right into their set.

It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It) has the crowd singing along, Tumbling Dice and Shattered sound tight and focused while Let’s Spend The Night Together rocks the rafters and their cover of Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone is simply awesome.

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All their characters really shine through. Mick Jagger is charismatic but daft all the same yet carries the band consistently with his sheer energy, will and relentless stamina, Keith is simply the cartoon maverick but also away with the fairies like a knackered Grandfather, Ronnie is wild and appears to still be having the time of his life while Charlie is just ‘there’ being cool and understated.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want is marked by some fantastic guitar playing from Ronnie Wood, Paint It Black is as dark and foreboding as it ever was and Honky Tonk Woman is played louche and sexy.

There are the occasional missteps: Sympathy For The Devil is loose and meandering, Ronnie and Keith seem to be playing against each other and it threatens to fall apart while the latter’s solo is stunted and amateurish.

Nevertheless a ferocious Midnight Rambler shows exactly what an on form Keith and Ronnie can do with their guitar weaving while a stunning hat-trick of Start Me Up, Brown Sugar and Gimme Shelter will not soon be forgotten.

Rolling Stones in Manchester

Rolling Stones in Manchester – fireworks and more

They close the show with a belting Satisfaction; a song that can go either way live but here the crowd roar it back to the band as the Charlie Watts thuds out that marshall beat.

Let the naysayers stay at home and count their money – it’s only rock ‘n’ roll but we fucking loved it.

Pictures by Getintothis’ Peter Guy

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